Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Summer Restaurant Week

The Bar Room at The Modern
9 W. 53rd St (Midtown)

Arctic Char Tartare with Basil and Trout Caviar

Tomato and Almond Gazpacho w/ Mediterranean Rouget

Roasted Garlic Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms, Sage, Crispy Sweetbreads

Beer-braised Pork Belly with Sauerkraut and Ginger Jus

Chocolate Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream

Cherry Claufuti with Pistachio Ice Cream

Alexis: First let me preface by saying that Restaurant Week, though great in idea, is rarely ever great in excecution. The menus don't usually showcase the best of what the restaurant has to offer and the quality of the food often suffers because of the quantities required to satisfy each diner's appetite.

That said, I had heard really good things about the Modern and the Bar Room, both from foodie friends of mine and from a chef friend who staged there who said that the kitchen puts out good food. Period.

We arrived and were seated in the lounge - we ordered drinks, which did not appear until after we were served our first course and even then they had to be hunted down.

I started with the Arctic Char Tartare, which aside from being a dumb tongue twister, was actually pretty good. Topped with trout roe and drizzled with basil oil, it was a fresh start. I was looking forward to my main course, which was roasted garlic gnocchi with wild mushrooms and fried sweetbreads. This arrived on a small plate and the sweetbreads looked tired and overdone. Which they were - too much batter and the deep fryer (I'm assuming) dried the little pieces out and instead of the creaminess I was expecting, I was disappointed with a chunk of fried crust. The rest of the dish was decent, however. I would have not ordered pasta as a main dish normally but the promise of sweetbreads was too much to resist. I wish I had ordered the swordfish instead. Dessert was a chocolate tart with vanila ice cream - simple enough and hard to mess up. Also decent.

Would I return? Possibly. But it seemed like a lot of hype for mediocre service (the busboys were the only ones on point) and inconsistent food. But it was Restaurant Week so I might let that slide.

Alex: So I guess you can say this was my first "fine dining" experience. Don't take any of this the wrong way, but I just don't get it. I definitely enjoyed the experience and the atmosphere was nice, but even at resturaunt week prices the food was way over priced and not all that. This may be due to what Alexis has already mentioned, and I will give it the benifit of the doubt, but damn! It pains me to spend that much money on such small portions becuase it looks pretty.

Anyway, on to the food... the Gezpacho was interesting. There was a piece of bread floating in the middle with a sliver of some sort of sour Fish on it. Both were decent, but the bread got really soggy really quick. I don't think cold soup is my thing, it was kind of like baby food, but I didn't mind the Fish. Next up was the Pork Belly on Sauerkraut. Ahh.. this one reminded me of home, only the portion was 5 times smaller and 5 times more expensive. Other than that I could have sworn I was in Germany. The Pork was a little too fatty for my liking, but had a really tasty crust on it. For dessert I had the Cherry joint.. meh, nothing special. I did however find my new favorite beer from a few miles south of good 'ol Cooperstown, New York... Ommegang's Rare Vos! I guess if I was a baller I wouldn't mind dropping crazy loot on a fancy meal and then hitting up White Castle on the way home.


lazysundae said...

disclaimer: i warned son that pork belly is fatty. that's where bacon come from son!!

and expensive food - well let's chalk that up to location and the hope that we're getting good quality (fresh!) food.

lesson learned - no more fine dining!

foo man dru said...

this is a trap, I'm not getting in between you two (AYO) on this.