The last couple of years have been particularly exciting as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan embarked upon a $400 million expansion plan, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and boosted by a $100 million donation from billionaire David Geffen. The museum’s expansion includes the addition of four new galleries, a larger main lobby, a revamped gift shop, and a renovated kitchen and restaurant for The Modern, MoMA’s contemporary American fine-dining option.
When the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) opened The Modern at MoMA, its goals were simple: to be pioneers in defining what fine dining can be, and have its level and quality of service be on par with the amazing surroundings of a world-famous museum, designing a warm, personalized experience for each guest. The mission remains the same today, as the restaurant celebrates its new kitchen and chef, Abram Bissell.
“Since we first opened our doors over a decade ago, the fine dining landscape has drastically changed,” said Simon King, the restaurant’s General Manager. “As the industry evolves, we strive to continuously refine our approach and add to the dialogue. Both Abram and I strongly believe that now, more than ever, each experience should be tailored individually to each guest. The renovations were a step forward in that direction, allowing us to push ourselves to create a fun and stimulating environment for our guests, one that consistently surprises.”
As Executive Chef, USHG felt it was important for Bissell to take steps to make the kitchen his own – to create a kitchen that reflected his style of cooking and leadership. “However, our philosophy is grounded in collaboration — from Abram’s senior culinary staff, to the Modern management and the USHG senior executive team. Everyone’s expertise added value to the result and that is something we all now take great pride in,” King continued.
The new kitchen was designed to create a space that would functionally allow Abram and the culinary team to take the food to the next level, and also be the centerpiece of the restaurant, always with the guest in mind.
“We needed the right solution to be able to evolve from what had been two separate kitchens,” Bissell explained. “We had one to handle a la carte and one to handle banquets and events. With a move to a single kitchen that could flow and flex to handle all of our needs, Jade gave us that solution. I challenged them to give us the specialty features that I knew our team needed. I wanted a monolithic cooking surface and touches like one piece heavy duty door handles. Jade was able to get me all of that and more. We couldn’t be happier with our new Jade suite and cooking line and our customers are too!” Bissell concluded.
“With the Kitchen Table and the new kitchen, there’s more opportunity to experiment with the menu in this setting,” King added. “At the Kitchen Table, menus are curated to each guests’ preferences. For example, the Kitchen Table has only four seats, so we’re able to source specialty ingredients that are otherwise challenging to order in large quantities, like a single fish or very special cut of meat.”
The new kitchen also allows Pastry Chef Jiho and his team to bake all the restaurant’s bread in- house. “Jiho has a vast imagination on his own, which is why he and Abram work so well together, challenging one another creatively,” noted King. “The Kitchen Table also creates more opportunities and pushes the entire culinary team to constantly be creative.”
Wine is another important part of the restaurant experience. Michael Engelmann has composed a new wine list with a depth of new world wines and makes a point to introduce guests to new bottles and regions.
“For an exclusive dining experience, the Modern is it,” concluded King.
To learn more about visiting The Modern at MoMA, visit their website.