The Bar Room at The Modern
9 W 53rd St
(between Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
For you philistines out there, that would be the restaurant at the MOMA. I imagined all these artsy people dining there, discussing the latest David Zwirner gallery exhibit and Rembrandt’s recent appearance on Google for his birthday.
But… no. It was all businessmen gathered for a tasteful evening at the museum restaurant.
LAW and I came after work one day to celebrate a little occasion. Once I sat down I realized this isn’t the type of restaurant I would normally love to celebrate in. The tables are a little bit too large so that you are distanced from your dining partner – clearly not for a romantic or even cheery meal but more for a business lunch. Everyone spoke in contained voices and there was no laughter. Zero.
Nonetheless, I had a pretty good meal and was in good celebratory spirits anyway with the LAW. We started with the Tarte Flambee alsatian thin crust tart with Hen Of The Woods Mushrooms, Chive, And Comté Cheese Gratiné ($18).
The crust was super thin, and slightly crispy at the bottom. Mushrooms needed a little more shroom flavor (I would add truffle oil) but otherwise tasted very nice. Pleasant. Cheese was salty and was balanced by mushrooms. Chives added a nice kick. Nothing spectacular but served its purpose.
We shared the Alsatian Buckwheat Spaetzle ($25) with yellowfin tuna paillard crudo, roasted foie gras, pine nuts, and black pepper gastrique. Tuna? Foie gras? Pine nuts? Truly a winning combo. You can’t go wrong. The cold tuna slices were thin and melt in your mouth. Foie gras was warm and almost a little crisp on the outside, deliciously creamy on the inside. Pine nuts added nice flavor. Buckwheat Spaetzle was a disappointment. The graininess of the buckwheat kind of irked my palate of the soft tuna and creamy foie gras. It was swimming in a balsamic-y sauce that made it a little soggy mid-meal. Such a shame.
We also shared the Maine Lobster Gnocchi with wild mushrooms and broccoli rabe ($29). I was super surprised with the quality of the doughy gnocchi. For $29 gnocchi, I expect a plate of light, springy pillows of potato. I got rubbery, soggy, and doughy nuggets instead. You could have told me I was tricked into eating play-dough and I would’ve said, “That makes so much sense!!” But no, don’t think I was tricked into eating play-dough. At least the lobster was good. Fresh, sweet Maine lobster paired with slightly bitter broccoli rabe. Good stuff.
For dessert, we shared the Beignets with with maple ice cream, caramel, and mango marmalade. Beignets were carnival-worthy (I just came back from the Leonia State Fair where I saw freak shows and ate fried oreos, I would know): piping hot, airy, and doughy at the same time. I loved the sides it came with. The mango marmalade was very tart, which went really well with the caramel and maple ice cream.
In conclusion, the place is fine. It’s good. I would be happy if invited here on a business meal, ’cause it’s sure better than many of the other snooty restaurants that cater to business meals.