Well, we investigated a waterfront just right, and I alluded to another lunch report from another venue, which may or may not belong to the JR list. I have a good friend with an educated palate, who gets around a lot. She was in NYC recently with her husband and had lunch at a Michelin (two) starred restaurant called “ the Modern” which received that second star.
I think I’ve said before that “just right” places don’t have to be informal bars, waterfronts, dives, etc., but the same criteria for JR applies to a Michelin starred place as well. Does it live up to expectations? Does the food, service and décor fit with a restaurant rated among the best in the world. So what would we expect from a two star? I’m sure I could go find out the official Michelin criteria, but off the top of my head, it would be something like exquisite food, beautiful presentation, impeccable service, and NO flaws.
From their website, Modern describes itself as:
The Modern, overlooking MoMA's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, features Chef Abram Bissell's refined, contemporary cooking in a beautifully bright and airy setting. The ever-evolving, seasonal menu is complemented by desserts from Pastry Chef Jiho Kim and an award-winning wine program led by Michaël Engelmann, Master Sommelier. The Modern holds two Michelin stars, a Three Star review in the New York Times, and four James Beard Awards. The Modern welcomes reservations up to 28 days in advance.
My friend sent five pictures, so before I give comments, let’s just go through the meal with her remarks. Not sure of the order but assume that the Amuse Bouche came first:
“A tomato tart with indescribably “Stuff” sprinkled on top. The crust was very tough”
Maybe next was a “cauliflower soup”
Then perhaps the “chopped carrots”
“This was a really good dish consisting of carrots & cheese & other things on rye toast”.
Then a couple of seafood based dishes:
“3 pitiful scallops with 2 sliced carrots & some ravioli with 2 little white onion skins. The sauce was lobster bisque.”
“Two fried lobster things, each thing was two bites”
Beside the carrots, she didn’t include any remarks about the quality of the food, just that:
"Portions were tiny, prices were huge, and there is no tipping as the tip has been included now in the price of the food. one iced tea ($7), three appetizers & one entree, no alcohol & no dessert and the bill was just under $100"
She divulged the (pitiful) scallops were $33 for instance.
It is always hazardous to judge food from a picture, it is darn hard to make something look appetizing without that third dimension or having the benefit of taste. My knee jerk reactions:
Tomato Tart: crust does in fact look not delicate, and what IS that stuff?
Cauliflower Soup: IMHO it should have not left the kitchen with those two dabs of stuff on the left.
Chopped carrots: again the picture may not do it justice, but looks kind of “gloppy” and scary to me, but apparently was very tasty
Scallops: look okay
Lobster (things): would be interesting to see the interior, they do indeed look like “things”. And personal opinion, I would not like the long stems on the parsley to remain. What’s the first thing you would do? Remove them. And another personal opinion, I don’t like bits on the edge of my plate..
So what does one think? Obviously they were not rapturous about their experience ("never again"). Thirty three bucks for three scallops does seem extravagant. Granted, the tip has been included, so maybe knock it down by (?)25% and you still have about eight bucks a scallop. Which begs the question do they get these prices because they can? Or does in fact the roll up of ingredients, prep (sauces, etc.,) overhead, and the labor of putting it on the plate generate those prices? Certainly one expects to pay a premium for a two star dining experience, but I really don’t know where the line is.. interesting thoughts.
Another loyal reader is in Spain, and has sent in a couple of pictures. When thinking of Spanish cuisine, what leaps to mind?
Of course: Tapas and Paella
And then there’s always vino which looks like a tasting experience
Spain and its food holds a dear place in my culinary heart, hearkening back to my two month stay when I was helping the Spanish Air Force with flutter testing… ahhhhh…..memories, memories, paradors'''
Apparently Inn at Little Washington has garnered another star, elevating it to two stars as well.. A visit is twirling around in our heads for the 75th birthday(s) celebration.. Heart catheterization doesn’t seem appropriate.. stay tuned.
LaRive Breton has finally opened (four months overdue!) in Leonardtown.. another visit is being planned (although a Feeder evaluation should wait for a time to get the training wheels off). Early reports are positive. Interesting menu if you want to go to their website and look..
ps thanks to readers who ramble for sharing..