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Jul 16, 2010 08:40 AM

The Bar Room at The Modern - ordering strategy?

Got a reservation for The Bar Room for Restaurant Week. What are the must-orders? What are the dishes to stay away from either because of mediocre flavors or ridiculously tiny portions? Taking a look at their $35 restaurant week menu, I just realized you only save about $13 per person given the prices for the first course range from $12-18 on the regular menu, $17-28 for the second course, and $9-12 for dessert. So what is the best ordering strategy to maximize taste, value, and fullness?

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  1. The tarte flambée is large and filling. Duck breast is delicious but on the smaller side, as is the wild mushroom soup. Tuna tartare is delicious but one of the lighter dishes as are any of their soup/salad dishes typically. As is the lamb and goat cheese terrine but I think they bring you extra bread, so I don't know if you're counting bread into the equation.

    For seconds, we've enjoyed the tagliatelle with rabbit and mushrooms, the salmon, the tuna, pork belly, and steak. They don't skimp on portion size here but if you're worried about value, I'd go for one of the proteins, perhaps a fish dish.

    For dessert, because the beignets aren't on the menu, I'd go to the cheesecake (which was perfect last time I had it) or the chocolate dome.

    I actually think two savories and one dessert is the perfect amount of food. Honestly, I've always had good meals there. During RW and during the rest of the year. Go onto Flickr and search for the "Bar Room Modern" and "Restaurant Week" you'll see that they don't downscale portion size for RW.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      That egg-in-a-jar dish is one-of-a-kind good.

      1. re: RCC

        The egg in a jar is excellent but not on the Restaurant Week menu.

        1. re: kathryn

          True, egg-jar dish is not in the RW menu. However, given that the OP did the math between RW and non-RW and is asking for best ordering strategy between the 2 menus, I recommended an excellent dish in case OP decides to do non-RW menu. Besides, I'm not in favor of RW menu simply because the portions left me hungry the last couple of times, and we ended up ordering a dish off of the regular menu to compensate.

      2. re: kathryn

        I've only had it once, but based on that experience, I'd describe the tarte flambee as large and mediocre. The desserts here area all above board.

      3. I would skip the cod (ridiculously tiny), but everything else is reasonably portioned and delicious. If you're a hearty eater, I would share a salad and the tarte flambee, which is substantial, then order as you please. The chocolate dome, currently flavored with pistachio, is amazing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fm1963

          I liked the saffron pasta, and although it looked sort of small, it was filling.

        2. My "must eats" include the tuna tartare and the hazelnut dacquiose dessert. Fabulous!

          1. Everyone seems to love the Saffron Tagliatelle, but I'm a bit concerned about ordering a pasta for an entree. Any thoughts on the Colorado Lamb Saddle? I'm a sucker for anything with pancetta. The Duck Confit a lOrange also seems to be recommended although I don't know how unique it would be.

            Can't decide on the first course. I like Tarte Flambees but it seems a bit generic, although I could also say the same for the Tuna Tarte and Steak Tartare.

            Also, do you know if they could do anything special if it's a birthday dinner? Not sure if they can provide a candle or something.

            I would also appreciate recommendations for wine. Do they offer wine pairings? I noticed they had a $24 bottle of zinfandel so I'm leaning towards that given that the cheapest glass of red is already $10.

            4 Replies
            1. re: krystle920

              I enjoyed the Tuna Tarte. The textures make it a bit more unique than your average dish. They were out of steak tartare the night I visited.

              This may sound unconventional, but if either of you is an ice cream lover, I actually ordered their trio for dessert and it was delicious! It was a warm night and I just wasn't in the mood for something too heavy. I was really glad I went for that! There's also a fromage blanc sorbet that may be my favorite flavor ever.

              1. re: krystle920

                Last year, when we did RW at The Bar Room, they had a special wine list of terrific value wines at under $30 (or $40) per, Being that it was summer, we stuck with the whites, and I remember ordering a nice and refreshing bottle of an Austrian Gruner Veltliner for under $30 which we polished off as aperitif and with our first course, plus another bottle of a California Sauvignon Blanc with the rest of the meal. Pretty good wine values in a pretty good restaurant.

                1. re: krystle920

                  I wasn't totally impressed with my RW dinner there last year, but I did like the tagliatelle with rabbit quite a bit.

                  Tarte flambee, while big and delicious enough, wasn't anything special. Too simply flavored for me, and Trader Joe's has a decent version if you have a hankering for it.

                  Their desserts were absolute highlights for me. Do they have the strawberry soup on the RW menu this year? That dessert blew me away as well as their chocolate dessert - I forget which one - we've gone back JUST for desserts since. They must have an excellent pastry chef.

                  Trader Joe's
                  142 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: uwsister

                    went there on Friday for RW. Overall, a good experience, service wasnt up to par.
                    Had the tarte flambee as well, I agree that it wasnt anything special. I just call it the frenchie pizza.

                    other than that, it was a good meal, the sweetbreads were good and the desserts were awesome. Mos def one of the better RW options.