Friday, April 01, 2011

The Bar Room at The Modern Review

My recent return to the The Bar Room at The Modern was yet another delightful meal at a place that continues to prove itself as a bastion of consistency and reliability among New York City restaurants. Most of my previous visits had been during Restaurant Weeks, but this average Saturday night wasn't much different. The expansive menu, which the restaurant puts forth as a collection of small plates, had some of the same dishes I had previously tried and loved, while introducing several new dishes that piqued my interest. On this evening, we were heavy on the seafood.

The tarte flambée is a great appetizer. It's bigger than most of the others and is great for sharing with a group. And we were able to order it without the applewood-smoked bacon to accommodate a vegetarian dining companion. The thin, crispy crust covered in creme fraiche and onion was still delicious, but I prefer it with the bacon, which gives it a bit more depth of flavor and color. 
The Scottish salmon tartare with Meyer lemon and jalapeño and black olive was dashingly arranged. The flavors were mild, but the fish was fresh.

The slow-poached farm egg in a jar with Maine lobster, salsify and sea urchin forth was a fun presentation visually, but in practical terms, was a bit difficult to manage. The foam wasn't an empty garnish; you could definitely taste the sea urchin in it. The portion did seem a bit small though.

The pan-seared skate was served with crispy rock shrimp, creamy grits and brown butter vinaigrette. Skate can be a tasteless fish that doesn't stand up to its typical fried manner, but this was a lovely rendition of it.

The red snapper "en Matelote" was better than I expected. It looks bland, but it's anything but. The fish is meaty and perfectly cooked and the cream sauce makes you want to lick the bowl clean. There are also a few pearl onions and chunks of bacon, the key to its tastiness.

The brook trout special served in a fried crust and perched on a bed of vegetables was also amazing. And it was definitely one of the bigger dishes.

Although the restaurant recommends three dishes per person, it's definitely not necessary and if you order right, this won't seem like a small plates type of dinner. It's not cheap (first courses range from $12 - $26 on the high end for a couple of dishes with specialty items such as foie gras; second and third courses are $16 - $32), but it is quite flexible and you can customize it to meet your levels of hunger. The one drawback of the Bar Room is its energetic sound level, which can be jarring, but the food is so good you might be too busy eating for much conversation anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment