Friday, April 13, 2007

A Perfect Lunch

The perfect restaurant meal for me is one where both the food and the experience go way beyond everything I anticipated when I made the reservation. That, happily, was the case the other day at the bar at The Modern, one of Danny Meyer’s restaurants located in the Museum of Modern Art.

I’ve had been craving their Tarte Flambée, an Alsatian pizza made with cream fraiche, onions, and bacon on a very thin crust. They make it perfectly, better than anyone else. I love eating at the bar at The Modern because it is more casual than the dining room and is great for people watching. It’s also more reasonably priced. The scale of the room really makes you feel as if you are on the set of an old Woody Allen movie; everything and everyone looks quintessential New York, even the tourists.

The chef at the Modern, Gabriel Kreuther, is from Alsace as is Stephane Colling, the wine director. The menu is influenced by Alsace and the wine list is superb.

We started with their liverwurst, which is made with black truffles and served with four pickled vegetables. I asked Stephane to choose a wine for us and he selected the 2004 Albert Seltz Pinot Blanc Reserve which is not on the bar list. He told me that this was a small production wine made by an eccentric producer. Because Alsatian food is so rich you need a great clean wine with enough acidity to balance the food. And what a match this was! The wine had notes of honey, orange peel and a slight finish of chestnuts, and to me it was a magical, velvety, creamy pairing with the liverwurst. Best of all, it wasn’t expensive.

Next we had the Tarte Flambe which was perfection and went perfectly with the wine. The first bite had that fabulous sour taste of the cream fraiche, the onions were perfectly cooked and sweet, the tiny julienned bacon was rich and salty and the crust was thin, crisp, and not soggy. It is that sweet and sour thing that has to happen if you want a perfect Tarte Flambée, and The Modern gets it right.

I want to keep going back and having the same thing for lunch. I’m a creature of habit, and yet there are so many other amazing dishes on the menu that I am going to have to break down and try them all

The Bar at The Modern
9 west 53rd Street
New York, New York 10019


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