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Oct 18, 2011 08:20 AM

Review of 2 day Trip - Modern Bar Room, Locanda Verde and Babbo

Just got back from our mini vacation in NYC and wanted to thank all who helped us plan!

Saturday - got in just after lunch, we ended up grabbing some pastries at Balthazar and walked around - the sticky buns were tasty

Dinner at Modern Bar Room - I think we expected too much after the praise this place gets around here. Overall it was good experience, just not great, both in terms of service and food - here's what we had:

Tarte Flambee - it's a french pizza and it's big, one person could have this and dessert and be done for the night.
Liverwurst - same feeling as the Tarte Flambee, too much food. both of these dishes would be perfect for sharing amongst 4 people - but too much for just the 2 of us.
Alsatian Country Soup - this was delicious! it was unexpectedly thick and chunky and i just wanted more.
Long Island Duck - pretty good, we finished just about all of the dipping sauce.
Pork Belly - loved this, skin was super crispy. Could have did without the grated turnips though.
Beignets - very light and airy, another fairly large order, but we finished them real quick!


Brunch at Locanda Verde - great vibe, would love to come back for dinner, anyway we weren't super hungry so we order (somewhat light):

Sheep's milk ricotta - lives up to the hype, so simple but so good.
Uova modenese - their version of eggs benedict, couldn't stop eating the hash
- wanted to grab some olive oil coffee cake on the way out, but wifey stopped me because she wanted to go back to balthazar for more sticky buns (we got there and they were out!)

Dinner at Babbo - we had 730 reservations and we got out of the subway at around 720 and ended up lost. We didn't get to the restaurant until about 745 - although we did end up getting directions from Rick Moranis! When we finally got there, we were expecting them to tell us they had given our table away, but they were very gracious and said that our table wasn't quite ready yet. WE didn't get seated until just after 8:15pm. Anyway, we were pretty set on ordering 1 antipasti, 3 pastas and 1 secondi until the manager told us that was too much food, very glad we listed to him. Onto the food:

Bread - the bread sucks here and they don't give you butter or olive oil
Octopus - really amazing, very meaty, almost lobster like texture, i've never had it like this before. we were definitely craving more.
black spaghetti with calabrese and shrimp - this was our favourite dish of the trip. everything was perfect about it, al dente, just spicy enough, crunchy, we oohed and ahhed over this the entire night. anything following this was going to be a let down.
goose liver ravioli - not as rich as i thought it'd be, but also delicious, just not as the dish above.
pork chop - it was massive but juicy and tender, but it was the best pork chop i've ever had.
warm apple and fig budino - not much of a pudding, more like coffee cake, it was only ok, wouldn't order it again.

and that's it - can't wait to come back!

110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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  1. I'm glad you enjoyed the Alsatian Country Soup at The Modern. It's not nearly well-known like the Duck Breast and the Beignets, but is one of my favorite dishes there. I think the reason the Duck Breast is so well-loved is exactly because of the dipping sauce. The sauce is delectable. I still haven't tried the Pork Belly yet, your report reminded me that I need to try it soon.

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: Cheeryvisage

      Oh yeah, I absolutely love that dipping sauce for the duck breast. I could eat it by spoonful! I feel the same way about the Bar Room at the Modern as the OP. Hit or miss, mostly hits but certainly not as great as its glowing Chow rep suggests, but their desserts are indeed fabulous - including those beignets.

      I didn't care for Locanda Verde's olive oil cake - and I love olive oil cakes! You didn't miss much.

      1. re: uwsister

        I've eaten at the Bar Room at the Modern many times and I've rarely had a bad dish there. It's not clear what the OP specifically is objecting to. Two dishes seem to have been too large, and in one the grated turnips seem to have grated.

        1. re: FoodDabbler

          "Grated turnips seem to have grated" - LOL! Sorry, couldn't help it - I'm a dork.

          To each his/her own. I think the OP and I agree that the Bar Room at the Modern is merely "good" as opposed to "great" - which is not to say the place is bad, of course.

          1. re: FoodDabbler

            It is amusing to me that OP started a thread in which there were questions about portion size and the resulting meal was too much food. In the thread also at least two posters said the tarte flambe was huge and also not their favorite item on the menu.

      2. the black pasta at babbo is divine.