Duck Confit

by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 10, 2006

9 W 53rd St
(5th & 6th Aves)
New York, NY 10019

I love having drinks and light bites at restaurant bars. I think I’ve said this a million times. The Modern has a generous portion of its space carved out as the Bar Room at The Modern. Even still, it’s always packed. The Neue Galerie started the trend of good museum restaurants with Kurt Gutenbrunner’s Café Sabarsky. MoMA followed suit by teaming up with restaurateur Danny Meyer and asking him to take charge of all the café and restaurant food in the museum when it reopened in late 2004. The Modern’s restaurant opened in January 2005 and was selected “Best New Restaurant” at the 2006 James Beard Foundation Awards. Since I didn’t have a detailed recollection of my last visit to The Modern, I popped by for drinks the day after the awards to refresh my memory.

A couple of things I did remember: There is a great wine-by-the-glass selection, and the tables and seats are modern and trendy but not entirely functional. The tables are too small for dining, and I mean just casual dining. My friend and I resorted to putting some of our food on the chaise longue we were sitting on. The service is a bit spotty, as it was sometimes hard to get anyone’s attention, and we got little assistance when too many dishes were piled up on our table.

But let’s move on to the good stuff — the food. The duck confit is perfect. The meat is succulent, sliding right off the bone, and the skin is cooked to a light crisp. Given my dietary habits, it’s no wonder that I love duck confit — anything cooked in its own fat sealing it in to give the meat a juicy, tender richness is right up my alley. The duck confit is accompanied by pommes lyonnaises and a tiny frisée salad with balsamic vinegar. The potatoes are deep-fried and cut into quarter-inch pieces that were a little bland for my taste. I was hoping that the potatoes would be as tasty as the duck, but they were more of an unobtrusive side.

I honestly don’t remember much of anything else I tried, perhaps because I was so happy with the duck confit. (Although I do recall that I have now twice ordered the poached egg with cockles served with Serrano ham and a garlic-almond sauce, because it sounds so great, and was disappointed both times.) I would gladly stop by for some duck confit and wine anytime after viewing an exhibit or film next door. What a supremely enriching way to spend some time, both culturally and culinarily.

Also in Duck, French, Meat, Midtown West

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