Edible Art: MoMA's "The Modern" [A Review]

Artful. Inspirational. Memorable.

The Experience

Surrounded by sublime beauty, allowing one’s imagination to be stretched to a realm far beyond the ordinary, room after room and alcove after alcove of awe-inspiring sights, one can’t help but feel highly superior yet humbled all at the same time. That is precisely the complex reaction the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (MoMA) arouses in me every time I visit.

It’s inspirational. It’s fulfilling. It excites the senses, and it humbles. And what better place to have an experience of art in food — the edible kind of art — other than MoMa’s very own restaurant — a Union Square Hospitality Group concept — The Modern

The Modern overlooks the Museum’s gorgeous sculpture garden, a perfect setting to offer a transcendental experience.

I had a three-course lunch at The Modern and I cannot wait to go back for dinner soon!

The Taste

Under the dynamic leadership of chef Gabriel Kreuther and pastry chef Marc Aumont, each dish that comes out of this kitchen is indeed a work of art. Every dish met — nay, exceeded — my expectations, in flavors and in textures. At The Modern, you should eat with your eyes first. The tableside service and presentation is simply mesmerizing.

Each component was expertly and flawlessly prepared. The moment the amuse-bouche of Smoked Sturgeon Caviar in Pea Puree arrived at my table with dollops of sturgeon custard in two different consistencies (super creamy and slightly textured), I was in heaven. This perfectly seasoned bowl was a great start to the meal.

The first course was Roasted Foie Gras and Diver Scallop, seasoned with sage and flavored with passion fruit. The foie gras as well as the scallop offered melt-in-your-mouth consistency with just the perfect sear on top for added texture and flavor. The passion fruit brightened and balanced the creamy and fatty textures of the foie gras. The fruit seeds created the most addictive textural contrast. And the colors — ah, the colors!

The main course of Herb-Roasted Beef with Short Rib Tortellini and Black Truffle was incredibly tender and juicy with ever-so-delicate and irresistible crust. There were light and crunchy fried bitter greens on the plate that were addicting. I was so sure that the short ribs must be cooked sous-vide to this level of perfection, but the server told me it was a result of painstaking, slow-cooking in the oven over a period of hours. Simply sublime.

And then there was the dessert. The stunning presentation of Caramel Parfait with Mango Ravioli, Coconut Tapioca and Ten Flavor Sorbet blew me away. It took me a while to stop taking pictures of this beauty and take my first bite. It was so artful and creative to look at, while the flavors and textures excited my palate. It was indeed a great end to a perfect meal.

The Choices

The Modern offers two very distinct experiences. A casual bar room offers small plates of rustic, Alsatian cuisine, while the main dining room offers a fine dining experience with a multi-course tasting menu. The tasting menu in the main dining room offers a prix-fixe, three- or four-course option for lunch. There is a tasting menu or a paired menu for dinner.