Right before the hurricane hit, we ate one of our best meals ever at wd-50. If we enjoyed our meal there back in 2009, we adored it in 2012. And maybe that's what's taken us so long to write about it. Or maybe we're just incredibly lazy. But, you know, the dinner was 12 courses, so maybe we were just tired.
As the first course, the nigri sushi functioned as a palate cleanser, washing away whatever else we'd eaten that day and preparing us for the delights to come. Wylie Dufresne and team have a bag of very magical tricks, and here he turned salsify and sesame into roe.
And then things got really, really interesting, with pasta made from lobster roe, atop a salad of charred lemons, green grapes, and coriander brown butter. We've never been to the Hamptons, but this is a Hamptons dish: light, moneyed, refreshing.
Pho gras came next. Pho gras! Here foie gras has been transformed into a pate, even fattier than traditional pates, served with fried beef tenderloin. An issue some folks have with molecular gastronmy is that it lacks the soul-satisfying depth of, say, rustic Italian. Here's the dish to prove them wrong, as cozy and warming as any pasta we've had.
If you look closely at the above photo, you can almost make out the surprise waiting for us within the carrot ribbons: amaro yolk. We're not found of runny eggs, but this one acted like a sauce, a protein-rich, umami-heavy sauce that coated the carrots and made the chicken-confit peas even more themselves.
The veal brisket reminded us of our favorite wd dish back in 2009: the corned duck, in which a strip of duck had been cured so that it tasted like corned beef. Mixed with mustard "cookies" and plums, drizzled with a sauce made from za'aatar, this dish had a similar deli feel. The best deli you've ever possibly imagined, but a deli nonetheless.
Then we went from the Lower East Side to Chinatown in the form of the three-bite crab toast with saffron.
We didn't realize it at the time, too busy moaning with our eyes closed, but this dish looks like an album cover from the 1970s. No? The snapper can be the groovy sun, with plumes of squash and cous cous clouds, and rays of sauce.
Our final two savory courses were a squab (above) with tomato hummus and tzatziki chips, and root beer ribs (very first photo, at the top), with rye spatzele. The sarsparilla pop of the brine and sauce in the later was gee-whiz delightful.
Jasmine cucumber ice with honeydew made us never want to eat cucumber in any other form again, while the s'mores reminded us that we should eat s'mores every day.
wd-50 just might get our vote as the New York-iest of all New York restaurants. We haven't been to Eleven Madison Park, but much has been made about its New York menu. But wd-50 didn't need three-card monte to take us on a tour of the city we, and Wylie, call home.