Dinner at the Bar Room at the Modern (Restaurant Week)

The past Friday evening, I had dinner at the Bar Room at the Modern with Ariel.

The Modern

Since I have arrived there earlier than he did, I took the time to take in the atmosphere and the vibe of this place since it is so different than what I have experienced for lunch the last time I was here. It’s more energetic since it is a Friday night: the after-work crowd, friends and dates having their dinners. It’s definitely more relaxed, loud, and arguably chaotic due to the talking, noise, and the start of the weekend.

It's Bustling...

The Back Wall

Eventually Ariel arrived and we glanced at the cocktail menu since it’s after 6, it’s a weekend, he might as well kick back with a drink or two. He decided on having the Coming Up Roses drink and he bought me the Cucumber Caipiroska.

Coming Up Roses Coming Up Roses

Cucumber Caipiroska
Cucumber Caipiroska

Similar to what I had last time for the Coming Up Roses, it looks pretty. But the last time I had it, the ice cubes weren’t so melted but Ariel enjoyed that drink and he did admit that it had a strong kick at the end. Most likely due to the Bacardi Razz and Champagne that’s in the drink. My Cucumber Caipiroska was refreshing. It does have the flavor of a cucumber and had hints of citrus-like flavor from the Hanger One Buddha’s Hand (it’s a citron infused vodka).

The Bread Basket

The bread has arrived with the drinks shortly after, it’s basically consisted of mini baguettes and slices of multi-grain bread. It’s fine but nothing that’s meant to change my life.

The Restaurant Week Menu:

First Course
Arctic Char Tartare
with basil and trout caviar


Tomato and Almond Gazpacho
with fresh Mediterranean Rouget


Charred Octopus
with chickpea-radish salad, salsa verde and crispy capersEntrée

with eggplant caviar and teardrop tomato salad


Beer Braised Pork Belly
with suarkraut and ginger jus


Roasted Garlic Gnocchi
with wild mushroom, sage and crispy sweetbreads


Chocolate Tart
with vanilla ice cream


Cherry Claufuti
with pistachio ice cream


Coconut Tapioca
with mango

Here’s our appetizers for the evening:

Tomato and Almond Gazpacho with Mediterranean Rouget Tomato and almond gazpacho

Ariel’s Tomato and Almond Gazpacho with Mediterranean Rouget was sublime. It tasted like roasted peppers and tomatoes blended with a hint of paprika and creme fraiche – spicy and creamy with a touch of tang. The almond is in the soup only in terms of giving it body (in other words, a thicker texture). The rouget was a nice twist since it matches the spicy flavor of the gazpacho and gave it some heft and meatiness to a vegetarian soup.

Arctic Char Tartare

My Arctic Char Tartare was wonderful as well. The char was silky, slightly tart, and slightly spicy from the black pepper that is in it.

Heck, when Ariel had both my appetizer and his…he had a foodgasm.

Then came the main course:

Garlic Gnocchi with Crispy Sweetbreads

Ariel’s Roasted Garlic Gnocchi with wild mushroom, sage and crispy sweetbreads was good – from what he told me. I didn’t bother trying it because I ate this dish when I was here last time. The crispy nuggets of sweetbreads work so well to the soft, airy, chewy gnocchi. The morels that are found in this dish compliments the earthiness of the sweetbreads.

Swordfish with eggplant caviar and teardrop tomato salad

My swordfish was fine. It was cooked to a medium rare, as requested. It was served on a bed of eggplant caviar, which is basically spicy mashed/blended eggplant, and teardrop tomato salad. The fish was meaty and it the slight char on the fish gave it a slight smoky flavor. The tomato salad brought some acidity and brightness to the heavier flavors and textures of this dish. It didn’t make me swoon but I liked it.

To top off the entire meal, dessert…

Cherry Claufouti

Ariel’s cherry clafouti was good. It’s not the traditional French clafouti where it looks somewhat like a bread fruit pudding – the butter tart shell is not supposed to be there. It tastes good nonetheless. The warm, creamy, pudding-like texture of the filling with sweet cheeries was very tasty. I don’t know about the quenelle of pistachio ice cream on the side but it looks ok.

Chocolate Tart

My chocolate tart was mediocre. The milk chocolate filling in this tart was grainy, not ganache-like smooth. The tart shell was fine but that gritty texture really bothered me as I ate this tart. The quenelle of vanilla ice cream was not creamy enough. I am really disappointed.

As expected though, from many foodies who have eaten at this place many more times than I have, their appetizers are the stars of this restaurant; entrees are second best, while their desserts are (arguably) their Achilles’ heel.

On a side note, their bathrooms look quite nice and some say sexy, with the flattering lighting and the use of incense to perfume the bathroom.

Nice bathroom....

One more restaurant to go (or should I say write about since it did occur?)…and that’s Eleven Madison Park.

The Bar Room at the Modern

9 W 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. alexis says:

    nice. i just ate here last night. i was sorely disappointed by the quality of the sweetbreads – all batter, no creaminess! thanks for getting the menu down, i was looking for it.

  2. thewanderingeater says:

    Alexis: I’m sorry that your sweetbreads weren’t so great. Honestly, I have no idea how were Ariel’s (my dining companion that night) sweetbreads since he ate the whole dish himself.

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