Total Bill: $860 for four people
The Modern is falling dangerously close to slipping into the category of just-another-expensive-New-York-City-dinner if it doesn’t start paying attention to details.
There’s a fine line between one-of-a-kind dishes and gimmicky entrees, and this once-elegant mix of contemporary classicism is testing it.
The setting is beautiful, no disputing that, and all the plating and presentation match all the visual appeal of upscale dining. But when you start to notice tarnished silverware, and perhaps the worst blunder of persistently over-salted food, you’ll start wondering why you don’t take your money elsewhere.
This isn’t to say the menu doesn’t have some spunk. (We sat in the “Dining Room” where a prix fixe is required.)
Take the scallop crudo with cucumber vichyssois and mint oil, probably the most refreshing of our table’s appetizers. Or my poached froi gras with super-tart red currants.
But from there, the main entrees started to go a bit overboard. Jay’s pork tenderloin was overwhelmed by a salty crust and muster jus. The rabbit truffle dumplings that our server highly recommended was dry on the inside with nearly no trace of truffle flavors.
The night’s special, on the other hand, had a mountain of black truffle shavings over lobster risotto. They were generous with the truffles, perfect disks piled on top of a bed of creamy risotto that was unfortunately so heavily salted that the dish’s most valuable flavor was lost.
My lamb was uninspired. Not that it wasn’t well-cooked, but the main ingredient that translated from plate to mouth was salt. Even the dainty (though quite colorful) array of vegetables surrounding it turned brackish.
The saving grace came with dessert, a timely course to step things up. My caramel parfait with a ten-flavor sorbet was like a piece of art you find in the MoMA that houses the restaurant. It comes with three baby pillows of mango ravioli, gushing with mango flavor that was surpassed only by a scoop of mango sorbet somehow bursting with tropical fruit tartness.
The Modern doesn’t totally warrant a skip in my book, but perhaps sticking to the bar room is better. Cherry pick for the restaurant’s more creative offerings, and stay away from the more classical selections that you’ll probably find better-constructed elsewhere.