Friday was another date night for me! Cookie Monster picked the Bar Room at the Modern. He’s eaten here several times before on work accounts and because I never have been, he thought it would be a good place to go. He said, and I quote, “It is French and the menu has all that rich food you love.” haha. My husband knows me well.
The Bar Room is the more casual dining area to The Modern which is right next door. Where the Modern is white table clothed and priced fixed (comparable to Eleven Madison Park in terms of fanciness and service style), the Bar Room is more casual and a la carte dining. Don’t get me wrong, the prices are not any lower nor is the service any less lacking.
We decided to get a course from all three options: One (appetizers), Two (seafood and fish), and Three (proteins).
While Cookie Monster had some wine, I started with the Martinez as I love Negronis and it sounded similar:
The Martinez is vodka, cocchi vermouth di torino, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters. It was quite strong and slightly sweeter than I thought it would be. It actually tasted like scotch or rum – not so much vodka – I think it might have been the maraschino liquer.
To start, Cookie Monster got the upside down tuna tartare:
Tuna tartare is nestled beneath a thin layer of a fried parmesan round or was it some kind of crispy bread? We couldn’t tell but we sure liked the crispness next to the cool raw tuna. The tuna tartare was chopped into small cubes and tossed with fennel, japanese cucumber and aïoli. The cucumber was really nice – it was cubed as well and tossed in so every bite you had a fresh bite of cucumber next to the creamy aioli. This was pretty delicious. I was leaning towards this appetizer until I inquired about the homemade liverwurst.
The server told us it was amazing and on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” (Food Network). Of course that sold me right away.
It’s served with four pickled vegetables: beets, cucumbers, pepper and mushrooms. Side of Dijon mustard. Pretty tasty and very refined. Liverwurst is a bit rustic in my opinion but this was served like a wonderful pate. It had just the right amount of liver aftertaste and creamy porky flavor. I smothered it thickly on that crusty bread that came with it.
For second course, Cookie Monster got Maine Lobster pappardelle au poivre withwith zucchini blossoms and tomato:
He is such a sucker for anything lobster….This dish was ok. It didn’t have much to it and honestly it was a bit boring to me. It was pasta with a nice vegetable sauce on it and then some chunks of lobster to up the decadent factor. I believe Cookie Monster wasn’t a huge raving fan either. He liked my second course better.
I got the buckwheat spaetzle with yellowfin tuna paillard crudo, roasted foie gras, pine nuts and black pepper gastrique:
Yummy yummy yummy I got foie gras in my tummy. Look at the beautiful mound of foie gras. My eyes widened in delight when I saw that portion size! AND yes, it was just as delicious and rich as it looks – there was a wonderful sweet caramelized char on the outside too. The tuna was fresh and this was definitely an interesting combination – never ever had foie gras with tuna before. The spaetzle was good but I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture for some reason and it had a slight sour component to it. However, eaten all together, it was delicious. Freshness of the tuna, the starchy bite of the spaetzle and then the rich caramel flavor of the duck liver. We both agreed it was the foie gras that made the dish by adding a robust rounded flavor to the dish that was lacking when eaten without the foie.
For third course, Cookie Monster got the roasted duck breast with with peppercorn-crusted apples and pistachio-truffle dipping sauce:
Duck breast was well cooked and had a delicious crispy skin – the duck fat was rendered out perfectly. However, the star of this plate was the pistachio truffle dipping sauce. OoOOO that essence of truffle was so prominent I started dipping table bread into it! lol.
Oh sweet heaven. That crispy pork skin on top was magnificent. The pork belly had an oh so slight bitterness to it that paired marvelously with the fatty fork tender pork belly. This was pork belly done right. I skipped the pea puree altogether because I am not a lover of mashed peas.
By the end of dinner my heart was beating faster just from the richness of all I had consumed! But no worries, I was blessed with a high metabolism. This meal was elegant and the epitome of French cooking and technique. It was all presented quite lovely. The room is bright and doesn’t have alot of mood lighting to it may not be the best for a date and if you are looking for a younger hip crowd, this may also not be the place for you. It’s got a more mature upper east/west crowd from what I could see. Maybe a great place to take your parents or someplace to eat before the theater?
The Bar Room at The Modern, 9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY