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The Modern Bar Room - portions

liger Sep 23, 2011 08:44 AM

Are there certain dishes that are more just tastes and others that are closer to entree size?


The Modern
9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

  1. buttertart Apr 7, 2012 08:20 AM

    Had a lovely lunch at the Modern Bar Room yesterday: a borscht (pureed) with a horseradish flan, toasted hazelnuts, pickled golden beets and shaved Parmesan (and a leaf of chervil, love that stuff) and skate on cheesy grits with fried rock shrimp, broccoli raab and browned butter vinaigrette for me.

    A lamb and goat cheese terrine with watercress salad and jus and veal ravioli with smoked sweetbreads and some mushroom I never heard of for him.

    Then a pistachio dome (pistachio and chocolate mousses in a half-spherical shape, with chocolate génoise,) shards of excellent choc, terrific pistachio ice cream on a bed of a crumble-y / praline-y thing, and little cubes of Sauternes gelée.

    Found the portions to be just right. I could not have eaten a third course after the skate.

    A nice bottle of Macon-Villages and a glass of a Burgundy pinot noir for M to go with his ravioli (wine list is v interesting but most wines are v expensive). Excellent coffee and bread.

    It's awfully noisy in there but the food is killer.

    1. k
      k52 Feb 5, 2012 10:52 AM

      we are all for americans enjoying reasonable portions, especially when the food is
      wonderful. however, our visit last night reflected neither option.

      three of us, all new yorkers, decided to revisit the modern bar room. our table was
      not ready at the time of our reservations and we're offered a seat at the bar...we
      declined and were seated for sometime at the small cocktail tables and waited.

      finally lead to our seats, we chose a lovely white wine by the bottle. it was
      good, nothing special...but the list leans toward the pretentiously expensive.

      we were disappointed with the menu choices as most contained meat,
      no fresh greens at all...and when the waitress suggested
      that perhaps some "sides" might fulfill any vegetarian need...i look at her questioning
      because the menu does not have "sides"...and the few options without meat were not particularly enticing.
      i chose the shrimp...which was terrible, totally overcooked, no taste with a watery accompaniment of shredded cabbage. my companions chose tuna tarte...another tasteless
      waste. the salmon filet was not terrible but basically two bites...over a disgusting looking foam...cod over leek cake deep fried in a a light pastry shell was the only edible dish and definitely an appetizer size portion.

      the noisy dining room was packed at 7pm...but half empty at 8:15...and still that way at 9pm...
      perhaps a telling sign for a saturday evening.

      all in all an expensive, pretentious waste of time in a city with far better choices.

      grossly disappointed. won't go back.

      The Modern
      9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

      5 Replies
      1. re: k52
        RGR Feb 5, 2012 01:59 PM

        Did you not know what the Bar Room's menu was like before you went? If so, then you can't blame them for the menu not being to your liking. Also, they make no secret of the fact that portions range from tasting size to larger plates. It appears you didn't take that into consideration when you ordered. We've never had anything but delicious food in the Bar Room. I am sorry you had such a disappointing experience.


        1. re: RGR
          Cheeryvisage Feb 5, 2012 02:18 PM

          Yeah, agree with RGR. Also, I'm surprised that the food you had were so disappointing. Perhaps they had an off night? Even though the portions are generally smaller, I've always been satisfied with two courses plus one dessert, and I have a very healthy appetite. Sorry about your bad experience.

          I also happened to have lunch there just today and had a great meal as always. Photos of my lunch: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjyxpX4X

          1. re: Cheeryvisage
            k52 Feb 5, 2012 04:28 PM

            not the first visit...had eaten there before but not in the last year...had foie gras, duck, quail...other dishes...delicious. this time they seemed to have delayed our seating to encourage us to order at the bar first....then really, mostly terrible food....there is NO excuse for this at any price! you're right...i did not review the menu before going this time...but felt it hardly necessary based on prior visits...and reputation of owners. think it's really gone down hill. waitress was not at all surprised at our negative comments...and the empty tables i mentioned on a saturday night? all in all just very pretentious. there are wonderful restaurants in this town....but this is NOT one of them. better to just give a donation to the museum and feel better about your visit!

        2. re: k52
          uhockey Feb 6, 2012 08:40 AM

          ....reads like "our table wasn't ready and I allowed that to color the rest of my experience." Flatly said, there is no way they failed in that many dishes in a single night and if you were truly that unhappy I'd email the restaurant. A Danny Meyer restaurant that didn't seem surprised by a negative comment??


          1. re: k52
            City Kid Feb 6, 2012 09:33 AM

            Wow, can't imagine they would have such an off night there. I have eaten all of the dishes you mentioned, and others, and loved them all -- especially the tuna tarte. I would doubt it has changed in the year since you were there as I've been going over the course of several years and noticed no change. And the comment on the service really surprised me. Sorry you had such a bad experience.

          2. f
            FoodDabbler Oct 19, 2011 11:02 AM

            Thanks to kathryn for pointing me to this thread. I will repay by pointing to a post earlier this year in which I attempted a superficial One, Two, Three analysis: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7647... (See the bottom of that post.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: FoodDabbler
              Cheeryvisage Oct 19, 2011 11:19 AM

              Great analysis. I think it's spot on.

            2. Spiritchaser Sep 23, 2011 08:56 AM

              In the Bar Room the menu is broken up into 3 "sections", the menu states section 1 and 2 are what would be considered appetizer size and section 3 is considered entree size. In all our visits this has been a very accurate summation. I will say there are a couple things I've had from section 1 that were substantial, e.g. the liverwurst (which I really really recommend).

              4 Replies
              1. re: Spiritchaser
                Cheeryvisage Sep 23, 2011 09:04 AM

                Interesting. Though the Duck Breast (a most divine dish btw) is really a tiny portion, literally 3 slices of breast. Yet it's in section 3. The Pork Belly, also section 3, doesn't look that big either judging from pictures I've seen. Just thought the OP should be aware of this.

                1. re: Cheeryvisage
                  kathryn Sep 23, 2011 09:13 AM

                  I am with Cheeryvisage. The "one" "two" and "three" descriptions are a little misleading. IMO "three" just means "proteins."

                  There's nothing on there that is as small as "a taste" but there are items that are on the larger size. Maybe not entree size except for the tarte flambee?

                  The easiest thing to do is to ask your server for help and/or look for photos on Flickr.

                  1. re: kathryn
                    Alan Henderson Sep 23, 2011 10:38 AM

                    I find if I split the tarte flambee with someone even the smallest (the wonderful duck breast) of the items in section three leave me satisfied.

                    1. re: Alan Henderson
                      hungryinmanhattan Sep 23, 2011 07:16 PM

                      Call me crazy, but I believe the apps and desserts and larger portions than the "main dishes" and we have been there many times.I actually said the last time we went that we should just order 2 apps and a dessert the next time we went! I have never had the liverwurst. The tarte flambee was very big, but was never my favorite. I love the soups.

              2. Cheeryvisage Sep 23, 2011 08:52 AM

                Copy-pasted from my reply earlier today regarding The Modern Bar Room:

                Regarding the Bar Room, portion sizes really vary. I think the Duck Breast might be the smallest item from the 3 section. However, the Duck Confit is the size of a regular entree. The Tarte Flambee is also pretty large, pizza-size I hear. Though, my favorite dishes so far are Alsatian Soup, Squab, Duck Breast, and Beignets. To help you get an idea of portion sizes, I also have pictures of my meals at Bar Room here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheeryvi... . RGR has lots of pictures on the restaurant too (Bar and Dining Room). You should check her flickr out also.

                [...] Once, I only ordered the Squab and Beignets and were perfectly satisfied because the Beignets were huge-portioned.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Cheeryvisage
                  foodwhisperer Sep 23, 2011 06:51 PM

                  The tasting menu are all small dishes and all are very good. I'm not sure if the Bar Room is different from The Modern restaurant. Also if it is raining outside they give you a free umbrella

                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                    kathryn Sep 23, 2011 09:57 PM

                    The Bar Room has a completely separate menu from the Dining Room, and serves a la carte.

                  2. re: Cheeryvisage
                    Cheeryvisage Sep 23, 2011 07:04 PM

                    Just realized the link was broken. Here's the correct one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheeryvi...

                    1. re: Cheeryvisage
                      uwsister Sep 23, 2011 11:43 PM

                      I'm glad that this thread's been posted so we don't highjack the other thread anymore. Yeah, the tarte flambee is indeed huge (compared to other dishes there) but I'm not too crazy about it. I do think with most dishes at the Bar Room at the Modern, portions are rather small, and I've read a few other posters express the same sentiment. I mean, I so wish the duck breast dish was bigger - it's so delicious, and it's over in a few bites!

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