The Modern, NYC 3

February 21, 2017

Our last meal at The Modern, four years ago, disappointed us for its pretentious over-complexity. The chef then was Gabriel Kreuther, who has since opened his own restaurant, which we enjoy very much. Abram Bissell has been the chef of The Modern since March 2014. We thought we should try again since The Modern holds two Michelin stars, and three New York Times stars.  Linda and I went for dinner on January 31, 2017.

We started with glasses of  Diebolt-Vallois à Cramant Blanc de Blancs Prestige. This was followed by a bottle of 2012 Wenzlau Vineyard, Estate (Santa Rita Hills) Pinot Noir.
It had just the right pinot noir characteristics and was not too heavy to go with all of the savory courses.

Bread was served. On the right is potato bread. The other was called beef-consommé bread.

The hors d’œuvres were beet chips with a creamy goat cheese dip and savory pistachio/pink peppercorn madeleines with beet dust on top. There was also a glass of duck consommé poured over dehydrated beet shards.
These were good.

There are two menu options. One can choose four courses; there are five options for each course. Or one can have an eight-course tasting menu of smaller plates chosen by the chef. We took the first route.

Linda’s first course was
Foie Gras Tart
Quince Braised in White Wine
Radicchio Treviso.
A very smooth foie gras made in-house and settled in a tart shell was garnished with a candied quince and a type of jellied quince, plus lovely radicchio slices.  Very good quality foie gras, not too rich, good starter.

Mine was
Roasted Delicata Squash
Black Truffle Sauce and Candied Hazelnuts
The well-roasted squash round was succulent and good. The candied hazelnuts were a perfect foil. The sauce was mislabeled. It was a sabayon. There were tiny black dots in it which might have had truffle origins, but they could not be tasted against the moderate spiciness of the eggy sabayon.  

Linda’s fish course was
Lobster Steamed in Spinach
Yellow Foot and Roasted Lobster Jus.
Succulent lobster with real taste was covered with a really good potato purée, obviously including spinach and cremini mushrooms. Superb spinach formed a bed for the lobster and was wrapped around one side. Yellowfoot mushrooms were on the other side of the dish as shown. Excellent. Well crafted combination.

My fish was
Slow Cooked Sea Bass
Sunchoke Rissoles and Watercress Broth.
The sea bass was top quality and had a good, crusty top. The rissoles, deep fried croquettes filled with Jerusalem artichoke, were excellent as was the butter and watercress oil sauce underneath.

Linda’s meat course was
Bone Marrow Crusted Beef
Salt Baked Celery Root and Black Truffle.
The midwestern beef was luscious and tender. The small square front and center was of short ribs. Two rounds of marrow and a generous slice of well-baked celery root sat on a purée of celery root and black truffle.  Excellent combination.

My meat course was
Herb Roasted Porcelet de Lait
Olive Oil Poached Pear and Onions Dressed in Buttermilk.
The suckling pig chop was succulent and good. In the back was a very crisp pork skin, which cut into small pieces went well with the pink meat. The poached pear was a well matched garnish as were the two thick sauces. The little buttermilk-filled onion pieces and the parsley-topped small onion added a little needed tang. Well, here the chef is getting into unneeded complexity, but I enjoyed it.

There was a pre-dessert in the form of a mignardise. A small crunchy brick package enclosed coconut and mango sorbet.

Linda’s dessert was
Poire William Chiboust
Almond Pain de Gêne and Pear-Quince Sorbet.
This use of pear in multiple preparations provided a good dessert without too much sweetness. Bravo.

My dessert was
Truffle Cornbread Pudding
Hazelnut Anglaise and Gianduja Ice Cream.
The only relief from the delicious unctuosity of this dessert was the crunchy hazelnut base inside the glass. Lovely, but neither truffle nor cornbread were evident.

We enjoyed our meal. There were top quality ingredients, well prepared in appropriate combinations. The service and pace were good. The tables were well spaced and the noise level was low.

On the way out, I peered into the new kitchen and we were invited in by one of the hosts.
This is the section which prepares dishes for the bar menu.

The section on the right below is for pastry; the more elaborate one beyond and in the second photo is for the gastronomic dining room.
There is a four-seat table looking out from a corner of the gastronomic section, where one can have the tasting menu in relative conversation calm while watching the action.

To see our previous meal at The Modern click here. 


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