9 W. 53rd St.
Considering its location, the Modern was bound to attract the requisite busloadsof stampeding tourists and fatigued museum-goers. And considering its provenance-Danny Meyer & Co., bolstered by a crème dela crème team skimmed from the upper culinary and management echelons of JeanGeorges, Ducasse, and Bouley-it was equally destined to become a mecca forfoodies. But once the opening buzz dies down, the Modern will belong to its mostgrateful and desperate constituency: jaded prisoners of midtown Manhattan,hungry as hell, armed with expense accounts, and nowhere to go. Following theGramercy Tavern model, Meyer has divided the Modern into two restaurants, andkeeps one of them-the casual front Bar Room, with its long bar and chiclounge-open all day. The main dining room won’t start serving lunch until nextmonth, but chef Gabriel Kreuther’s Alsatian-accented Bar Room menu is moreattuned to the improvisational rhythms and appetites of office life.Mix-and-match small plates like grilled shrimp with green-cabbage-and-Gruyèresalad, and horseradish-crusted wild salmon with cabbage and Riesling manage tobe both rustic and refined. The setting is sleek and modern, and so are theplace settings, which celebrate Danish design and give the cultivated crowdsomething else to chew on.