One of the pleasures of visiting Manhattan is its diverse restaurants. Since we enjoy good food (I know what I mean by “good” may be a little different from some people) we visited The Modern restaurant adjacent to (more like within the structure of) the Museum of Modern Art. Since I remembered this lovely restaurant from a prior visit, I wanted to have dinner in The Modern. My husband was initially reluctant to go there because “it’s a museum restaurant,” but he was persuaded to have dinner there when we discovered that it received a Michelin star.
The dinner there was superb. First of all the ambience was wonderful. Our table was immediately next to the sculpture garden of MOMA which was only separated by a view-glass window, thus allowing us ample time to appreciate the art works, such as Rodin’s Balzac and Henry Moore’s Mother and Child, as well as people sitting in the garden. The staff was wonderful, with their cordial attentiveness. Since it was a special occasion (at most, once-a-year visit to Manhattan) we ordered a full tasting course (though my husband who does not care for risotto did not order “black truffle risotto”).
The tasting course menu started with caviar, chicken’s egg and dill sauce, a delicate mix of black, yellow and green. It was followed by red tuna tartar with mustard seed and chopped green onion. The foie gras was served as a tart with cherry sauce. And then the highlight of the menu, which my husband also acknowledged as the highlight, risotto with black truffle, followed. Initially the plate of risotto was served and one of the special staff to serve truffle shaved a rounded black truffle over the risotto. I shared some of the cream-colored risotto with shaved truffle with my husband, who very much appreciated the truffle with risotto. This delicious dish was followed by cod with French beans and petite potatoes, and then by beef with more truffle, white leek puree, dark-brown bone-marrow sauce, and blue-cheese stuffed tomato. The desserts were rhubarb sorbet with puff pastry, and chocolate ice cream and vanilla mouse with ganache. The whole dinner was very pleasant and delicious. Nothing in the menu was out of ordinary like some elaborate dishes with artistic flare in some Michelin starred restaurants, but I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the dishes in the tasting menu.
In Yukio Mishima’s novel After the Banquet the author detailed the kimono worn by the heroine as well as the menus of banquet dinners at the Japanese restaurant owned and managed by her to help the reader imagine the full aesthetic pleasure that such a restaurant offers to its guests. In our postmodern world where the border between craftsmanship and artistry is obliterated, and where transient art forms prevail, reflecting upon the ephemeral nature of our contemporary life, culinary art is a bona fide art form. It offered me an added pleasure to recollect the wonderful dinner at The Modern.