Bar Room at The Modern Review: Summer restaurant week at Bar Room of The Modern

Bar Room at The Modern Review: Summer restaurant week at Bar Room of The Modern

Restaurant week used to excite me when I was an undergrad at NYU because the RW lunch specials of $24.00 was super affordable. Most of my meals back then consisted of ramen or cheap chinese take out food from Chinatown. RW was always a refreshing break from the normal stuff. Then as I got older and read more about the food scene in New York, the general consensus was that restaurants held back for RW. The cooks hated it because of the mad rush, and the menus were second rate compared to the normal menu. But after college I realized that food is only half of the experience, and the other half is about your dining companions. And that is why you should always bring an escort with you, and a Labrador retriever. This way, you can have the hot and the cuddly all at once. Note – you obviously do not want to cuddle with a escort for obviously reasons, and you bring the dog in case people become disgusted that you brought an escort. See, best of both worlds. Oh and I went to The Bar Room at The Modern earlier this week!

The first thing I noticed about The Bar Room was that it was a lot dimmer than the formal dining room. And while I really prefer a room with more light, it was fine because hardly anyone was in the formal dining room, everyone was there for RW and the Bar Room was hopping. The meal started with some bread which featured these mini-baguettes which I thought were too tough. My sister thought otherwise. She has actually backpacked through France so my opinion was pwned.

The appetizers were really awesome. The tomato and almond gazpacho was refreshing and crunchy but I forgot to take pictures of it because I was busy stuffing my face. The diver scallops with lobster consomme was also yummy; the spices out the outside of the scallops had a nice kick to it. And I got the homemade Alsatian sausage. Not sure what makes a sausage Alsatian, and my guess is that the special ingredient is oozy cheese. When juices bursted out of the sausage as it met my knife, I knew it was going to be yummy. And the Choucroute (sauerkraut) was mild in flavor and was a perfect compliment for the sausage. If I could eat this sausage with an egg every morning, I could probably play as an offensive linemen in the NFL in just two weeks. Because Alsatian sausage makes you strong… or something.

The funniest name on the menu was the “Swordfish with eggplant caviar and teardrop tomato salad.” Who comes up with these names? Gabriel Kreuther? WTF was eggplant caviar? As it turned out, it was just pureed eggplant. The swordfish was good but nothing to write home about. The pan roasted hanger steak was really tender and delicious. The steak came with this pickled-fig blue cheese flan. Yea you read that right. Surprisingly it was kind of good… the blue cheesey flavor was not over powering and I bet some people would eat that thing like real flan.

The duck confit was kind of your standard duck confit. The skin was crispy while the meat was succulent. I really liked the plating of it, but really it was not an earth shattering duck confit. It is difficult for me to write that because dude, it is duck and it was cooked right, so it was at least an 8. I just do not know what a 10 is like when we talk about duck. Maybe I just like duck a lot… I think of it as bacon with flightless wings… kids who went to the zoo with me during my younger days were probably just as confused with my world view. It was not like, “Cute! A goose!” It was more like, “You can eat that…” followed by, “EWWW!! GO AWAY FROM ME!!!” Oh right so the other entree was the crispy Atlantic cod or what I would like to call, fancy schmancy fish and chips without the chips. The thick/thiness of the batter was perfect; not too puffy to overshadow the fish and strong enough to keep all the moisture contained. Again, hard to go wrong with fried fish.

The desserts were good too, although I though the appetizers and entrees were the stronger part of the meal. We got the Caramel Coffee Dome, Milk Chocolate Cremeux with tapioca, Buttermilk panna cotta, and Hazelnut Dacquoise. By this point of the meal I was close to suffering a coma and I just remember the best and worst tasting thing was on the same plate: buttermilk panna cotta. The panna cotta was really nice but there was this opaque-ish jelly like substance with a citrusy flavor and it was no good. It was over powering and the panna cotta was way better without it. The prettiest dessert was the hazelnut dacquoise but mostly because I liked how they arranged the nuts by size in ascending order.

Some people might be against judging a restaurant during Restaurant Week. I think it is silly to say, “Oh well his job is to run a restaurant but for two weeks, he is advertising that he is slacking off so let us not judge him.” Yo that is weak. What is that favorite overused phrase? Cannot take the heat, so get out of the kitchen? If you do not want the good press of participating in RW, then do not do it. If you do it, do it right. The Modern does it right.

The Modern give you ample choices and they deliver on a solid and enjoyable experience. If you look at their choices from last summer when The Wandering Eater (Tina) went there, I can tell you they stepped it up this year. On my way out, I peered down the open hallway that led to the kitchen, and Gabriel Kreuther was there that night. Maybe he is not there every night, but with menu variety and the head chef on hand? You will have a hard time finding a better RW experience than The Bar Room at The Modern.

Bar Room at The Modern9 W. 53rd Street.New York, NY 10019212-333-1220

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