Monday, April 16, 2007

Perfectly Casual (Bar at the Modern)

Tonight my friend K was in town. We had made plans to meet up, but I hadn't gotten concrete enough to make reservations (I'm somewhat less stressed about Monday's anyway). So K called at 5pm when she landed and then I realized that I really didn't have a plan at all. Open Table to the rescue. I absolutely adore Open Table when I have to find a restaurant last minute and have no clue what to do - there is something very comforting in knowing your options (otherwise, I find myself overwhelmed by the plethora of possibilities). I searched on all of Manhattan, but then sorted by location. K was staying in Times Square, so I figured that Midtown would be a compromise (both in terms of location and likely in terms of food). And then I saw it. The Bar at the Modern! Perfect. I'd been dying to try it, but hadn't quite made it (I even had a reservation for last week, but I had to cancel).

I arrived a little after 7. K was there, seated with drinks ordered. I choose my friends well. She had decided that we needed cocktails - and why would anyone possibly argue with that. The drink was beautiful. It had rose petals and was called something like Everything's Coming up Roses (or Gather ye Rosebuds While You May or Ring Around the Rosie, Pocket Full of Posies). It was a combo of champagne, some kind of Bacardi thing, Rose's Lime and something else. It was a little sweet, but really nice. And a nice start for the evening. (And the rose petals in the drink were really cool.)
The menu at The Bar at The Modern is divided into thirds: 1 and 2 are appetizer portions, 3 is half portions of entree sizes. We decided to go for two appetizers each. Contrary to my decision last night, I saw the Foie Gras Torchon and had to have it. I love foie gras torchon. It was excellent. Though, I'm not sure what's going on with the bread thing. I'm a big fan of torchon with toast - the heat vs. cold, crunch vs. smooth, etc. They served it with (fabulous) bread, but it just wasn't quite right.

K got the upside down Tuna Tartare. This was amazing. She was nice enough to share (even though I was a horrible food friend and ordered foie gras and veal with a vegetarian friend - apparently I'm better at being the sharee). I would order this another time.

We had indeed both ordered two appetizers. But then there was also the garlic gnocchi, which we decided to have as an inter-mezzo (basically, I was having trouble deciding and K helped me out by making it all work). The gnocchi were amazing. They absolutely melted in your mouth. The roasted garlic added a depth of flavor that was fantastic. And the mushroom sauce was rich without being overwhelmingly heavy. It also had a few fried sweetbreads. It is truly amazing to me the that only place I've ever had fabulous sweetbreads is Momofuku Noodle Bar (really amazing!). These were just sort of like fried somethings - couldn't really tell anything about the flavor. They didn't add to the dish at all. But luckily, they looked good in the initial dish, and the contrast made it easy to pick them out and just concentrate on the (lucious!) gnocchi.

For my final course I had chosen the veal and goat cheese terrine (again, not super-share friendly, but incredibly compelling). It was a great combo - the goat wasn't overpowering, but it did kick up the veal just enough. And it did not look nearly this freaky green in the restaurant lighting.

K got the scallops. Which she really seemed to like. She even said something like, "Wow, these are amazing!" with an earnestness that I trusted. They too could be a dish to try another time.

Of course, when I said 'final' I wasn't including dessert - that comes after the final course. We did decide to share a single dish here (I'm a huge fan of the reduced portions here. I left feeling pleasantly, not grossly, full). While I had fallen down on the not always zeroing in on the foie gras thought, I was determined not to fall into the same trap on the dessert. I ignored the chocolate choice. I offered up 2 options: the Beignets and the Panna Cotta, K neged the Panna Cotta, but mentioned the Cheese Cake (which I'm just not a fan of) - se we chose the Beignets. This totally uniformed choice was potentially the best one I had made all night (aside, of course, from choosing to go there in the first place). This was a fabulous dessert! I will be back so that I can eat this again (and again, etc.). It's a deceptively simple offering. 5 beignets and 3 dips: carmel, ice cream and pureed mango. I cannot even describe how well these work together. I tore my beignets into quarters, dribbled on the carmel (really nice carmel!), added a bit of the ice cream and topped with the mango. Apparently the reason that they give you five is that if they gave you an endless number, you would just keep eating and never leave and they wouldn't be able to turn the table (not to mention the ugliness if after years of eating fabulous beignets, at some point you actually got full and ate a wafer thin mint). I would never have paired mango with carmel. I need to rethink my prejudices.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi One More Bite,

My name is Shannon and I'm the editorial assistant at Following up on a recent email invitation to be a part of our newly launched Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I just want to reiterate that I am very impressed with the quality of your posts. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at

It looks like an amazing meal!


Shannon Eliot
Editorial Assistant,

6:11 PM  

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