Holy Freaking WD-50June 10, 2009 at 9:00 am | Posted in Dessert, Dinner, Travels | 4 Comments
As a perfect finale for the NYC wedding weekend (definitely the best weekend I have had in a very long time) we made a reservation for WD-50 for Sunday night and lucky for us our friends Jonathan and Melissa (our favorite new NYC foodie friends) joined us for the adventure.
Even though we were seated about 45 minutes late, the kitchen 100% made up for it with amazing service and extra little treats for us. We ended up staying there for about three hours and even got to see the kitchen and meet the crew. So as tonight is the premiere of Top Chef Masters I would like to say “Go Wylie!” From what I can see and taste of your talent, you are going to rock that competition!
While we were waiting for our table, we each picked up two snazzy drinks at the bar. My first was pH. I was most certainly amused by the name of this drink, because as an environmental chemist, I take pH’s of samples every day! The drink included (forgive my memory) raspberry puree, cranberry juice, lychee fruit and rose extract! The rose infusion was delightful. I also picked up a glass of white wine: the Kallisto from Mercouri Estate 2008 – ‘Peloponnisos, Greece ~ ribolla gialla, tourkopoula key lime, minerals, lemon zest.’ I could totally taste the citrus essence to the wine and was very happy I chose such an interesting and tasty wine.
We then got seated and after many apologies for the wait we got to snack on this paper thin bread. It actually is the perfect kind of hunger calmer- seasoned so nicely with lots of salt and sesame and not very filling- fitting for a long night of many courses!
The first of our treats from the chef included this soup of a white fish, jicama and seasonings including anise. The quality of the fish was amazing and the flavor pairings were very interesting to my palate.
Then we started on the appetizers, this one was for everyone to partake in. The menu lists this as three servings, but they included four so each of us could try! ‘Corned duck, rye crisp, purple mustard, horseradish cream’- the strong and bright flavor of the duck was great! The horseradish cream was a perfect pronounced contrasting flavor to the tender corned duck.
Jon got this one and he was very impressed. ‘eggs benedict…’- paper thin bacon slice, inserted into an egg yolk, and then paired with deep fried balls of hollandaise crusted with English muffin crumbs! Wylie figured out a way, using hydrocolloids to do such a task, and the use of these novel techniques provides us with delicious elements of courses that we’ve never had before (aka -science + cooking can be used to make something new AND completely delicious!) A totally amazing way to make a sauce ball, and definitely the tastiest component to this dish.
Melissa got this insane delight from the sea. ‘Octopus, pistachio, saffron, pickled ginger’- the most imaginative terrine I have ever seen. Melissa was very happy with this dish and the flavor combinations worked perfectly.
Ned chose this one- ‘Lamb belly, eggplant, date, smoked feta.’ This was basically an amazing way to show off some lamb bacon! We don’t recall what the green stuff was, but he liked it for sure.
This was my appetizer- delicious duck liver!! ‘Aerated foie, pickled beet, tamarillo-molasses, brioche’- The foie tasted like delicious, unctuous mousse and the beet, molasses, and crispy brioche were perfect foils.
Now on to the entrees! For dinner we chose easily (ha yeah right) and picked the last four on the menu. Melissa got the ‘Halibut, celery root, wood ear mushroom, chinese sausage consomme’- and she was so impressed by the presentation she had to take a picture herself! She loved the fish and the celery root puree was delicious too!
Jonathan chose the ‘Wagyu skirt steak, long bean, tamarind, peanut butter ‘pasta’ ‘- a totally inventive way of doing a pad thai. He loooooved the amazing steak and the peanut butter pasta was so interesting and delicious!
Ned continued his tour de lamb and got the ‘Lamb shoulder, pine nut “baked beans”, brown bread, romaine’- the meat was fantastic and he loved how they used pine nuts to make a classic baked bean!
I continued my tour de quack and got the favorite entree of the night: the ‘Duck breast, worcestershire spaetzle, parsley root, mustard greens.’ From this picture you cannot see the amazing layer of cripsy fat, but be sure that it was there! Definitely the most perfectly cooked version of my favorite meat! The spaetzle, with great flavor, reminded me of a bready pasta. And the parsley root was so fun looking as the green end came from a dipping into some avocado.
This was the first dessert treat of the night- a vanilla ice cream filled (amazingly!) with balsamic vinegar and topped with dried strawberry bits! If I could eat this dessert every night for the rest of my life I would be sooooo happy. The balsamic vinegar was such an amazing and perfect flavor contrast and we know how much I love strawberries… As Melissa took a bite of the ice cream she realized there might be some almond in it and immediately alerted the waiter as to her allergy! They whisked it away and was subsequently brought…
this banana ice cream quenelle with caramel, etc accompianments! She loved this as well! And it turned out that the almond scare did not cause her any allergic flare ups and so we were very thankful.
Melissa chose this dish for her actual dessert -‘Soft chocolate, peppermint ice cream, black cardamom, toffee.’ I think this was the winner of the night as the chocolate and mint were perfect compliments to each other! The presentation of this dish very much reminded me of dishes that Ned and I ate at Alinea, and its true because the pastry chef at WD-50 came from Alinea!
Here was Ned’s dessert pick- ‘Ginger ice cream, beet, spiced walnut, molasses.’ He was very pleased with his choice as he lovveeeed the bright and strong ginger ice cream flavor!
This was Jonathan’s pick – ‘Cheesecake, pineapple, raisin, saffron, lime.’ The fact that they encapsulated the cheesecake in a film was amazing! He totally loved the flavor combinations.
I chose the ‘Caramelized brioche, apricot, buttercream, lemon thyme’- and I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the brioche. When I realized that I had ordered a bread pudding kind of dish I was scared, since I’m not such a fan of soggy bread or cake, but that cake was different and palatable to me so I was thankful! The apricot and buttercream were delicious, but the lemon thyme sorbet was a little strange. This makes me realize that I should stick to sweet sorbets, not savory ones…
The last dish of the night was presented on this slab of rock! I instantly said “Oh thanks for bringing us some truffle mushrooms for us to take home!” The waiter smiled and informed us that these were a take on an oreo cookie.
A concoction of evaporated milk dipped into chocolate cookie crumbs. Delicious!
As the only other dining experience such as this was at Alinea, I tend to compare them in my mind. The quality of imagination and combination of ingredients definitely matches what we had at Alinea. But this place is definitely more casual and so I felt more relaxed and carefree while we dined. I think we will head back to Alinea first to enjoy amazing feats of culinary triumph, but WD-50 will definitely be on the dining circuit in the future- I highly recommend it!