Given only a 2 weeks time window to work with. Trying to secure a dining spot in one of NYC's more popular Michelin Star destination on a Saturday night would require a bit of divine intervention and lots of luck!! For our Chowmeet, Part 2, Fourseason and I were fortunate to find an opening in 'The Modern' at 6:30 pm.
Still partially stuffed from our earlier lunch at Jean Georges, we arrived at our assigned time slot to find the dining room already packed and bustling. Unlike the cool reception we received earlier at JG, we were greeted with smiling and friendly faces all round! A good omen!!
With no room in our system to accommodate the daunting 10 course tasting menu, we decided to forgo our original plan and opted for the more modest 4 course Prix Fixe instead. In order obtain a more comprehensive picture of the food, our strategy was to order all 'non-repetitive' dishes. We managed to achieve our goal except one! We felt the need to double order the signature 'Sturgeon and Sauerkraut Tart' since we all wanted to take a taste.
Our meal comprised of the following:
- BREAD: Yes! A special honorary mention to some of the tastiest, crunchiest, crispiest, softest and piping hot restaurant bread selection I have ever eaten!! Soooo @##$%^^ good!!
- Amuse Bouche: Caramelized popped corn with savory topping, Marinated Fluke, a tube of Carrot smoothie and a plate of ??? (since I was too busy enjoying the bread!!)
- Course 1: Diver Scallop, Yellowfin Tuna & Scottish Salmon
Seasoned 3 Ways
'Pralines' of Foie Gras Terrine
Mango Puree and Balsamic Vinegar
Alaskan King Crab Salad 'Cannelloni'
Sea Urchin Coulis, caviar
- Course 2: Sturgeon and Sauerkraut Tart
American Caviar Mousseline and Applewood Smoke
Cabernet-Poached Sullivan County Foie Gras
Pickled Wild Strawberries, Black Pepper Caramel
- Course 3: Slow-Roasted Maine Lobster
'Folly of Herbs' and Seasonal Vegetables
Quail Baked ' En Terre Glaise'
Macaroni Gratine, Spinach and Chanterelles.
Squab and Foie Gras Croustillant
Caramelized Ginger Jus and Farm Vegetables
- Dessert Course: Pineapple and Citrus Macaron
Balsamic Caramel and Fromage Blanc Sorbet
Mango Ravioli, Coconut Tapioca and Ten Flavor Sorbet
Citrus Mousseline, Almond Spaghetti, Mang-Passion Fruit Sorbet
- Chocolate Cart: 30 different types of chocolate products to pick from!
Overall, IMO, our 'Modern' yet Classic Alsatian dishes were more delicious and intriguing than JG's offering. Food were more artistically presented and the taste, though less bold and multi-dimensional, were refined in their make-up with all the different components complimenting each other harmoniously. Since almost all the dishes tasted delicious, the gap between the good and the 'stand-out' was very minimal. However, a few dishes do deserve a special mentioning.
First and foremost is the Alaskan King Crab Cannelloni. This dish indeed tasted as good as it looked!! Next came the Cabernet-Poached Foie Gras. This was highly recommended by our server even though I have already chosen the Squab and Foie Gras as my main course. Great choice! Beautifully executed, this was one of the tastiest Foie Gras dish I have eaten outside of France. Last but not least was the Squab and Foie Gras combo. The breast meat sandwiching the Foie was pink, juicy and moist and the accompanying sauce was heavenly. Pity I did not ask my server to 'pour' it on!
Some of you must be surprised to see the signature 'Sturgeon and Sauerkraut Tart' being left out from the 'honor' list?! Though pretty tasty and unique, however, we all found the creamy mousseline to be a bit too heavy and overwhelming. Another time, when less full, our opinion might be totally different?
Based on the 'whole package of food, wine, service, ambiance', our dining experience, compared to Jean Georges' lunch was a hands down winner. At 25% less, it was also a steal!!!
We all believe 'The Modern' is an establishment that deserve one more Michelin Star!!!