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The main-course dish that debuted this past Friday is a deboned and pressed poussin which rests along side a poached quail egg, both sauced with a pumpernickel foam.

A pumpernickel foam? Whazzat?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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That sounds very interesting. Thank you, Robert. Don't you mean a pumpernickel bread that was soaked in water or some such liquid?

I wonder what a watered down rye starter eould be like?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I can't recall correctly, but Grimes gave 71 Clinton FF 1 or 2 stars but made it clear that he was not comfortable in the setting. He gushed about the food but held back because of the environment. I am eager to read his review of WD.

My main concern is whether he embraces the risks that WD are taking or if he, like Adam Platt, will long for the Wylie of 71. No matter what he writes (or any of us think), my hat goes off to Wylie for choosing to push the envelope and grow as an artist. Although it is hard to believe that Bolo is a 3-star and WD may not be, there are some elements working against WD. The waitstaff are dressed casually (not a knock on them, they are great), the decor is a bit different and correct me if I am wrong, but I can't think of any place on the LES or the E Village that has ever received 3 stars. These are alll minor points but does anyone truly understand the rating system?

What I hope Mr Grimes applauds is a chef who despite the glaring spotlight, decided to push the culinary boundaries yet still remained grounded. There are no VIP phone line at WD, you will always find Wylie in the kitchen and he kept the of seating at a level he could manage. Not to mention, he stayed on the LES.

Fact is, the star system does not effect those of us on these boards. We know better. But the star system drives business and I'm hoping that WD gets the justice they deserve.

"Your girlfriend is a vegetarian, tell her she should eat rabbit...they're vegetarians too" Ali

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Vive la difference. For me, WD50 was far too barroque and fetishized, far too precious and high-strung. I wouldn't have minded those aspects as much if the food tasted good, but the two apps and entrees I shared late last Wednesday night with a friend left us cold. It occured to me that maybe WD was absent - I could imagine all these tricks being in the wrist - but everything tasted a lot alike. The ingredients did not play star roles; their vaguely perverse presentation did. As per its title, this is indeed a place about the chef, not about the food or the customers. I was rather shocked that a new restaurant with this kind of hype and backing would seem so unintentionally underdesigned. No offense intended, but there isn't much going on there in terms of aesthetics. The service (we ate at the bar) distinguished itself with nearly depraved indifference: it was as if the bar tender was doing us a great favor when he rattled off the dishes and their ingredients at a lightening pace. When I asked him what he'd just said, he was indignant and spat the words out at me faster. I also found this an oddly masculine dining experience: fauxAdria for your inner macho cavalier. And while my inner macho cavalier is quite robust indeed, this wasn't his type of meal either :blush:

The apps: overdone octopus tentacles, peeled of their skin which gave them a processed turkey feel. The shallot pickle too pointed, not deep. The infamous anchovy, foie gras and chocolate app: foie gras itself not especially good; the vinegared anchovies seemed neither to enhance the gras nor expand as a result of the combination. Seemed to me that the chocolate served to make this a "Dude, I ate it!" dish that, while not unpleasant, made a cynical stab at expectations and adventurousness. Cynical because while it didn't taste bad, neither was it that interesting or (to my palate) at all delicious.

The mains: a sadly overcooked monkfish in dashi; and seabass with longbeans (these were good) over a cauliflower with almond oil puree. The puree bit tasted like nothing, like peanut butter and like the overcooked monkfish. Which is not what I look for in sea bass. The skin wasn't bad, though its crispyness seemed more aspired to than achieved. I had two glasses of wine and would not recommend either: a Greek rose and the Alsatian Riesling.

However, I did find WD50 a fascinating contrast to Jefferson, where many of the same ideas are executed with an exquisite and formidable aplomb.

Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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David,

There is no men's room,Just one bathroom that is unisex.

My buddy last month dam near went to the basement trying to find the stalls

and I only found it after the chef was in the hallway and seen me looking lost told me just too push the wall. :wacko:

Great report David and good luck with the job!

I would mop the floors there if given the chance.

Robert R.

Robert R

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But im just a cook so maybe im wrong.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Classic line, David.

Thanks for the very detailed report.

If you feel like, please remind us where you work.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Nice, thoughtful review, David.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Thanks for the link, Kurl. That's one of the more interesting reviews I've read. I have to say that at >$20/main dish prices, I'm not sure I'd want to take too many risks with my money, but the fact is, I probably won't have dinner there on my own dime, anyway. Hey, I walked past 71 Clinton several times, found the menu interesting, but never ate there. Just the same, I have to walk on Clinton St. again soon.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I've yet to build great regard for Grimes' tastes in food or art, and I'm at a loss to understand the analogies to music groups, but I thought that was a nice review. My immediate reaction was that I'd bet he hated to assign a number of stars to this review, but I could be wrong about that and perhaps that was the easy part for him. Well I'm sure it was a disappointment to the kitchen, but I've seen top chefs and cooks live through worse. Has there been a restaurant without tablecloths that has gotten three stars. I suppose Nobu qualifies. Any others?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I have to think that Mr. Dufresene is not too happy tonight. The review was decidedly mixed, and if Wylie thinks he got a bum rap, I would agree with him. As most of Grimes' reviews, this one was yeoman-like; not the work of someone who has a wealth of widespread dining experience or the love and curiosity of cuisine in his veins. I don't know what happened to the chocolate in the foie gras appetizer, but other than that Grimes does a decent job at describing dishes; he just didn't put Dufresne's cooking in much of a context and as a result doesn't tell a story, which is what a good writer does even when devoting his muse to a restaurant.

I have dined at WD50 three times, each visit spaced apart, such that I could sense steady improvement in execution and service. Grimes makes the point that some of what Dufresne does is interesting, but he doesn't say how interesting in the context of what else is going on in New Yor City restaurants. I think the food at WD50 is the most interesting I have had in New York in a long time, but apparently Grimes doesn't share this feeling in any meaningful way. Notice, too, that his exit line appears to be contradictory.

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It is interesting to see this ** review of WD-50 two weeks after a *** review of Bolo. (Just as a literary matter -- I have not dined at WD-50 yet, nor at Bolo during the period relevant to the review.)

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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From the Times review:

but in the end, Mr. Dufresne should listen to his muse and ignore everyone else.

I've dined at WD50 and loved the food both from an intellectual and gastronomic P.O.V. My advice to WD is to ignore Grimes.

Edited by mikeyrad (log)
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In what way, FG? Mikeyrad, sure it would be nice if Dufresene could ignore Grimes, but not having a rave precludes you from certain possibilities such as commanding a higher price for the food and broadening your recognition factor that leads to off-restaurant opportunities. He's too interesting a chef not to be more than a bit wounded short-term. I'm going again next week and it will hardly be the last time.

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I haven't eaten at WD-50 yet. It's high on my list of places to go, but that list always seems to grow faster than I can get to the places already on the list. Nothing Grimes has said will make me go sooner or put off my visit any longer -- nor do I ever expect his reviews to have that effect on me. The Times is however, always referred to as out paper of record, and as Robert notes, the Times reviews -- and it doesn't matter who is writing for the Times -- are the ones that count most to the financial health of a restaurant. They are, to some extent, the local equivalent of the Michelin stars. They draw business and they influence the broad base of diners to the extent that many will not only go, but withhold their criticism if they disagree with the "experts." Members of eGullet are hardly a cross section of the dining public. We love to knock the three and four star restaurants that we feel do not deserve their glory and we love to praise the underrated ones. There are a number of voices in this forum more capable of moving me to eat in any restaurant a dozen times faster than William Grimes'.

I often refer to the "wrong people in the right restaurant" and that's frequently what a good review brings to a restaurant. Grimes writes for the masses and I think he understands that much even if he doesn't understand food or love eating in restaurants. I believe he sees himself as a consumer reporter or advocate and as such, responsible for "protecting" the dining public. While I haven't been to WD-50, I sense it's a restaurant that demands a discerning clientele -- or if it doesn't demand one, it deserves one. I think Grimes aimed to direct the right diners towards WD-50 and I cite his advise to Dufresne about ignoring his critics as evidence. I think Grimes is cold and heartless and totally without any respect, admiration or empathy for chefs, but it's an unfair world in general. In the meantime I note the WD-50 shares a two star rating with one of my favorite serious restaurants in NYC -- Blue Hill.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Yes, and also with Balthazar, Brasserie 360, and the all-you-can-eat Churrascaria Plataforma. Meanwhile three stars for Bolo, L'Impero, Olica . . . Mr. Brown, that's a big part of what I meant by "interesting." Not to take anything away from the three-star places on that list -- and I wouldn't prejudge Bolo -- but certainly Mr. Buxbaum's "for the masses" comment begins to make a lot of sense if you examine the two- and three-star lists. I'm talking about just reading the descriptions of the food and the restaurants in the reviews; totally separate from opinions based on actually dining at them.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My take on WD's food was that it was intellectual AND a pleasure on the palate. The desserts fell short in my opinion. Also, the wine pairings were so so. His comments on the skate were right on. So "Ignore Grimes" - I agree somewhat. But I will vote with my wallet and go again soon.

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I have a rezzy for the 11th.  Screw Grimes.

Grimes did not do a chop job on WD. I think to the contrary his was a balanced, reflective review that somewhat contextualized many of the same issues I had with the meal. I found his analogy of 71 being a great rock band and 50 being cerebral jazz apt, as there was nothing in my meal at 50 that made me want to dance.

I also agree with Grimes that WD50 disdains the pleasure principle. While that might be interesting, it's neither at this stage all that delicious nor worth three star prices. WD wants to walk a highwire. Grimes acknowledges that that is just what he's doing, which seems a compliment. If one can reasonably say that WD50 mines controversy then why wouldn't they're pleased with the review? The place is packed all night every night anyway: some say Art is a line out the door. Grimes writes with respect for WD's and even makes jibe at himself.

However at Alias, down the block, you can eat fascinating food that tastes better for less money. Or so has been my experience :raz:

Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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BTW what's the story with the ownership of the 4 on Clinton: AKA, Alias, 71 are all the same? Partners in WD are different?

Thanks.

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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JuJu, Night Dreamer and Speak No Evil are just a few of the Wayne Shorter albums replete with well crafted, mysterious, emotionally rich tunes that gave his band mates (and Miles) a chance to stretch out and dig in and breathe. When the tunes were written, they were played to swing. In Jazz the word 'swing' connotes the part of music that makes you want to dance. As an opposite of sing-song, swing is the fluid pulse that - in jazz or other (mainly) African-American musics - makes minds and bodies sway and bounce as if in trance. Swing's kinda like delishiousness, which in the West might be said to come from French food and approaches to preparation.

Recently it seems that Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock both have made conscious decisions to play music in a different way. If you've seen either of late, you've heard the same extrordinary tunes (and some new ones) played with the same voices instrumentally, but with an emphasis on other aspects of rhythm. A friend who knows Herbie explained to me that he'd decided that the swinging part of jazz made it too accessible and easy to like. In the last few years Herbie and Shorter have both worked a great deal with bassist John Patitucci, who to my ear decidedly does not swing. I liked it the old way better, I must say, with rhythm sections like Ron Carter and Elvin Jones, but I'd still pay $100 to see Wayne in a heartbeat.

Perhaps WD wishes to explore the idea that dining need not be about pleasure. That people, in order to 'get' his food, ought journey to him through an array of plates that, while interesting, do not necessarily taste good. I suppose if he turns out to be the next Ornette Coleman and write great tunes, or flavors that change the way we eat, that's one thing. Come to think of it, could be fun too. To my ear, the potential still tastes better than the food, but here's to a bright future

Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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