Chef: Wylie Dufresne
Cuisine: American Nouveau, Molecular Gastronomy
Price: $140 tasting menu + drinks = $200 per person
I’m a huge fan of molecular gastronomy, especially after having eaten at Fat Duck – the restaurant that has spoiled every dining experience since… I love the innovative ways of preparing dishes that will manipulate your taste buds, and where flavors and textures come as a total surprise. wd-50 is definitely all that and more. However, I only LOVED about 6 dishes of the 12 tasting courses… the rest I was intrigued by, but only in preparation and not really in the resulting taste. I really wanted to love this place, but I’d give it 3.5 stars out of 5. The rest of my party loved it though, and taking into account the excellent and prompt service – I would maybe round up to 4 stars.
Ambiance is very casual and chill – definitely a LES vibe. Normally when I see $140 tasting menus, I just assume stark interior and white tablecloths. It felt very cozy here. Almost like an upscale mom & pop diner… people were reading the paper at the bar counter and just hanging out.
Cocktails were amazing. We tried all of them – the carbonated clear bloody mary (Proud Mary) is delish, Old Salty Dog, pH (rose, lychee, vodka) sweet but not overly so, coconut water drink was good too. Lupita was intense (tequila, yuzu) so proceed with caution.
Amuse bouche: Scallop cous cous, asparagus, caper, whiskey
Everything bagel (it was ICE CREAM!), smoked salmon threads (seriously how’d they make this?), crispy cream cheese (heavenly)
Foie gras with passionfruit filling in the middle and Chinese celery crumbles (most unique foie gras I’ve ever tasted, I loved the flavor combo)
Scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado, kinda kampachi (egg ravioli was such a neat idea – but flavor combo didn’t work for me)
Cold fried chicken, buttermilk ricotta tabasco, caviar (flavors too random for me, chicken was not very tasty)
Sweet shrimp, red pepper, black sesame, shiso
Beef and bearnaise (unique take on this traditional dish, beef consomme was realllly rich and intense)
Lamb loin, black garlic romesco, soybean, pickled ramps (lamb a bit too gamey, dry)
Chewy lychee sorbet, pistachio, lemon, celery
Hazelnut tart, coconut, chocolate, chicory (orgasmically good)
Caramelized brioche, apricot, buttercream, lemon thyme
Cocoa packets, chocolate shortbread, milk ice cream (I adored the edible cocoa packets!)
Overall, I’d come back but probably not on my own dime…