This is Margaret Rizzuto sharing a recent dining experience at Moderne Barn in Armonk.
We arrived on a busy Saturday evening after our GPS sent us the wrong way. Apparently, this is a common occurrence with GPS systems as they try to take you to Moderne Barn. If you decide to visit, instead of the actual address, it’s recommended that you input Moderne Barn at Cox Ave and that will get you to the right location and I can tell you, it’s a location you don’t want to miss.
As you step into the beautiful two story restaurant you are greeted by the sights and sounds of people engaged in cheerful conversation and a bustling atmosphere. The first thing to catch my eye was the beautiful floor to ceiling windows which spread across the entire front and back of the restaurant. Then there’s a wonderful walnut-barrel vaulted ceiling and a catwalk over the bar that houses the wines. The decor is an elegant yet simple mix of country, industrial and wonderful twinkling, modern glass chandeliers. The restaurant is spacious and though I’ve heard some people mention that some of the seating is too close, we did not have that experience at all.
Within just a few minutes of being seated a very affable waiter came by to welcome us to the restaurant and take our drink order. He was engaging and despite the busy-ness of the restaurant, did not seem at all rushed. He even made time to chat with my son about a comic he was reading. As a parent, this kind of engagement with my child, especially teenagers, is always appreciated. My husband ordered wine while my son and I sipped some sparkling water.
A foccacia and delicious walnut raisin bread were placed on the table and the start of a wonderful meal began. My husband and I decided we’d start off by sharing the Heirloom Kumato Tomatoes with house-made mozzarella, pesto, red watercress and a white balsamic dressing. This salad had my son’s three most favorite ingredients: mozzarella, basil and tomatoes so we were very surprised when he said he was’t too hungry and didn’t want the salad. However, once ours arrived and of course, he tried it, he’s appetite was suddenly piqued and he ordered one of his own. The tomatoes were perfectly and deliciously ripe, the mozzarella firm but with the moist, softness that a house-made cheese should have. The red watercress, which I understand is a relatively new variety added not only to the visual appeal of the plate but added a nice peppery flavor as well and the white balsamic dressing was light enough that it pulled everything together beautifully.
We then had the Grilled Calamari Steak appetizer with tomatoes, garlic, and a lemon basil sauce. I sometimes find that if calamari is over cooked just a bit too much it can become chewy but this was not the case at all. The texture was just right – firm but soft at the same time. The sauce was delicate and complimented the calamari quite nicely.
For our entrees I had the Day Boat Scallops – four very large scallops served over a medley of mushrooms, baby artichokes, spinach, and a light madeira cream sauce. On the occasions when I eat seafood, scallops is always a favorite and this dish in particular could easily become a favorite amongst favorites. The scallops were evenly cooked throughout and the sauce flavorful without overpowering the gentle taste of the scallops. The baby artichokes, spinach and mushrooms all worked to create a very memorable dish.
My husband had the Seafood Risotto which was rich with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, and tomato. It was a creamy, dish full of flavor. My son enjoyed the Bucatini All’ Amatriciana served with caramelized onions and pecorino romano cheese, in tomato sauce. Being vegetarian like mom, he had it sans the house cured guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon).
Dessert was yet another treat! We had the Warm Cinnamon Apple Crisp with a rolled oats-brown sugar topping, and almond amaretto ice cream which was perfectly delicious. However, the Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with the coffee toffee hazelnut ice cream was amazing! The presentation was beautiful – a pyramid of chocolate bordered by chopped nuts and a luscious scoop of ice cream. The torte had three scrumptious layers made up of mousse, chocolate, and a nutty crust – as I write this I find myself smiling at the thought of just how good this was.
So, for us – Moderne Barn was a great find, one which we will frequent again and again – and soon!