The Modern, June 13, 2006
I was lucky enough to meet my new coworkers for the first time over lunch at The Modern. And as excited as I was to try the Modern, I'm even more excited to (having now met the team) start working with these guys. But, since this is a food journal of sorts, I'll stick to writing about that. But first...the space itself is quite nice with comfortable booths that demand you to pay attention to the sculpture garden and the beautiful townhouses beyond the walls of the garden. The bathrooms were great. The only thing I didn't like were the vases...these cheesey heavy duty platic squares with a Louis Vuitton Epi-style pattern to it. It's everywhere these days it seems including Thor and Wallse. Blech. For a Modern Art museum...this is hardly a worthy design element.
I didn't want to dork out in front of my new coworkers so I don't have a picture of my amuse, which was a cucumber gazpacho that was poured tableside. This was terrific and a perfect way to start the lunch.
I mentioned to them about "not dorking out" and they insisted I take photos...so here goes.
This is the tuna carpaccio that was served as part of the prix-fixe menu. It was served with fingerling potatoes (I'd bet anything they were from the guy that sells them and ramps at the Union Square Greenmarket), a few pieces of mesclun greens quite possibly from Windfall Farms (also at the U.S Greenmarket), some purple flowers and other unknown seed pods of some kind. The tuna was very good and the seasoning around the edges was very nice. Overall though, kinda skimpy on the goods. The plate probably cost $2 to make and were selling it for, well, let's just say a lot more than that if you divvy up the prix fixe items. Good, but disappointing in portion size.
For my entree, I went for the halibut, which was expertly cooked and was served in a broth of some kind (I honestly can't remember the details) with poached vegetables atop the fish. This dish was very good when eating it, but sadly not a stand-out. I can barely remember it. Though to be fair, perhaps that has more to do with making sure I didn't have food on my chin in or worrying about eating like a glutton in front of my new colleagues.
But dessert was another story. I remember this. The strawberry panna cotta was served in a delicious sugary broth of strawberries and a stick of rhubarb (yum) and a sorbet with sugared mint leaves. This was very good.
The Modern wasn't shy about serving petit fours. These included more of the candied or sugared mint leaves, some sort of waffled chocolate concoction (see top of pic), a square jar filled with truffles and chocolates (all were very good), some ginger/sugar gummies and spinach napoleon's or something similar (see the green things up front). Sam Mason, dessert guy at WD~50 is a master at vegetal desserts and I think his showmanship is being replicated all over town...The Modern not being an exception. Tasty.
I don't know what the total bill was but prix fixe menu was about $45 or so per person. I think, despite the chintzy appetizer, the price was pretty good...ONLY because of the inclusion of the amuse and the petit fours.
Most importantly, I met my new team and am very excited about it. Here's to a new gig. Cheers!