Eating at the Modern

Today was my second look at the new MOMA.  The lines are still there.  The place, physically is a bit overwhelming.  I sort of got lost on different floors trying to find my way back to the escalator.  I never understand why there are exit signs clearly labeled over doors and when you go through that door you enter a small room with no exit.  It is frustrating.  Luckily, there are many guards who are happy to answer questions, like where am I going?

It is quite incredible the amount of fantastic art there.  I strolled around before and after lunch because today my girlfriends and I went to the Modern for lunch.  We  couldn’t find the restaurant at first and asked a security guard to point us in the right direction.  He asked us if we meant the "fancy restaurant".  I guess so. 

Dsc000231 You can enter the restaurant from outside, so you actually do not have to be at the MOMA which makes total sense.  The restaurant is totally modern.  No surprises there.  The layout totally reminded me of Fred’s at Barneys when it was in the basement.   I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they used the same architects. 

To the left is the picture of the bathroom. My mother said even when I was a kid I used to check out every bathroom at a restaurant.  The sinks are meant to be shared by men and women and each door can be used by anyone.  Very clever. 

The menu has 3 parts, 4 including dessert.  The sections are numbered, 1 and 2 and 3.  The first 2 are appetizer portions and I mean small appetizer portions.  Number 3 is the main course which is clearly stated that their main courses are 1/2 size portions of a normal main course.  Hmmm.  The wines you can by in 3 ounce glasses, or regular glasses or a bottle.  They are big on portion control here.  If you have a big appetite, I am not sure that ordering something from 1, 2 and 3 wouldn’t fill you up.  Maybe the lunch menu is different from the dinner menu.  I am not sure. 

Dsc000241 Two of us started with the artic char cut into small pieces with caviar roe over the top and sliced daikon.  They even had a special plate made for it.  Glass that is rounded with a square piece in the middle that sinks down about 1/2 inch.  Really well done.  Others had the grilled shrimp – 3 of them with a small salad on the side.  The other appetizer was a grilled octopus over a bed of potatoes.  Dsc000251_2

We all opted for 1 and 3.  I had grilled diver scallops with a poppy seed crust, shaved Parmesan and a small bit of salad.  Only 2 scallops.  Not exactly a main course.  Someone else had the sea bass with a pistachio crust.  The last entree was chopped liver in 3 small balls served over a beet sauce.  Not that great.

Dessert we split fried dough and sauces and a chocolate tart and all had coffee.  Great cups. 

Perhaps my level of expectations were too high.  I thought that food was solid but not amazing.  I really liked the vibe there.  Danny is a master at creating wonderful atmospheres with high end service.  He has done it again and my guess will continue to do so.  His eye for detail is impeccable.  I am not sure how he is visiting each of his restaurants every day and making the rounds but knowing Danny he has figured it out.  He is the ultimate host.  The portion control thing is one on hand great because I think as Americans  portions are way too big but on the other hand the portions here are so small it is sort of strange.  Hmmm.   

Next stop to the MOMA, I’m checking out the cafe.