When I researched restaurants for this trip, recommendations for The Modern at the MOMA popped up over and over again. After viewing the lunch menu, I decided that I couldn't swing the fine dining room - but the Bar Room definitely seemed doable. The menu is still fine dining, but the prices are a little more moderate - in the high teens and twenties, where The Modern's prices are twenties to forties. On Monday, when the festivities of the Gourmet Institute were over, I met fellow bloggers Lisa of Homesick Texan, Deb of Smitten Kitchen, and Amy of Cooking With Amy there for lunch with Ian Knauer - a Food Editor at Gourmet who I've become friendly with since last year's event.
We started with a couple of items to share, the Modern Liverwurst with pickled vegetables, and the Alsatian Tart Flambee - essentially a flatbread pizza. The liverwurst was very mild, and the Alsatian pizza was crisp and rich. We then moved on to two dishes per person - a starter and a main course. The scallops for me, salads for Deb and Ian, a housemade sausage for Amy, and a veal terrine for Lisa. These were good - but the real showstopper was the duck confit.
It was the best I've ever had - perfectly crisp and rich, in a wonderful sauce dotted with passionfruit seeds. The potatoes were a "hash" of perfect cubes fried in duck fat with onions and shishito peppers, with a bundle of arugula to balance the richness. Three of us at the table had this dish, Deb had a mushroom soup, and Ian ordered the paprika laced foie gras torchon, which was rich and delicious.
For dessert we shared an order of beignets, which worked perfectly because there were five of them and five of us, and they were rather large. The little ramekins held maple ice cream, caramel sauce and a mango compote with vanilla. They were all good, but the maple ice cream was amazingly creamy with a flavor like complex caramel - not as overly sweet as some maple confections I've tried.
The Modern has an exterior entrance so you can dine without going to the museum. Inside the museum is another option, the Cafe 2, which serves Italian style cafe food. I didn't get a chance to eat there, but it's very artful and interesting looking, and the food is a bit higher level than your ordinary museum cafe. I posted a couple of photos over here.
The MOMA was fabulous as well, of course - I especially enjoyed the Kirchner exhibit "Kirchner and the Berlin Street." Did you know you can view these exhibits online? It's not the same as seeing it in person, but it's still pretty cool. You can check it out here.
The Modern Bar Room
at the MOMA
9 W. 53rd Street
New York, New York
reservations on Open Table.