WD-50, New York

Back in the day when molecular gasatronomists were exploding their food all over the place such as El Bulli in Spain and Fat Duck in England, Wylie Dufresne of restaurant WD-50 in New York was doing equally hair-brained and exciting things with his food. One of his dishes was actually called ‘hair applicator’ where one squirted a substance out of an aerosol into a bowl of steaming liquid only to realise that what formed was prawn noodles. Recently, there was much excitement when he announced that the entire menu at the restaurant would be changing, and a 12 course tasting menu of dishes “which will not only be new to the restaurant, but, as is usually the case with cuisine de Wylie, also new to human civilization itself” (New York Times, 2 May, 2012). It has just so happened that right before this ground breaking announced was made, I had a reservation – after all, this was a restaurant I had marvelled at continually over the years.

.

Sesame bread crisps
Mackerel
Hamachi

.

.

.

.

.

.

The Bread crisps were not very different from filo pastry crusted with sesame seeds.

Mackerel nigiri, salsify, seaweed, sesame had little spheres of seaweed and wasabi and the rice was ridiculously soft, almost as though it had been pureed after cooking and reshaped, helping it to be fluffy. Elegant dish, nothing out of the ordinary.

My Cured hamachi with coriander, apple and toasted rice too was nice and elegant, but nothing special.

.

Pho gras
Amaro yolk
Veal brisket

.

.

.

.

.

.

A nice bit of word and cuisine play brought up Pho Gras: foie gras ballotine, rice noodles, beef tendon cracker, tamarind, and pork broth. What LF & I both loved about this dish was the flavour of the broth   – there’s nothing in this world that comes close to the intensity and the immensity of comfort that the broth brings with its deep and long lasting flavours. My previous favourite broth from El Celler de Can Roca has now moved into position 2!

A decidedly weird plate of food appeared in the guise of Amaro yolk, chicken confit, peas n’ carrots – underneath the heap of flavourless carrot shavings that have been drizzled with flavourless carrot juice lies the slow cooked egg yolk and salty/creamy chicken confit. The peas are not peas, but carrot balls covered in pea powder (yawn!). Each component on its own is particularly nasty, and only when had all together, is it mildly palatable.

Luckily, Veal brisket, za’atar, plum, mustard saved the day! The brisket itself – a divine mouthful, having been cured in za’atar, was aided nicely with the addition of plum, mustard and 5 spices crackers.

.

Sea bass
Sole
Lamb

.

.

.

.

.

.

Sea bass, artichoke and some other very groundbreaking ingredients and preparations that I couldn’t be bothered to remember – by this point LF & I both wondered if we’d come to the wrong WD-50 as this surely couldn’t be the new mind-bending menu that New York times had so vividly glorified?

Sole, black licorice pil-pil, fried green tomato, fennel – I love licorice, so that, along with the fried green tomato made this dish okay! Oh, the fish was well cooked (thank god for small mercies!).

Lamb sweetbreads, nasturtium, buttermilk, zucchini, pistachio: Tasty. That is all. Quite nice on the pistachio brittle.

Where is our hubble bubble toil and trouble course? Where is the flying piglet that cooks itself at the table and erupts into pork crackling that actually tastes of curry dishes from all over the world? Hmmmmm?

.

Root beer ribs
Jasmine, cucumber
Yuzu

.

.

.

.

.

.

At last! A truly remarkable bit of flavour intensity – Root beer ribs, rye spaetzle, apricot , completely unresponsive to the spaetzle or the apricot, and to be honest, they were just unnecessary bystanders. The meat was intense!

.

Pre-dessert brought forth Jasmine, cucumber, honeydew, chartreuse – a cucumber ice-disc bits of honeydew and cucumber soaked in chartreuse, whilst on the top lay cashews and jasmine air. Refreshing, but by no means original – a much better version can be found in Barcelona at Alkimia and in Girona at El Celler de Can Roca.

Ah! The messy plate. Yuzu milk ice, hazelnut, rhubarb, basil: something funky at last. A nitrogen poached aerated yuzu milk ice with the other bits that are thrown on the plate was fun, but what made us laugh, and even brought the surrounding 2 tables into a fit of laughter with the jokes that ensued soon after was that LF’s Yuzu was disappointingly small – about half the one on my plate, and the lady next to us had one that was twice the size of mine! Whilst leaving, a gentleman on the other end of the restaurant had an enormous yuzu! Tut tut, Mr. Dufresne!

.

S’mores
Gjetost

If the look of the main dessert, S’mores, bitter cocoa, meringue, black currant doesn’t put you off, the rest surely will – a dessert tasting as messy and confusing as it looks, with no identity or direction.

.

The petit fours were white chocolate and gjetost (Norwegian goats cheese).

.

So all in all, a decent meal, complete with a fall from the skies on to the barren land of disappointment. WD-50 isn’t, sadly, as challenging as it may have once been.

.

Food: 5

Overall meal: 8

Recommend you go: Nope!

Website
wd-50 on Urbanspoon

Share