The Modern is really two different experiences: the bar, and the dining room. The dining room is a beautiful, formal space overlooking the MoMa garden with a three-course prixe fixe menu. It’s fine dining for sure, and it’s incredibly good.
The bar area is quite a bit different - it’s more relaxed, with an a la carte menu of share plates. You can get a seat at the counter, grab one of the low two-tops (which are frankly a little awkward if you actually want to eat), or even get a real table - all with the same A plus service as the formal dining room, even if the food isn’t as impressive. But really, this side of The Modern is best used for martinis after the museum, or fancy pre- or post-dinner drinks at one of the only great bars in Midtown.
photo credit: Ellen Silverman
The bar area is quite a bit different. It’s sleek, more relaxed, and on a good night, you’ll find some Action at the Bar. The plates are smaller and a bit more restrained, but you will still get A plus service and have a decent meal. We like the bar just fine, but what it really comes down to is this: That James Beard award didn’t get handed over for restraint and small plates. Chef Kruether is rocking a new neck accessory because of what’s happening in the dining room. It’s a top notch restaurant, but the bar can be a bit hit-or-miss, and if we’re doing it fancy, Eleven Madison park is more our speed.
The bar version of this with some radish and yuzu is fine, but what you want is the tartare in the dining room that comes served with a thin slice of watermelon. That’s where it’s at.
Upside Down Tuna Tarte
A tuna tartare, but with a thin, crunchy pastry sitting on top. Pretty tasty.
A nice, delicate pasta, though I expected this to have more flavor than it did. It’s fine, but it’s also an example of why you’re better off spending your money in the dining room.
Homemade Alsatian Country Sausage
Probably the best thing on the bar menu, this is an incredibly satisfying home made sausage. DBGB, take note.
Dry Aged Strip Loin
Sliced thin and served over spaetzele, this is an awesome bar menu option.
Long Island Duck Breast
We had some west coast duck at Eleven Madison Park a while back, and it was mind blowing. There is usually some duck on both menus at The Modern, and you should be eating it.
Red Beet Risotto
Ok. There is gold leaf in this dish, which is something you’ll see on a plate every once in a while in The Modern dining room. I would normally take this opportunity to make some sarcastic Goldschlager reference, but will skip it this time - just because this risotto is so good.
Loup de Mer
A really nice, light filet of Loup de Mer, a white fish. This will come with various things on the plate, depending on the season. I think ours had some mushroom action, and maybe a clam.