My decision to come to The Modern was purely coincidental. A surprise 24 hours in New York City gave me a chance to explore the culinary capital of America. Browsing through Opentable, I happened to stumble upon an open lunch reservation at The Modern. Without a shred of hesitation, I jumped at it.
Danny Meyer’s 2 Michelin Stars temple of gastronomy is the perfect combination of place and essence. The Modern is located at the best location in Manhattan, a quaint and pristine spot by MoMA’s sculpture garden. Like the location, chef Bissell’s cuisine is similar in the perfect and minimalistic execution of techniques and flavors. During lunch, the restaurant offers two options for diners, a 3 courses prix fixe and a 6 courses chef tasting menu. I opted for the tasting menu.
The first dish from my tasting menu was a perfect combination of classic flavors. A slightly warm, rich egg yolk worked perfectly in harmony with the briny caviars and the acidity from the sabayon and picked shallots. The decadent brioche added another layer of fat and textural contrast. A perfect dish and my favorite of the meal.
Bread service at The Modern was underwhelming. The rolls were warm and had a nice chew. Sweet butter provided richness. Nothing memorable.
A nice and refreshing follow-up to a very heavy first course. Beautifully marinated hamachi was paired with a creamy salad of potato and sorrel puree. The potato chips and lettuce provided a necessary crunch to contrast the dense hamachi.
The Modern’s signature item, the foie gras tart, came next, paired with a sweet and sour quince compote and bitter radicchio. I felt that chef Bissell has a penchant for reinterpreting classic flavor combination (hey, why fix it if it’s not broken). The smooth and creamy foie gras was balanced out by the sweet and tart quince and the bitterness of the radicchio. Amazing.
The fish course was the most average dish of the meal. Perfectly cooked, moist turbot with a creamy sauce and some lightly sauteed greens. The matsutake mushrooms, which were supposed to elevate the dish, was overwhelmed by the heaviness of the sauce.
Chef Bissell’s classical flavors are again used in this amazing venison dish. Perfectly rare and gamey venison was paired with the traditional accompaniment of apple and brussel sprouts. The brussel sprouts added a layer of crunch while the creamy roasted apple added a layer of sweetness, perfectly complimenting the protein. An intensely beautiful jus brought the dish to a completely different level.
A very strong dessert. Decadent chocolate marquise with a refreshing earl grey ice cream that was so addicting that I could finish a pint of it on my own. The salty tuile made for a good contrast, accentuating the flavor of the chocolate and the ice cream
Overall, The Modern was an amazing experience. While there were a few weak points within the menu, many courses lived up to their lofty expectations.