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I found his analogy of 71 being a great rock band and 50 being cerebral jazz particularly apt, as there was nothing in my meal at 50 to which I could have danced.

I thank you for that reference. I was thrown by "tightly disciplined rock group" and never found cool jazz to be particularly cerebral. What I am able to see now is that the rock group probably has a larger audience and the cerebral jazz is beyond the taste of many or playing to a small coterie of fans. Dance music has a pupose or function beyond being art as well, I suppose. Perhaps there's a pertinent analogy between music meant for dancing and music desgned to command a listening audience.

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.

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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

Nice post. Obviously, I was composing my last message while you were posting and missed this. Pleasure is fleeting thing and as one man's meat is another's poison, perhaps one man's pleasure is another's pain. I'm not sure we can agree on what's delicious, but I suspect we can agree that at times most of us want to recede from delicious to comfort food that we have already decided is not full delicious. On the other end of the scale there may be a food some of us can reach for that doesn't match everyone's definition of delicious, but which offers a taste of another pleasure. Our first olives and pickles may not have seemed delicious at the time. Fun is another dimension to our pleasure.

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.

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I could see this coming before the door ever opened on WD50. I believe Wylie is a victim of his own popularity and success. It seems to me that when Wylie started at C.F.F. he could have never foreseen the attention the media would bestow him. Not to take anything away from his talent, but everything just fell into place at the right time. Economy, talent, and how would they say in the 70's. Chic to dine in the hood.

Now at one point the NYT printed a article on small restaurant kitchens in New York City C.F.F. being one of them. Seems at any time an article was written about the restaurant, the word small jumped out at you.

Now we all were waiting for WD50 to open. We heard about the investors with deep pockets. The custom built bonnet stove from France. The copper fireplace and the delays, delays, delays!

So now if he was still cooking the same type of food at WD50 as he was at C.F.F. and decided not to push the envelope a bit,the critics would be bitching about there being no change in his cuisine.

He was in a dammed if you do and dammed if you don't situation.

Was Grimes a bit hesitant to give three stars to Wylie, remembering how Paul Liebrandt fell off the face of the earth after giving Atlas three stars?

I believe that WD50 is deserving of three stars. And for that matter I believe that Blue Hill is too. I wish WD50 the best, and I will continue to support it.

Robert .R.

Robert R

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I had dinner at WD50 a couple of weeks ago, and was not overly impressed with the food. The appetizers we tried (scallops, octopus and corned duck) were all interesting in their mix of flavors, but none of them tasted really great. The main courses were better, especially the beef served sliced on top of bok choy and with bone marrow toasts on the side. The sea bass and the skate were both also quite good. I really enjoyed the desserts, especially the parsnip cake and the guangja parfait (we also had the pana cotta).

I have to agree with Grimes' review, I thought the food was very inventive and creative, but the individual dishes are not always successful. I would say that two stars seems like a reasonable rating for the restaurant based on what I experienced. I have not been to enough restaurants in New York City to figure out the calibration of the NY Times, but by way of comparison, I had dinner at another NYT two star restaurant, DB Bistro Moderne, and probably enjoyed my meal at DB BM a bit more than at WD50. WD50 is a much better value than DB BM though.

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I really enjoyed the desserts, especially the parsnip cake and the guangja parfait (we also had the pana cotta).

What's guangja?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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What's guangja?

Google asks "Did you mean ganja?" I suspect you already know ganja and that it's not on the menu at WD-50. Gianduja, on the other hand, is chocolate and ground nuts, usually hazelnuts.

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.

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What's guangja?

Google asks "Did you mean ganja?" I suspect you already know ganja and that it's not on the menu at WD-50. Gianduja, on the other hand, is chocolate and ground nuts, usually hazelnuts.

Guanaja is a chocolate from valrhona

edited--so know one would know what the next post was about.

Edited by mjc (log)

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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Valrhona

Guanaja

Google works much better with the correct spelling, :biggrin: but you'd be surprised at how often Valrhona appears as Valhrona on the web. Someone has even been clever (of that's the word) enough to take advantage of the frequent misspelling and register valhrona.com so that www.valhrona.com is redirected to their site where they sell Valrhona chocolate as well as chocolate from 20 other producers.

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.

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What's guangja?

Google asks "Did you mean ganja?" I suspect you already know ganja and that it's not on the menu at WD-50.

:biggrin: Not if they want to remain legally open for a while.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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gianduja = chocolate, sugar, hazelnuts, originally from Turin

Guanaja = a Valrhona cru, named for an island near Honduras

(guangja = Caribbean-Italian fusion "jerk" chocolate risotto; also a province in China)

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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(guangja = Caribbean-Italian fusion "jerk" chocolate risotto; also a province in China)

So it's not a Honduran mole with Jamaican herbs?

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.

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What's guangja?

Google asks "Did you mean ganja?" I suspect you already know ganja and that it's not on the menu at WD-50. Gianduja, on the other hand, is chocolate and ground nuts, usually hazelnuts.

Thanks for the correction.

gianduja = chocolate, sugar, hazelnuts, originally from Turin

We were having an argument about the geographical origins of gianduja at dinner, my dining companions were trying to convince me that it was from Switzerland rather than Italy.

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We were having an argument about the geographical origins of gianduja at dinner, my dining companions were trying to convince me that it was from Switzerland rather than Italy.

Not a chance. It's the name of some Italian puppet or something.

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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Eric Asimov was on Arthur Schwartz's "Food Talk" show yesterday. Though WD-50 is not in Asimov's reviewing bailiwick, he has eaten there, so Schwartz discussed it with him. I haven't been to WD-50 (or to Clinton Fresh, for that matter), but the discussion was quite interesting, so I took a few notes.

Asimov began by commenting that, while the food Wiley cooked at Clinton Fresh was certainly creative, it wasn't all that way out. However, at WD-50, he feels that Wiley has gone "the mad scientist" route. When Schwartz asked for an example, Asimov chose the oyster appetizer.

His description of how this dish is created went something like, the oysters are mashed, squished, flattened, molded and frozen. There are other ingredients added. When it finally shows up on the plate, it looks like a "flat marble tile."

"What does it taste like?" Schwartz asked.

"Like oysters!"

"Is it worth all that work?"

Yes, because "it made it astounding when you taste it. You're taken completely by surprise. And you re-experience what an oyster tastes like."

He summed it all up as follows: "Wiley has the skill and imagination to carry off a restaurant like this one."

I wonder how many stars he would have awarded it.

Edited by rozrapp (log)
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"Gianduja refers not only to Piedmont's famous chocolate but to Piedmont's famous carnival mask. Gianduja the carnival character made his debut at the start of the 1800's thanks to the imagination of puppeteers Sales and Bellone in Asti, ... "click for more.

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.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wasnt really that impressed with WD50 tonight. We ended up going to Katz's afterwards.

Food seemed weird for the sake of being weird. I had the squid "linguine", which was kind of like eating rubber bands with flecks of serrano and little cubes of melon, and the while the lamb loin was nice and tender the pear broth thing with the micro enoki mushrooms didnt do it for me. Best appetizer was the duck pastrami on rye cracker, which is what put us in the mood for Katz's afterwards. Desserts were pretty good but not astounding.

Bar is nice, has lots of cool rums, cognacs and scotches. Markups on the wines were obnoxiously high. Sparkling riesling for 60 bucks? When it costs 15 bucks in a store? 20 tops? I don't think so.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Just returned from WD-50 with Rachel, Jason and Jon. Don't quite get what all the hype is about. The food was different but it does not achieve anything significant. We ordered: The squid pasta, which tasted quite good, but Jason later complained that it tasted like eating marinated rubberbands. Rachel's rougie looked interesting, floating in a sea of green sauce, which supposedly had chinese sausage in it, but none of us could taste the chinese sausage. Nonetheless, it was nice but not memorable. Jon's duck appetizer was voted the best of all we ordered, though being allergic to fowl, I didn't have any. The weirdest of all was the oysters I ordered which was paired with green apples and flattened into a square sheet. This absolutely defeats the whole purposes of eating oysters, which should be slurpy, sweet and juicy and slides down your thraot. The square thing did nothing for the oysters, and took out all the fun of eating oysters, and worst of all you practically have to scrape it off the plate.

The rest of the meal went pretty much the same: both Jason and Jon had the lamb, which I couldn;t comment on, but judging from their reaction, neither of them was blown over. Rachel had chicken with mushy peas and runny eggs, which she seemed to really enjoy. My wild salmon was cooked to perfection, but there was nothing spectacular about it.

Perhaps the one saving grace about Wd-50 was the dessert. The cherry clafoutis was paired with a walnut foam and pastachio ice cream, and taste like heaven. The citrus panna cotta went beautifully with a grapefruit sorbet. The parsnip cake was layered with a rich coconut ice cream and thin carrot wafer, a bizarre combination that actually worked. The caramelized banana tart was served with a sinfully rich chocolate ice cream and licorce sauce. Of course, the ganjua parfait with rice crispies tasted like a gigantic chocolate bar but better.

Overall, WD-50 is like a middle class teenager who wanted to be different without any real reason or purpose. However, on an early evening of a holiday weekend, the place is packed, so somebody muist be buying into the hype. My advice is go have your meal elsewhere, and eat dessert at WD-50.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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Bond Girl & Jason pretty much summed it up. But, since I'm the only person on this entire thread who admits to ordering the chicken, and it was probably the most tasty dish on our table, I'll describe it more fully. First off, I ordered the "Spring Chicken, English Peas, Pumpernickel Jus" because I couldn't remember anyone else commenting on it on this thread. I usually like to order fish at the "new unusual places" but had heard some negative comments about overcooked monkfish, and the chicken was enthusiastically described by our server.

When the plate arrived, there was a surprise of a poached egg quivering under the pumpernickel foam (why does the menu call it a "jus"?). The two halves of a tiny chicken were frenched and tied in a knot. These were placed on top of English, semi-mushy peas. I didn't expect starchy peas. I saw the word "Spring" in the description and thought they'd be seasonal fresh yummy peas, like we had at Blue Hill last week; I forgot that "Spring" applied to the chicken. Instead it was a splash of starchy ones. Doesn't that seem anti-New York restaurant somehow (i.e. not taking advantage of a seasonally available ingredient)? Next to that was the poached egg, the whites cut into sections and spread open to reveal the runny yolk, still intact, like petals of a flower. The pumpernickel foam tasted like, um, pumpernickel. I just don't get foams. They look like the scum you scrap off of stock. If you're going to serve a poached egg, why not just do pumpernickel toast points to dip in the egg? Despite my criticisms however, the dish worked. The runny yolk combined with the peas to make a creamy sauce for the almost perfect chicken (skin could have been crisper). I think I was the only one at the table satisfied with both the interestingness and taste of my dish.

Question about wild salmon: Shouldn't wild salmon be deeper in color, even more "salmony" than farmed salmon? This salmon was very pale in color, and tasted less of salmon than any other salmon I'd ever eaten. Although it was nicely cooked fish -- and tasty in its own way -- not at all dry, but closer to medium than medium rare.

Comment for hypothetical future Keller-esque menu editing: Name the Duck Pastrami app, "Ode to Katz."

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Question about wild salmon: Shouldn't wild salmon be deeper in color, even more "salmony" than farmed salmon? This salmon was very pale in color, and tasted less of salmon than any other salmon I'd ever eaten. Although it was nicely cooked fish -- and tasty in its own way -- not at all dry, but closer to medium than medium rare.

Was there a provenance on the salmon? The color of salmon depends on what they eat. Salmon thateat a lot of shrimp, for example, tend to be pink. Copper River salmon tend to be a deep red. Then theere are the "white" salmon, that, I believe, tend to eat a lot of squid and don't taste much at all like salmon. I think that they are also from around Alaska, but I'm not sure.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Just spoke with Wylie Dufresne, it was wild white king salmon from Alaska.

Geez. Has he been reading this thread? He's gotta be feeling a bit defensive about a few of the comments. :shock:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I probably have very little to add. The others have said it very well. Bond Girl even represented things she didn't eat quite nicely by astute observation.

The corned duck (really it was more of a duck pastrami, I think) is the one thing which totally and completely worked. Jason called it "an ode to Katz's"--which was funny since he'd never really been to Katz's as an adult before, and confessed to never having had the pastrami there (that was half the reason we went there afterwards--it wasn't just him complaining about WD's "small portions").

The taste I had of the Squid linguine interested me as well--perhaps the rubbery texture only got to you after a bit more. The sauce is what made it anyway.

The lamb was... just there. It looked lovely. It used wonderful fresh ingredients. The odd thing is, for a place we've otherwise accused of "being weird just to be weird" it was a bit safe. I'm sorry now that I didn't try the Pork Belly.

Also, as the others have noted, Pastry chef Sam Mason is very talented. Out of the five desserts we had, I loved 100% of them. The one thing which struck me is that Mason also has a mad-scientist kind of thing going on design-wise. The desserts aren't that high off the plate, but he manages to make them all very "three dimensional". Things are at different levels--on 45 degree angles, sometimes at right angles. The lines are occasionally curved. It just looks neat. And yes, they tasted as good as they looked.

One valid complaint we had that WD50 can easily fix was that the flatware was wildly innappropriate for some of these odd preparations. The spoons needed to be a lot shallower, or at least flat bottomed, to deal with the shallow pools of consume/gazpacho/whatever liquid of the moment. We all agreed that Bond Girl's flat reinvention of oysters needed some kind of trowel or maybe a spatula (maybe the flat bottomed spoon would work again here). A few of the dishes may have even been most appropriate to chopsticks.

Okay, in the end I guess I did have a bit to add. :hmmm:

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Nobu has been doing a squid pasta dish, i.e. using squid in the place of pasta, for years. At its best I think it is probably the finist hot dish they offer. However, if it is even mildly overcooked it gets rubbery quick. In fact, you can usually detect a texture change from the first bite to the last just due to the latent heat in the dish. Sounds like the WD50 version you had got a little too much time on the flame.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Just spoke with Wylie Dufresne, it was wild white king salmon from Alaska.

Geez. Has he been reading this thread? He's gotta be feeling a bit defensive about a few of the comments. :shock:

I don't think anyone's been overly nasty on this thread, although there's been a lot of constructive criticism, that's for sure. Apparently WD (the chef, not the restaurant) isn't internet literate. They know about eGullet and that there's been some discussion of the restaurant, but haven't read this as of yet. I'm sure they will get around to it. It's always good to keep in mind who may (eventually) be reading your posts.

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