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Admin: The current active thread for discussion of wd-50 may be found here.

I am curious of the opinoins of Egullet members as to the potential success of WD 50 Wylie Dufrense's latest restaurant inthe style of Gagnaire, Trio, El Bulli. Will it enjoy the success of Grant Achatz's style in Chicago or flounder like the works of Paul Liebrandt? Will this style continue to gain publicity and acceptance or are we looking at a spot trend? Just curious.

Edited by slkinsey (log)
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We wont know until we eat there will we? But I will take a wild guess. If people like the food, either because they find it pleasing, or enough people find it interesting enough to make return visits, yes it will be successful. But if people think the food is too weird, regardless of good reviews, it could have a short shelf life. Especially in the post 9/11 business environment that still besets NYC. You have to understand what is going on here. A friend of mine who is a shopkeeper in a high profile location in Soho told me he is probably going to have to close his business. And that to date since 9/11, something like 500 retailers have had to close their businesses.

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I can't say the NYT's story made me want to rush out and go. Sounds like a Blumenthal meets New York. But who knows?

"The kitchen, just a few blocks from the restaurant, has become a lab for subjecting ingredients to extreme conditions. In the dehydrator, slivers of calamata olives are withering to a crisp; in stainless-steel vats of molten caramel, pineapples festooned with peppercorns and vanilla beans are completing a three-day braise; in the freezer, tubs of lovage await an undetermined fate."

"When diners open their menus, they will face only a list of ingredients next to each dish, with no indication of how the dish is prepared. There will be appetizers like the one listed as "oysters, Chinese sausage, green apple, pistachio," and entrees like "corned duck, white beets, rye crisp, purple mustard."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/26/dining/26WD50.html

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The length of time it has taken them to open that restaurant has made me circumspect. Though I could be wrong and it isn't indicative of anything. But experience tells me otherwise. And while I really liked Wylie's food at 71 Clinton, it wasn't a big statement cuisine wise. This sounds like it is much more ambitious. Let's hope dehydrated calamata olives are more then just a concept.

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To really succeed in N.Y. at this point in time,you need lots of return customers.It's somewhat hard to tell from an early press blurb what things will really be like-they would naturally gravitate towards the more unusual things going on.Playing around with conceptual food is great fun for chefs,but one has to be really honest about certain things being worth more than one 'interesting' taste.The people involved are certainly well loved and respected in the food community,and hopefully are throwing some good business judgement into the mix...but I'm only going to try a dessert with parsnips once,if at all.

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Same thing here, jackal10. And the NYT WD50 review did make me want to go there and eat out of sheer curiosity. When one of you NY eGulleteers does, I would like very much to read an eGullet review on it and then perhaps we could compare and contrast with a NYT review.

"By now, each member of the team knows the others' skills, palates and preferences as well as his own. As befits a renegade pastry chef, Mr. Mason dislikes food that tastes noticeably sweet, unless it's balanced with some chili heat. But Mr. Goodwin balks at blatant spiciness and big, aggressive flavors. Mr. Rosell has never acquired a taste for the bitterness of daikon radish and broccoli rabe. "When we all like something, that's when we know it's good," he said."

This paragraph in the review caught my eye - Do you agree with Mr. Rosell's conclusion? To put is simplistically - when a dish is designed to satisfy several people with very particular tastes (read: picky?) is it more or less likely to be either good or popular?

Hope this is not too off topic - I think the answer will be somewhat relevant to whether the restaurant will succeed.

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The only part of the Times article that left a bad taste in my mouth was Tim Zagat's rather arrogant statement in the closing paragraph.

i didn't read it as arrogant. and whether he was being tongue-in-cheek, or quit serious, i agree with the sentiment. waif-like new yawka's like salads. restaurants, as any other business, will often concede to demand.

this has to be one of the most anticipated openings that this town has seen in some time. second only to ADNY?

Edited by tommy (log)
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To really succeed in N.Y. at this point in time,you need lots of return customers.It's somewhat hard to tell from an early press blurb  what things will really be like-they would naturally gravitate towards the more unusual things going on.Playing around with conceptual food is great fun for chefs,but one has to be really honest about certain things being worth more than one 'interesting' taste.The people involved are certainly well loved and respected in the food community,and hopefully are throwing some good business judgement into the mix...but I'm only going to try a dessert with parsnips once,if at all.

Believe me, if 71 Clinton Fresh Foods is any indication of the success of his restaraunt he'll be fine. It's still busy every night of the week. It's not a big space, but it's always occupied. I would think this restaraunt would be right up e-gulleter's alley. Wiley's smart, he (and maybe his father) decided to open a restaraunt in a place where the rents were still reasonable. That's a sharp move for a fledging restaraunteer. He's brought all those Upper East Sider's down South in their towncar's. It'll happen again. Oh there might be some kvetching at the start by the general public and the food media, that is may be too "out there" He may then add some salad's and then people will return. It's gonna be the next big thing.

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How do members feel about ordering a dish with little idea of how that dish will be prepared?

i think it's exciting. not much unlike when i order a tasting menu without really reading it, or ask for a multi-course meal without a menu at all. it could be argued that the description of any technique is wasted on a menu. give me a couple of key players, ingredients-wise, and i'm happy. couple that with a staff knowledgeable of the dish, its flavor components, and a wine suggestion, and i don't need no stinkin menu.

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Considering how many tasting menus I order, where I have no idea what the ingredients will be or how they will prepare them, it's not so terrible. Except I am wondering why they are only telling you the ingredients. It's sort of sadistic to tell someone they are getting sweetbreads, mushrooms and carrots and not telling them whether it is a little fricasse or a puree. Who would order the pure, blech.

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It does leave lots of room for the kitchen to find its footing. One prep doesn't work, you can change it without worrying about re-doing the menu.

Regarding greens/salad: Given the proliferation and accessibility of excellent greens, I'd be much more enthused to read that he's re-thought the salad concept, rather than dismissed it outright.

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Given the proliferation and accessibility of excellent greens, I'd be much more enthused to read that he's re-thought the salad concept, rather than dismissed it outright.

that's kind of what i took from that article. maybe i read too much into it. but i'm sure there will be cold dishes of made primarily of fresh produce, though perhaps not green in color.

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this has to be one of the most anticipated openings that this town has seen in some time.  second only to ADNY?

Have you heard about this little place called Otto? It's pretty obscure :smile::laugh::shock:

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Have you heard about this little place called Otto?  It's pretty obscure :smile:  :laugh:  :shock:

yeah, i suppose it was anticipated, but more to find out what the hell he was thinking about. wd's new place will be one that people are dying to get into. which sets it apart from adny, as people knew that they either couldn't afford it or could never get a reservation. it's all very strange. but i've been looking forward to this place for, what, a year now?

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I am curious of the opinoins of Egullet members as to the potential success of WD 50 Wylie Dufrense's latest restaurant inthe style of Gagnaire, Trio, El Bulli.  Will it enjoy the success of Grant Achatz's style in Chicago or flounder like the works of Paul Liebrandt?  Will this style continue to gain publicity and acceptance or are we looking at a spot trend?  Just curious.

Paul Liebrandt is a culinary wizard. When he was chef at Papillion, he created the most extroadinary food. I ll never forget the wasabi sorbet served on a block of ice. The entire meal was so unique and delicous. I really didnt find Papillion to be trendy at all, in fact when I went last Saturday in April, it wasnt even filled to capacity which made me sad. I sent scores of people there. My friend's college graduation dinner was there and her Southern parents didnt know what to make of it the meal, but they definately enjoyed it. I only wish I could have participated in the blindfolded dinner!

I had the opportunity to speak with him on several occasions. Though he may have come off as arrogant in articles, he was actually quite shy and reserved. I hope that he joins another kitchen soon.

"Is there anything here that wasn't brutally slaughtered" Lisa Simpson at a BBQ

"I think that the veal might have died from lonliness"

Homer

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Zagat's comment struck me as shrewd.  Anyone remember Otto not serving wine by the glass?  That lasted, like, ten minutes.

Asa for WD50, well it sounds very, er... brave.

I think that was a little different. Otto held itself out as an Enoteca. There was no way that they could not serve wine by the glass. In order for WD50's position of not serving salad to be analogous, it would have to be a salad bar.

disclosure: I rarely order salad at restaurants anymore because it is so often disappointing.

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