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i went to new york a couple of weeks ago on a vacation and tryed quiet a thew restaurant and i would really like to know what the fuss wd 50 is about?

i thaught th service was average ,the food was ok but i dont rate it that much.

the only "working" dish was the scallops ,th foie gras with anchovies just didnt do it,all i could get was the tate of vinegary anchovy, then eventually the foie gras ,it was impossible to get any bread to go with it. i could go on about th main courses but my bad experience wont do any good.

if you want my advice and enjoy real flavours and no trendy powders ,pretty but small portion, glamercy tavern ,and pearl are the real leaders . :cool:

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I suppose it's not surprising that the appreciation expressed for WD-50 is all over the place, but mostly at the extremes. Without managing to have eaten there yet -- and nothing I've read or am likely to read at this point will be likely to change my mind about wanting to eat there -- this thread has been food for thought and most of that thought is about the changing nature of restaurant food and cooking and how much more difficult it is to rank restaurants these days. Michelin has had it easy for most of its time. The French have had a pretty stabile idea of what a good restaurant is and how food should be cooked. Moreover, they've had a really strong single model with bistros and fancy haute cuisine restaurants at opposite ends of the same scale.

In the US, we have a long tradition of taking many different types of food and places in which to eat that food pretty seriously. Maybe the NY Times is not going to give four stars to any barbeque place, but we do tend to talk of four star hot dogs along with four star haute cuisine. It is possible to rank things in a similar group. So if we have trouble matching Thai food against French or Italian food, we can rate an individual restaurant against the others in its group. Restaurants such as El Bulli and perhaps WD-50 -- and I'm not saying they're comparable to each other in quality or innovation -- may not be so easy to rate without a specific target audience in mind, and it might not be so easy to predict who the target audience is in these cases.

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 enjoyed Wylie Dufresne's food immensely at 71 Clinton. Because of that, WD50 is no. 1 on my list of restaurants in NYC to go to. I'm glad that there is mixed opinion on it, so that my expectations will not necessarily be so high that they cannot possibly be lived up to. I found that to be the case at Nobu, for example.

My priorities are food that tastes great, looks great, professionally unobtrusive service, unique and novel combinations of foods and flavors, a nice room and value. The most fun experience is when a unique and novel combination of flavors and foods really tastes and looks great in a nice room with professionally unobtrusive service and someone else is paying :biggrin: I must not forget about a great wine pairing either.

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

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I try to make it to NYC yearly, eating at another large handful of restaurants that sprouted in the months since I've been gone. WD-50 is of particular interest to me because I would like to compare it to the other avant garde chefs in this country. All I have to go on is pure literary information at this point, and it doesn't look good for Dufresne. It certainly didn't sound as interesting as the food at Liebrandt's Papillon, which was quite good but not without technical flaws -- definitely a two-star review was in order. It sounds like the opposite for Dufresne: his ideas just aren't there on paper. The dishes in WD-50's repertoire strike me as relatively uncomplicated and without novel contrasts or combinations. E.g., the oyster dish sounds like, well, an oyster dish. This is not to say there aren't flaws in the kitchen, since it is still young. By the time I eat there, I'm sure the kinks will be worked out. (The desserts sound amazing, though.)

To anyone who has eaten the cuisine of Liebrandt, Achatz, neuvo Dufresne, et al.: Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

Much peace,

IML

ballast/regime

Edited by ballast_regime (log)

"Get yourself in trouble."

--Chuck Close

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Btw, I don't think Grimes' review can be attributed to Liebrandt's Atlas-Papillon-Chez Es-Saada downward spiral, as he noted in the Papillon review that the bistro didn't feel like the right stage for the size of Liebrandt's talent. I.e., Liebrandt went from three stars to two because of his venue, not because of his talent, and it seems no one is really sure what he is doing right this very moment, including the folks at Chez Es-Saada (I've called numerous times, trying to understand his involvement).

IML

"Get yourself in trouble."

--Chuck Close

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I continue to get more experience with creative food of course and my opinion is always apt to change, but when I had Liebrandt's food at Papillon, I felt the flavors were not thoroughly convincing. I thought it was still at the theorhetical stage. Sort of "what if I did this," where "this" sounds like a good idea, but where it also turns out that it doesn't taste as interesting as it sounded as if it might.

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 am sure this has been mentioned in another thread. But maybe it is the menu format at WD-50 that is causing this wide range of opinion concerning the food.

Do you think that because the menu is very traditional, 3 courses, that there is too much pressure on each particular dish?

I am a fan of the avant garde, and a proponent of it's evolution, but other restaurants in this category seem to go the multi course route.

Maybe the "flattened" oysters are not as controversial when 15 courses follow it.

When there are only 2 gifts under the tree, does that raise the expectations too high, dissapoint perhaps?

nb

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Maybe the "flattened" oysters are not as controversial when 15 courses follow it.

I had the same thought for a minute too, but having had both extremes, 22 courses at Trio and three at WD-50, the same principle holds true in both situations. My expectations are high at both restaurants and if a dish doesn't work in either place I'm responding to the actual issue (ingredients don't work together, etc.) rather than the fact that I have 20 more shots at it with the larger tasting.

As far as my meal at WD-50, I really liked it. Had the foie gras terrine with anchovies (I generally don't like white anchovies because of the vinegar as mentioned by someone earlier, but I didn't have the same problem with it), I liked the combination and thought the anchovies were a positive addition to the terrine. Also had the pork belly which was very tasty and smooth, but not nearly as rich as I thought it would be considering the amount of fat I was eating. The panna cotta, grapefruit sorbet dessert was a 10 (loved what I thought was a dried, carmelized grapefruit slice as a component). My son had the calamari linguine which we both liked and the sea bass with almonds and smoked scallions. While the combinations may not have been as exotic as Trio (where I had an excellent meal), I still found the meal very satisfying and interesting - excellent food, good wine and great service to top it off.

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Hmm, I find it interesting that (with the exception of lissome) all of the opinions posted here before the NY Times review were extremely positive. Since the review the posts have been mixed at best. Is it possible that eGulletiers' pallettes coincide that closely with Mr. Grimes? Or has the Times review made it safe to criticize a sacred cow? Maybe WD50 has suddenly deteriorated. Or is it possible that our opinions (myself included) can be swayed a lot easier than we care to admit?

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There is no question - I really have to watch myself so I a reviewer doesn't totally color my perception of a restaurant. On the other hand, about ten years ago or so I was burnt by a Robert Parker review of a wine (1990 Topolos Zin). He said it was going to be great in a big way - I felt differently in a big way after putting my money behind his review. Throwing money down the drain taught me a good lesson. Keep reading the reviews, but try and know the reviewer. I still read Parker from time to time and definetely read restaurant reviews all the time. But at least now I think I have at least a rough idea what Parker likes in a wine and read his reviews with that in mind. I read the Grimes' review of WD-50 and thought it was helpful, but when all was said and done, I still had a thoroughly enjoyable meal and I came to that conclusion, I would hope, mainly from my experience at the restaurant, not the review.

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My problem with the flattened oysters is not that it's controversial, but the purpose of it all. What are they trying to achieve by flattening the oysters? If by flattening those oysters, WD somehow makes a ordinary oyster taste phenonmenal, then by all means, flatten those oysters. But, what I had at WD-50 was a plate of flattened oysters that tasted like....flattened oysters. Which then begs the question: What's the point? If the only reason that those oysters were flattened was to look cool, then keep the oysters as is because at least they were juicy and slurpy that way. And, I can eat them without a plate scraper.

Edited by Bond Girl (log)

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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My problem with the flattened oysters is not that it's controversial, but the purpose of it all.  What are they trying to achieve by flattening the oysters? If by flattening those oysters, WD somehow makes a ordinary oyster taste phenonmenal, then by all means, flatten those oysters.  But, what I had at WD-50 was a plate of flattened oysters that tasted like....flattened oysters.  Which then begs the question:  What's the point? If the only reason that those oysters were flattened was to look cool, then keep the oysters as it because at least they were juicy and slurpy that way.  And, I can eat them without a plate scraper.

My inital reaction was the dish looked like the flying face sucker creature they had to pry off Spock's face in one of those old episodes of Star Trek.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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

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My inital reaction was the dish looked like the flying face sucker creature they had to pry off Spock's face in one of those old episodes of Star Trek.

Is that the same as those flying over-easy fried eggs where one of them landed on Spock's back and took over his mind?

http://www.startrek.cz/startrek/dily/obrazky/29-3.jpg

Edited by Fat Guy (log)

--

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My inital reaction was the dish looked like the flying face sucker creature they had to pry off Spock's face in one of those old episodes of Star Trek.

Is that the same as those flying over-easy fried eggs where one of them landed on Spock's back and took over his mind?

Yeah I think it might be. Might be different episode though.

EDIT: Nope, same episode, Operation: Annihilate, first season.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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

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Hmm, I find it interesting that (with the exception of lissome) all of the opinions posted here  before the NY Times review were extremely positive.  Since the review the posts have been mixed at best.  Is it possible that eGulletiers' pallettes coincide that closely with Mr. Grimes?  Or has the Times review made it safe to criticize a sacred cow?  Maybe WD50 has suddenly deteriorated.  Or is it possible that our opinions (myself included) can be swayed a lot easier than we care to admit?

I can't speak for anyone but myself.

I hadn't read the review, but knew that reaction to the restaurant was far from overwhelmingly positive. I didn't actively dislike anything I tried (either on my plate or anyone else's), but with the exception of a single item--the duck appetizer--I didn't feel any "magic". With four people and two courses--with only one item repeated between us (I'm not counting dessert), that was seven chances to wow me, and they only hit once.

For me, also, its something of a price/performance thing--as "unfoodie" as that attitude seems (I've in fact, made it clear many times on these boards that I am probably the least "foodie" person here). It was certainly not the most expensive meal I've ever had, but the cost was in a range where I felt that I was owed a bit more of that magic than the mere trickle I got. So the oysters were flat? So what, I found myself asking. And I don't want to dwell on the oysters, which were really the only item I found "bizarre". The lamb, as I mentioned in an earlier post, was just kind of dull. Well, to be brutally honest, really only dull for that price. And thus I reveal why I am not a foodie.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Bux:

The best dish I had at Papillon was a variation on his infamous foie gras (the one mentioned in the NYT review and that was pictured in the 2002 annual food review of Food Arts), whose overall flavor struck me as being close to an ice cream sandwich. The rest of the dishes were really good, but not particularly innovative. E.g., one chicken dish struck me as glorified comfort food, and his eel dish was a more complicated twist on unagi. The desserts were great. The only exceptions to the entire meal were champagne and cassis with Heineken foam (boring and dull -- would have been better with a hefeweizen foam), along with an intermezzo of green tea foam that was particularly limp in flavor. Overall, the food was very good, if not at times uninspired, but my overall sense was: Is this really avant garde? Haven't I tried these sorts of flavors before? These sorts of questions pop into my head when reading everyone's posts about WD-50 (with the exception of desserts). Which isn't to say the food won't be good, as I'm sure it will. But is it really all that and a bag of chips?

IML

b/r

"Get yourself in trouble."

--Chuck Close

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seems to me particularly inane to flatten oysters: what's to enjoy about the creatures if not their sensual texture and flavorful juice?

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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My problem with the flattened oysters is not that it's controversial, but the purpose of it all.  What are they trying to achieve by flattening the oysters? If by flattening those oysters, WD somehow makes a ordinary oyster taste phenonmenal, then by all means, flatten those oysters.  But, what I had at WD-50 was a plate of flattened oysters that tasted like....flattened oysters.  Which then begs the question:  What's the point?

That's a good question. I'm going to WD50 on Friday. I'll ask. Should be illuminating.

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To anyone who has eaten the cuisine of Liebrandt, Achatz, neuvo Dufresne, et al.:  Whose cuisine reigns supreme?

I ate at both 71CFF and Papillion April 2002. My meal at 71 CFF left me wondering why i had paid so much for such mediocre food. I dont remember every part of the meal at 71 CFF but i do recall that a lot of it lacked proper flavor and was not cooked properly( ie our cake was too dry and the fish was overcooked) Also, 'I remember that it wasnt as "out there" as I had expected. At Papillon Liebrandts food was incredibly adventurous. The flavors, even if they seemed oddly paired together, actually worked brilliantly. I still remember some kind of blueberry jello palette cleanser that had a beer foam on top..... and the best by far was the wasabi sorbet served on a block of ice, which absolutely blew me away. The prices at Papillon were also much more reasonable than 71cff. Needless to say, I was very upset that Paul chose to leave Papillon...... last i heard, he was a private chef,,,, does anyone know where he works now??

the menu at wd 50 does sound intriguing, especially the desserts since Iam a sucker for those

ok, back to being a camp counselor

ya roo i miss you

L

"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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jeunefilleparis, ballast_regime et al, I was impressed with Liebrandt's basic technical finesse. I have had rubber shrimp and overcooked fish from at least one award winning kitchen in NY. My scallops at Papillon were precisely cooked and translucent in the center, but try as I might, there was no proportion of dark chocolate and scallop that pleased my tastebuds. We returned again and when we did, the food was less adventurous, but more enjoyable, but not compelling. Still I find it sad that the restaurant couldn't seem to find a clientele for either kind of food.

WD-50 remains a place I must try for myself.

Is it possible that eGulletiers' pallettes coincide that closely with Mr. Grimes?  Or has the Times review made it safe to criticize a sacred cow?  Maybe WD50 has suddenly deteriorated.  Or is it possible that our opinions (myself included) can be swayed a lot easier than we care to admit?

I suspect most of us are not all that hard to sway, at least a bit. I wonder how much more effect one's table companions might have than any review. Perhaps they won't convince you that you are really enjoying food you don't like or vice versa, but they can certainly have an effect on how you appreciate the food. For many reasons, my wife is my best dining companion. Often, I've thought that more people at the table tend to distract from the attention to the food at hand, even when they are respected connoisseurs with a common food interest. Thus I was struck when a good friend and not infrequent table companion of ours remarked that a meal at El Bulli, needed to be enjoyed with several companions. What I took from his comment, was that the appreciation of seriously creative food is enhanced by discussion with others, just as the appreciation of a good book or film is made more meaningful by a discussion with others. The unique and wonderful thing about a dinner, is that unlike a book or film, the discussion can not only happen, but is most rewarding, while you are engaged in enjoying the creativity at hand.

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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Just briefly scanned through the new Gourmet on the stands which already has a review on wd 50.

I have never seen a review in Gourmet where they dogged a restaurant so bad!!

Oh My, If I was Wylie I would be paceing up and down clinton street.

It's really that bad. :wacko:

Robert.R.

Robert R

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Yes I remember, something on the menu was compared to Robitussin.

Yesterday the Post gave Wylie a fairly good review but when you are serving a type of food that is raising eyebrows I believe it open's door's for the critic's to sit and have a cold one and discuss who will say, It's shit It's gold and It's in between shit and gold.

Robert.R.

Robert R

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I have never spokon so harshly on this board and I apologize.

But this was not a bad review, It is a drag through the dirt business braking slap in the face.

Like I said earlyer in this post I expected wd 50 to take some flack but it sure don't deserve this.

There is even a reference to a Wylie impersonator that was posting on Lockhartsteele.com in which I was responding too,To I realized I was dealing with a impersonator and called the restaurant to inform them about the site.

My point being why would a magazine as big as Gourmet point at a site where it is obvious to a duck it's not Wylie but only some bored to death half wit.

Robert. R.

Robert R

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