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Eating at WD~50 NYC
12/11/2012 (rev. 12/12/2012) by
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wylie

I first found out about WD~50 from my friend who wanted to try it out for the longest time.  On research, I found out one of the Bravo’s Top Chef previous contestant owns this restaurant.  His name is Wylie Dufresne.  He is well known for pushing a movement towards molecular gastronomy, which is basically a different way to cook things.  This 1 Michelin Star restaurant’s menu is pretty sparse in choices in that you basically choose from 2 different types of tasting menus, the cheaper or the more expensive.  Optionally, you could order 2 items off any of the tasting menus at the bar for $25.  We of course opted for the expensive one considering we have no plans on coming back any time soon.

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1.  Nigiri, salsify, seaweed, and sesame.  This was pretty good although nothing revolutionary to me.  It tastes similar to yellowtail nigiri.  The one thing that was interesting was the rice.  It was very fine, like if you took a lot of rice and compacted it as much as possible.  I wished there was more of whatever sauce they used on top of the fish, which was basically something similar to ponzu.

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2.  Sweet shrimp, ‘pine needles’, chestnut, cranberry.  This was really good.  The sweet shrimp was tasty.  I don’t remember what the ‘pine needles’ were made of.  The chestnut was soft and mushy, and the cranberry glaze was also good.  There’s actually some shrimp flavored broth at the bottom of the bowl.

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3.  Pho gras.  This was the chef’s take on Vietnamese pho with fois gras as the meat.  The noodles are similar to Taiwanese flat rice noodles you would typically find in beef noodle soup.  The puffy component on the left was similar to a fried pork fat.  The circular part to the right is basically fois gras and some other components that I don’t remember.  When all components were mixed together into the bowl, it was a perfect explosion of taste.  The soup broth was similar to something I’ve made for Taiwanese beef noodle soup, but it also had a nice sour kick to it.

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4.  Amaro yolk, chicken confit, peas ‘n’ carrots.  This was pretty interesting.  It’s a play on peas and carrots.  The carrots were thinly shaved with peas that seemed to be cooked then flash frozen briefly.  The peas tasted were mush in the middle, but the casing was hard.  On the bottom of this dish is the chicken confit which was similar to cream of chicken but solidified.  The carrots tasted kind of strange when eaten with the chicken confit.  At first it tasted bitter, then it started to remind me of chicken pot pie in terms of texture.  I wasn’t too crazy about the flavors, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

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5.  Veal brisket, za’atar, plum, mustard.  The wafers were 100% mustard.  Really cool.  There are apple slices and some green onion slits.  The veal was incredibly tender.  If anything, I was just amazed by the mustard wafers.

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6.  Crab toast, saffron, kaffir-yogurt, arare.  I love this dish.  They used a lot of crab, and I loved the sweetness of the crab meat mixed with the saffron and yogurt.

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7.  Snapper, squash, cherry, juniper, cous cous.  The one thing to take from this dish is the cous cous.  The cous cous, I believe, are the little tiny square blocks.  If you have ever tasted those gel blocks that runners use, it tastes exactly like that.  Very strange but delicious.  The snapper was tender, and the rice noodle looking things (juniper?) added a crispy texture to the snapper when eaten together.

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8.  Squab, tomato hummus, pickled turnips, tzaziki.  On the top is either liquid nitrogen frozen tzaziki or tomato hummus.  The squab, which is domesticated pigeon, was very good and tender.  The green sauce tasted like hummus too.  The round circular ball next to the left of the squab was some type of potato textured thing.  All together, I think the Greek inspired dish was pretty good.

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9.  Flat iron, mushroom jerky, grape, verjus.  This was flat out crazy.  I hate mushrooms, but the mushroom jerky in this was delectable.  The tall mushroom strands tasted exactly like heavily smoked beef jerky.  If mushrooms tasted like this, I’d be in love at last with standard shrooms.  The flat iron steak was also very good.  As you can tell there was very minimal fat in the cuts that I got.

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10.  Jasmin, cucumber, quince, chartreuse.  This was a very interesting dessert.  The finely orange shavings are somewhat salty.  The white is some type of foam.  The green “ice” tasted like cucumber and is not as hard as it looks like.  When you break the “ice”, there are a bunch of random things underneath.  I recall that was some type of cream that tasted like fruit.  Individually, they each tasted remarkably different, but together in one scoop, they tasted really awesome.

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11.  Yuzu milk ice, hazelnut, jackfruit, basil.  The yuzu milk ice was interesting.  It’s like Hawaiian shaved ice but with milk flavor.  The fruits together with this made it taste delicious.

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12.  S’mores, bitter cocoa, meringue, black currant.  This was also really good.  It’s their take on smores.  The marshmallow is actually ice cream of some sort.  The actual marshmallows were charred onto the plate for decor.  The stick was edible.  The dark chocolate wasn’t too sweet and there was some strange spicy kick to it.  All in all, it was pretty good.

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13.  White chocolate, gjetost.  This was simply shaved raspberry covered chocolate.  A nice ending for the night.

I was very pleased with this dinner.  Not only was it an interesting dinner trying out uncommon cooking techniques performed on food, but it was also pretty tasty.  I would not say this is one of my favorites, but it’s definitely up there as a recommendation for people who are interested in trying molecular gastronomy or would like to try something different.  For what it’s worth, it’s also MANY times better than Los Angeles’ Bazaar SAAM.

Visit: http://www.wd-50.com/

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