Thursday, January 25, 2007

Artful Dining (The Modern)

O had what I thought was a great suggestion for dinner last night - The Modern. A had initially suggested something like Indian and somehow we went from that to The Modern. No complaints from me; I had been dying to try it.

I had heard great things about it, and it's one of my favorite museums, so I figured we couldn't go too wrong. And then my seat even had a pretty good view of the current film installation. It was a great meal (food, atmosphere, service, view and company).

It started off right with a nice little tray of complimentary appetizers. There were spicy pieces of pineapple, small goat cheese raviolies, a goose (?) liver pate ball and finally a cracker thing that I don't remember what it was. The pate ball was the best part - it was awesome! (And I got three as O doesn't eat meat and A wasn't in the mood - but that's not why I'm friends with them, it's just a nice bonus).

After nibbling on those (with, of course, a glass of champagne - I love champagne), we managed to make decisions on what to order. I know that there has been discussion of the value of chef's tasting menus, but the two big ones here looked great - though too much for a Wednesday night; we stuck to the three course.

Another great thing about O&A is that they're happy to take photos as well, so now we have the selections of all three of us to enjoy. But before we got to what we ordered, we got a nice amuse bouche of salmon with a caviar base. I love caviar, but the overall taste was only so-so.

For the evening, it turned out that I was in a foie gras kind of mood and so I started with: Sauteed Sullivan County Foie Gras with Dates and Lemon Confit, Chestnut Tuile. It was great! I love sauteed foie gras and this was perfectly done; and the confit was amazing. I was a very happy camper (luxury camper).

O went with the Maine Lobster Salad with Black Radish, Cucumber and Black Truffle Sauce, which he enjoyed. I liked that they managed to make the lobster claw stand up like that - it was cool.

A decided that she wanted a salad and she went with the Herb Salad, Horeseradish Infused Organic Yogurt Dressing. It arrived and it looked just like a bunch of lettuce, so I don't know that it won on presentation, but she liked the yogurt dressing. I also discovered that some times you miss things in dimly lit restaurants - looks like the salad also had flower petals, nice colors.

For my entree, I kept the foie gras theme. I went with the Squab and Foie Gras "Croustilliant" with Carmelized Ginger Jus and Farm Vegetables. I figured that the Farm Vegetables made it the healthy choice. And when I smelled the Carmelized Ginger Jus, I thought I had gone to heaven. The dish itself did not disappoint - it even had baby brussel spouts which were awesome.

O went with the Slow Baked Sablefish in Hard Apple Cider Bouillon, Poached Chilmark Oysters.

A stuck with a second appetizer, a trick that I often use as the appetizers are often the best things on the menu. She chose the Slow Poached Farm Egg with Jerusalem Artichokes and Black Truffle Served in a Glass Jar. We did ask how the Slow Poached Egg was different from the Poached Egg (part of the Poached Organic Egg with Wild Mushroom Veloute), which was, I believe, the only time that we stumped our waiter. His answer was something about how the slow one was in the jar.

A let me try a bite, which was very nice, as it wasn't a huge dish. My bite was great. She actually felt like there was almost too much truffle - which is not the worst critique that I've heard of a restaurant.

One of my favorite things about any multi-course meal is that you have to get dessert, it's part of the structure. We even got a little mini intro dessert, it was a mandarin sorbet with lime, pomegranete seeds. It was a very nice little palate cleanser. Very nice.

I've been dreaming about chocolate tarts since I saw Cream Puff's recent post and so when I saw: Chocolate Tart, Chocolate "Cremeux" and Sorbet on the menu, I had to go with it. It was great and the sorbet was perfect. The Cremeux had a star anise flavor to it that I didn't love, but the other two were nice. Even so, the best part was may have been the sliver of what may have been dulce de leche which was an accent. It was really good!

That said, I think I might have liked O & A's choice better. The description on the menu: Milk Chocolate Dacquoise and Raspberry Sorbet didn't grab me (I don't tend to love cake-type things), though I did come close when the carmel portion was described. The carmel cover around the sweet crunch inside was just amazing.

But wait, there's more. We then got the petit fours as well as a little ice cream cone of fromage blanc and raspberry. The little cone was amazing - the perfect blend of cold and flavor.

And then I tried the chocolate. My first one was the rounded square. A and I both thought that it would be caramel. I don't know if I've ever been that surprised. I'm not always the best at identifying odd flavors, but this one was easy: Meyer Lemon. I really don't think I've ever had the two flavors together. But, somehow, it worked. It was really interesting. If there had been more, I would have had more. The long triangle (I can't remember what was in it), but I wasn't crazy about it.

I love coffee, but I only do decaf, and only in the morning. But I love the ceremony around good coffee. And so when O ordered his espresso, I had to take a picture of the sugar offerings (regular, raw and equal). I'm a sucker for good presentation.

Really nice meal, I'll be back. I also still really want to try the bar option at some point.


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