Monday, June 05, 2006

Modern Dining

This Saturday, in hopes of killing 2 cultural birds with one stone, I decided to lunch at The Modern, the contemporary chic cafe next to the MoMa (Yes, I lunch. Don't you?) This was my only visit to the MoMa since it moved from Queens a couple years ago. (Who am I kidding, I've never been pre or post Queens. Yes, I know this is embarassing.)

Unfortunately my aspirations to nibble on bibb lettuce while enjoying a Miro, Magritte or Monet were not fulfilled. Instead, the museum security told us the restaurant was actually 3 buildings down on the next street. Ok...Once we got there, soaked to the bone by the belligerent downpour, I was greeted by a sprawling, thoroughly modern restaurant- void of any art. The only piece of aesthetic eye candy was a large photographed image of a lush green forest on what appeared to be plexiglass. A famed artist no doubt, but Monet, it was not.

We were seated in a Danish-designed Bar Room (think Ikea, really really expensive Ikea) behind a frosted glass divider that prohibited any serene view of the Sculpture Garden that the completely empty Main Dining Room enjoyed. Instead we had a view of the bar (the biggest I've seen), making it impossible to decipher if we were in mid-town Manhattan or in a terminal at O'Hare International. Arriving at noon on the dot, we were practically the only ones in the restaurant, which was nice since we got our tuna tartare, foie gras and crispy tuna at a prompt but not too fast pace. Slowly the room filled to a a bland and boring crowd of mostly elder and in-the-know tourists, with the occasional well to do family having their weekend brunch. Not exactly true to my expectations of devout art fanatics and chic curators.

Leaving mildly satisfied with a good meal and good conversation, I'd have to say I wouldn't make a second trip unless I was booked for the Dining Room.

Final Word: A strange decision for a design that keeps the restaurant and the museum completely 2 separate entities, I wish they would have made some connection to the gorgeous treasure of art a few doors down. Guess I'll be going to that exhibit...


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