Written by Hulda Lawrence
The Modern (212-333-1220), located at 9 West 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, is a charming place with lots of activity and plenty of noise. This huge "bar" presents a great variety of food and drink at fairly reasonable prices. Taking Museum dining to sophisticated new heights, the Modern is a fine dining restaurant located at the Museum of Modern Art featuring the original French-American cuisine of Alsatian-born Chef Gabriel Kreuther, with desserts by Marc Aumont. You need to have a reservation and once you arrive you are checked in and seated.
The drink menu is divided into several sections: Sparkling Cocktails, Classics Re-Visited, and Modern Interpretations, where I spotted Shot In The Dark ($15). My companion chose Small Batch #12: cherry-infused Bulleit Rye, brandied cherry essence and wormwood bitters ($21). My drink of Cruzan Rum, lemon, allspice dram, ginger beer and Gosling's Rum was fine. The emphasis here is on drinks, wines, draught beer and many others.
From the appetizerswhere we were torn between Upside Down Tuna Tarte and Tarte Flambée Alsatian, Wild Mushroom Soup, Foie Gras Terrine and Borscht with horseradish flan, shaved parmesan and toasted hazelnutwe selected Modern Liverwurst with four pickled vegetables.
From the next section we selected Horseradish-Crusted Scottish Salmon with cabbage and Riesling for $18. On our next visit we'll try the Alsatian Country Soup with Benton's ham and Nantucket Bay scallops; Grilled Diver Scallops with fried Brussels sprouts; Slow-Poached Farm Egg with Maine lobster, artichoke purée and sea urchin froth; Atlantic Cod, Wild Mushroom and Leek "Brick"; or Pan-Seared Skate with crispy rock shrimp. This division was $16 to $29.
We must note that excellent bread and rolls made on the premises are provided. For our "main dish" we ordered Roasted Long Island Duck Breast with peppercorn-crusted apples and pistachio truffle dipping sauce at $19. It arrived and, to our disappointment, it was a very small portion. Next time we can enjoy Black Angus Beef Tenderloin, Duck Confit a l'Orange, Lamb Chop and Breast Duet or Veal Cheek "Sauerbraten." This division is $16 to $31.
From the vast variety of wines, it was Pinot Noir from Burgundy for me and Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley for my companion. The wine is poured at the table, although it was presented in a relatively small amount.
It was a pleasure to order a cappuccino for my dessert accompaniment. It went perfectly with the Modern Cheesecake with almond crumble, raspberry and fromage blanc sorbets. We also tasted Chestnut Sundae with Bailey's ice cream, pecan biscuit and caramel. On another visit we will try Beignets with maple ice cream, caramel and pear quince marmalade, or Pistachio Dark Chocolate Dome with pistachio ice cream and amaretto gelee. Desserts are $9 to $12. For those who prefer cheese, tastes are available for $5 a piece.
Hours: Monday -Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.