Friday, January 8, 2010

MoMA Thursday Nights

For the first time ever, I guess, MoMA tried opening until fairly late on Thursday evening. With MoMA you never quite know how late, as they are very liberal with their closing policies. When we left at 8:30 last night, the place was still jumping. In addition to the usual exhibits, there was live music, a cash bar, and a prixe fixe dinner in the much acclaimed CAFE 2. The theory is that a museum isn't just a place to view art any more; it needs to provide a total experience. This includes being a place to meet new friends, get a bit tipsy together, and enjoy the latest music.

We chose to try the Prixe Fixe dinner in the the always delicious and usually efficient Cafe 2. The dinner was 3 courses with two choices for each course. We decided to sample everything, so Karen had the lobster salad, the codcakes, and the chocolate tart with Vanilla gelato. I had the goat cheese salad, the lamb, and the bread pudding. Overall, the food was good but not quite up to Cafe 2's very high standards. The funny and frustrating part about the dinner was the manner in which it was served

After a short wait, I had the excellent goat cheese salad; no word on Karen's lobster. Together we ate the goat cheese salad, but Karen held back a little in anticipation of her own lobster confection. We finished the goat cheese salad, ate a few olives, still no lobster. Finally, it arrived, but it was the low point of the evening - unacceptably rubbery. A good 15 or 20 minutes later, Karen's codcakes were dropped off. Very nice. Once again, we ate this course together as my lamb was nowhere in sight. We finished the cod, but, naturally, I tried to show restraint, assuming my lamb would come by soon and knowing that Karen didn't care much for lamb anyway. Still no lamb. The next thing that appeared was the chocolate tart with the most delicious vanilla gelato we've ever had. At this point, Karen expressed her frustration that I still hadn't received an entree, even as she eagerly accepted the tart. At this point, the hostess was pitching in with service, as everyone agreed, including a couple of waiters, what a fiasco for everyone the service of the prixe fixe had become. She promised to deliver the lamb, and it did come by just a couple of minutes later. The lamb was cooked just right and had some good spices, but was just a trifle bland. In the meantime, Karen was digging into her tart with relish and especially singing the praises of the gelato. I occasionally reached over to complement my lamb with the essence of vanilla.

Before I was even finished with my lamb, the bread pudding came by, and it, too, was quite nice. As the bread pudding arrived, Karen asked for more vanilla gelato, which the hostess brought with an irresistible smile and an apology. She also served us really delicious coffee we had not ordered and did not pay for. In some ways, a disappointing evening, as we expect, well, perfection from MoMA, but overall it was a blast. Of course, these delays didn't leave a lot of time to see art, but we did cast an eye over Monet's late Water Lillies, which we can't seem to get enough of and which will be leaving MoMA soon, a few Pollocks, and some great Giacometti sculptures. We walked back to the subway quite happy, dreaming of vanilla gelato and goat cheese croutons.

1 comment:

  1. First Thursday's are an institution at the San Diego's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the downtown branch, not La Jolla. They're called TNT (Thurs nite thing) and a fun and eclectic affairs with curator tours, food, drink, music and occasional lagniappe's like the wonderful and spontaneously produced wearable balloon art at a recent gathering. We've participated in crowd collage and making jam from fruit gleaned from random backyard trees by the artists. It ain't MOMA, but whenever art draws a crowd, I'm happy.