Raising the Bar: Kicking it at The Modern Bar Room

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[Photos: Tia Kim]

The Bar Room at The Modern is not somewhere I would normally go apart from special occasions. But this weekend, I was having quality mother-daughter time and I couldn't take my mom to just any ratty old bar. After all the torment I put her through during my horrible teen years, by God, it was about time I bought her a drink. And since I was quite a difficult child, I also ordered her up a plate of Beer-Braised Pork Belly ($17). Trust me, she deserved it.

The Beer-Braised Pork Belly, served with sauerkraut and ginger jus, is everything you hope pork will taste like each time you order a pork dish. The skin was salty and crunchy on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth juicy and tender in the middle. In the summer, the pork belly comes with a sweet pea purée, but now that the cold is upon us, sauerkraut takes its place, making the plate feel more wintry while providing sharpness to counter the luxurious fattiness.

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The plates are small at the Bar Room, so be prepared to order a few dishes. Besides the pork belly, our other favorite was the Slow-Poached Farm Egg "In a Jar" with Maine lobster, salsify, and sea urchin froth ($20). Unlike the rich pork belly, the farm egg was subdued and delicate, much like the presentation. The lobster and the egg were both perfectly poached and the sea urchin froth just hinted of the sea without submerging you into the ocean.

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As I said, my mom deserved a drink, so I ordered her a Hinny Kick ($13). Made with Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka, lime, jalapeño, ginger beer, and garnished with a piece of candied ginger, the cocktail was fruity, bubbly, and had a tiny kick from the jalapeño and ginger. While a little strong with the farm egg, it paired nicely with the heavier pork belly, especially since it came with the ginger jus.

If The Bar at the Modern weren't so pricey, I could see it being one of my regular haunts—but as it is, I'll reserve it for special occasions or the next time I want to kick it with mom. On this decision, my mother approves.

The Modern - Bar Room

The Museum of Modern Art 9 West 53rd Street, New York NY 10019 (b/n 5th and 6th Ave; map) 212-333-1220
themodernnyc.com