The Modern

By grace.g.yang · August 3, 2010
Under: American,Desserts,Dinner,Michelin 2010 Guide,Midtown West,My Life,Prix-fixe

For our birthday, Laura treated me and David to the tasting menu at The Modern. She decided to take us to The Modern because she knew it was on my list of Michelin restaurants and wanted to help me cross one off the list. What an amazing friend, right? We went around the middle of June (the first time the three of us were all free) and did the chef’s tasting as well as the early summer tasting.

The service was a little slow; we were seated right away, but it took another twenty minutes to actually wave down a waiter to take our order. Also, the server didn’t really talk to us about the menus -there were three tasting menus and you could also order a la carte – it seemed like the server just wanted us to tell him our order and leave right away. After we gave the server our order, someone brought some amuse bouche for us to try:


The truffle popcorn was a little stale because I think it had been sitting around for a while, but the biscuits were very crunchy and our favorite was the red pepper on the spoon; Laura was very surprised when she bit into the red pepper ball because it popped in her mouth and the red pepper juice squirted onto the table. It had a very clean and smooth consistency and was really fun to eat (kind of similar to Alinea’s black truffle explosion).

David and I both ordered the traditional chef’s tasting menu and our first course was Foie Gras Terrine Flavored with Juniper-Marinated Raisins, Pistachio Joconde:


And Laura’s first course from the early summer tasting menu was the Alaskan King Crab Salad “Cannelloni” with Sustainable Osetra Caviar:


The first couple of pictures are all a little dimly lit because I was playing around with my camera settings and cameras (I brought two) and didn’t want to take too many pictures because I didn’t want the food to get cold. The foie gras was very delicious and came with a side of brioche that was a little on the greasy side (also, why didn’t they bring out more bread the way The French Laundry and Per Se do?) Laura’s crepe-like Cannelloni was filled with delicate king crab and a very light start to her tasting.

Our next course was the tartare of Yellowfin Tuna and Diver Scallops Seasoned with Yellowstone River Caviar:


And Laura had diver Scallop Scented with Hickory, Golden Pineapple and Baby Fennel Coulis:


The early summer tasting menu definitely had a stronger start than the chef’s tasting menu, but we definitely had a lot more courses to try. Our next dish was ravioli of Escargot with Slow Poached Quail Eggs, Escargot Caviar and Mustard Greens:


And Laura’s next dish was the “Soufflé” Brin d’Amour with Chilled Heirloom Carrot Consommé:


The ravioli was one of my favorite courses of the night; it had large pieces of escargot that were tenderly cooked in lots of butter. Laura’s light soufflé was a nice contrast to the heavier ravioli.

David and I were both served the Maine Lobster “Cappuccino” next:


Laura moved onto seafood as well, with Black Olive-Roasted Monkfish in a Ginger-Saffron Broth:


Our cappuccino was lobster broth and lobster chunks with foam on top – deceptively hot (I burned my tongue because I tried to drink it too quickly) but it had great flavors of lobster and seafood and was also exceptionally smooth. Laura’s monkfish was very hearty and the black olives added just the right amount of seasoning that the fish needed.

Next, David and I received the Chorizo-Crusted Codfish with White Coco Bean Purée and Harissa Oil:


And Laura had the Cabernet-Poached Sullivan County Foie Gras with Pain d’Épices:


Our cod was another favorite of the evening; cod is one of my favorite types of fish and the chorizo added a very smoky flavor to the flaky fish. Laura’s dish, however, was probably one of my least favorite from the night; the foie gras was slightly veiny and not custard-like at all. The flavor was also drastically altered because of the cabernet, which I wasn’t a fan of.

For my next dish, I had the Pennsylvania Duck Breast with Black Trumpet Marmalade, “Fleischschneke”, and Banyuls Jus:


David substituted the duck breast for something from the regular menu, the MODERN “Pot au Feu” Served Two Ways, New York Prime Strip Loin with Summer Vegetables and Basil Emulsion, Braised Cheek with Pommes Fondantes:




And Laura’s last savory course was the Rack of Lamb with Young Vegetables and Mint Oil:


My favorites were either my duck breasts or Laura’s rack of lamb. The flavors of the duck breasts and lamb were very clean and presented well with the accompanying sauces, but the beef that David ordered had too many flavors and it muted the actual flavor of the beef. The second presentation of the beef, the braised cheek, was cooked very well, but ended up being overly salted.

That concluded our savory dishes and we smoothly transitioned to desserts with another amouse bouche:


They were shooters filled with meyer lemon curd, gelee, and some macadamia nuts for a surprisingly interesting texture. For dessert, Laura had the Strawberry – Rhubarb Vacherin with Yogurt Meringue and Pistachio Ice Cream:


And David and I had the Manjari Chocolate Palet with Tahitian Vanilla Crémeux and Orange Cacao Arabesque Tuile:


Both desserts were extremely delicious even though they were quite different from each other. Our dessert was much heavier (but didn’t stop either of us from eating the entire thing) and Laura’s was a nice change of pace; lighter, much more delicate, and not cloyingly sweet because of the addition of the tart rhubarb. The three of us with our desserts:


The Modern also sent us a pistachio dessert since it was our birthday:


Us blowing out the candle:


The pistachio cake was actually my favorite cake; I’ve been obsessed with pistachio ever since I found Ben & Jerrys’ Pistachio Pistachio (a great ice cream flavor if you’re ever looking for a new flavor to try). The pistachio cake also had wonderful pistachio-flavored cream between the layers of airy cake.

Our next little dessert were miniature raspberry ice creams inside wonderfully crispy cones:


And then…came the most awesome cart I’ve EVER SEEN:


Someday, when I have more space (and money), I’m going to have a dessert cart go from room to room in my house because it made me SO happy to see it every time it went to a neighboring table, knowing that it would be my turn soon. The server came by and told us about all of the desserts and then asked what we wanted…of course I wanted EVERYTHING, so that’s exactly what we asked for (even though we were already stuffed from three desserts and an extensive tasting menu). The server made enough for the three of us:



Although the desserts all looked really beautiful, none of them really wowed us, except for the shot of cappuccino foam that was like eating coffee-flavored Reddi-whip. The lollipops were filled with a burnt caramel, the chocolate chip cookie was a bit too over-baked, and the green rolled up candy was too sweet and gel-like. By the time we finished all of the desserts, we were the second to last group in the restaurant:


On our way out, the hostess gave me and Laura brownie-like cakes that I ate the next morning (it was decadent and SO delicious straight out of the fridge). Here’s me and Laura:


And the three of us by their window display:


While the service was definitely a little spotty at times (the way the server threw down our utensils was a little obnoxious) but the food was really delicious and I had a really great time at dinner with David and Laura. Thank you for taking us out for a wonderful birthday dinner, Laura!

The Modern on Urbanspoon

Reader Comments

Whoa that whole meal looks amazing! The dessert cart is especially impressive-I like your idea for having your own dessert cart so much, I might have to steal it 😉

Written By Sarah on August 3rd, 2010 @ 11:13 am

Your dress looks so pretty. I love the dessert cart, too. If every party has a dessert cart next to the liquor cart, that would be a really cool and happy party!!!

Written By Ruby on August 4th, 2010 @ 12:25 am

Nice post. There’s relatively few posts on the dining room so I’m glad to see it getting more publicity. Also, the pics were a nice preview of when I visit later this month.

Written By TheDegustationAsian on August 4th, 2010 @ 12:41 am

@thedegustationasian – are you going for a special occasion? Can’t wait to see what you think about the restaurant.

Written By grace.g.yang on August 4th, 2010 @ 12:43 am

Grace – celebrating my gf’s birthday but have wanted to go for awhile now. I appreciate you reviewing both tasting menus and am interested to see if they change at all. Will let you know what I thought after my visit and good luck with “project Michelin,” very ambitious if I say so myself!

Written By TheDegustationAsian on August 4th, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

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