So, while I was in New York City, I wanted to eat at a really nice place. Find some food that I can’t find in Utah. I am also fascinated by some of the new food preparations found in molecular gastronomy, so I wanted to find somewhere that did that. After much research and many menu comparisons, I decided on wd~50. It is on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the chef there is Wylie Dufresne.[simage=27,200,n,right,]
Since I got into town late Friday night, and was leaving Sunday night, I really only had Saturday night available. Really I should have planned further ahead, but I was very happy when I called that they had just had a cancellation and I was able to get in. It was also great that my ticket for Wicked was the matinee freeing up all night for dinner.
Getting there was interesting though. I hadn’t yet been to the Lower East Side. I had the address and I got a cab. I gave him the address and he didn’t seem to know where it was. He asked what the cross streets were. I had no idea. Isn’t that why I had a cab? :) He did have a GPS though, so he got me there. I got out, and couldn’t see the restaurant, but I knew it had to be there. I walked up and down the street a few times to no avail. Finally I called and they were trying to get me there, when the hostess said she saw me walk past the window. Success.
The inside of the restaurant was nice. Quiet, with a variety of tables and booths. The atmosphere was inviting and casual, so I didn’t even have to dress up and spill on my “nice” clothes. I was quickly seated and greeted. They didn’t even seem to care that I was there alone. Some other places seem to have this hidden scorn almost for me when I show up and say “One please”, but the staff at wd~50 was amazing.
Before I even got there, I knew I was going to choose the tasting menu. It is a menu of 9 or so small courses designed by the chef. At wd~50 it appears that it changes monthly, and mine, I think all said and done was about 12 courses. We won’t talk about how much it is. But hey, it is a unique thing that everyone should do at least once.
So.. without further ado, lets get into the food. I tried to take pictures. Sometimes I forgot. It was dark, so the pictures don’t really do all the dishes justice. When I can, I will pull a photo from the wd~50 site.[simage=28,200,,right,]
Tai snapper, butternut squash, sour plum, molé consummé
Sadly, I forgot to take a picture until I had eaten it and I can’t find another photo. It was very good. The butternut squash was made into some kind of oatmeal, and the consummé was very tasty.
Everything bagel, smoke salmon threads, crispy cream cheese
The bagel here is about the size of a quarter. And it is liquid. It had a consistency of melting ice creme. It tasted exactly like an everything bagel. The flavor comes unexpected in something you have to eat with a spoon. The smoked salmon threads had a perfect taste. The texture was different, but combined with the liquid bagel, good. The crispy creme cheese was crispy, but I had a hard time tasting cream cheese.
Foie gras, passionfruit, chinese celery[simage=15,200,n,left,][simage=13,200,n,left,][simage=14,200,n,left,right]
If you are unsure what foie gras is, check out Wikipedia. As you can see from my pictures, the passionfruit was completely inside the foie gras. When I cut it open it spilled out. The passionfruit flavor was very strong. I really like passionfruit, but is was almost overwhelming. As a result, when eaten with the foie gras it overpowered all the flavors. Some may think that is a good thing :).
Scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado, kindai kampachi
[simage=16,200,n,left,][simage=17,200,n,left,] This dish was awesome. The cube of egg was perfectly cooked scrambled egg with an excellent texture. The avocado was great, and the tiny potato bits tasted like the best hash-browns you have ever eaten. Kindai kampachi is a type of fish, and it was cured and good as well. The whole dish was very well balanced and evoked thoughts of a perfect breakfast.
Cold fried chicken, buttermilk-ricotta, tabasco, caviar
[simage=18,200,n,right,][simage=19,200,n,right,] This was an interesting dish. The fried chicken was just that. Chicken that had been fried, then put in the fridge for a day. Except it was fresh. It tasted great. The tabasco was actually a honey tabasco and very flavorful with just the right burn. The buttermilk-ricotta as warm and was almost like really creamy mashed potatoes, but cheese. I actually liked the caviar better than I expected. It was American sturgeon. The problem was it was overwhelming so even just a little would take over the other flavors.
Striped bass, chorizo, pineapple, popcorn
[simage=20,200,n,left,] Yes. Popcorn. The small spread of yellow on the plate is popcorn. It tasted just like popcorn. Very pure popcorn taste. Without butter or salt. I didn’t like it much. However, the fish was cooked very well. The chorizo was very small and crispy. It was hard for me to chew with my temporary teeth :D. The pineapple was excellent. I don’t know what they did to it, but I liked it. Very good. I could eat a whole plate of just the pineapple. All together, the pineapple, bass, and chorizo worked well together.
Beef and bearnaise
[simage=22,200,n,left,][simage=21,200,n,left,] This was probably my favorite. The beef broth was absolutely perfect. Amazing flavor, seasoned perfectly, all around great. The dumpling like things were good. I’m not even sure what they were. They were rich and had a great flavor that worked perfectly with the beef broth. Just great all around.
Lamb loin, black garlic romesco, soybean, pickled ramps
[simage=23,200,n,right,] I’m not entirely sure what I think about this dish. The lamb was cooked well and had good flavor, but was a little tough. The black garlic romesco was really good and went perfectly with the lamb. The soybean was just not good. Perhaps I need to appreciate soybean better, but I didn’t like it at all.
White beer ice cream, apple, caramel, caraway
Sorry, no picture at all of this one. It was interesting. The ice cream definitely tasted like what I would expect from white beer ice cream. I wasn’t that impressed overall with this dish. The flavors were muddled.
Rainbow sherbet, plum, tarragon, orange, olive oil
[simage=24,200,n,left,] I don’t know how many have ever worked with or tasted tarragon. It is an interesting herb. The closest thing I can describe it as is black licorice. With that in mind, it makes a surprisingly tasty sherbet. The three flavors were twisted together inside the sugar tube. It sat on a bit of cake with some cream and an olive oil sauce. Overall I like this dish. The tarragon sherbet was a treat.
Soft chocolate, beets, long pepper, ricotta ice cream
[simage=25,200,n,right,] This dish was pretty good. The dark specks on the chocolate are cocoa nibs. The bits of red rock looking pieces are nothing like rocks. Very soft actually. I expected them to be hard, but nope. Rather like the chocolate ganache, or a mousse. In fact the only thing that had any kind of bite to it were the cocoa nibs. I really liked the ice cream. It has an extra depth almost, probably because it was made from cheese :)
Cocoa packets. Chocolate shortbread, milk ice cream.
[simage=26,200,n,left,] This was served with the check, much like you would expect a mint. The ice cream was actually made from condensed milk and covered in the chocolate shortbread. The cocoa packet was chocolate that was almost plastic like filled with something chocolate. Maybe more shortbread? It was good. It was nice dark chocolate and made for an excellent end of the meal.
Overall I was impressed with wd~50 and the food. It was a really enjoyable experience. It took almost 2 hours for the full meal. The service was great. They were never rushing me and I was impressed with how well they cooperated. Whoever was around would get me my new flatware (new for every course), and I don’t think the same person brought me a dish twice. They even gave me a great recommendation for brunch the next day.
If you are in New York City and want a great dining experience I would strongly recommend wd~50. Like I said, everyone should try it at least once.