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Especially, if they did any fact checking, they could easily call WD-50, Wylie freely admits to being internet/computer illiterate.

No kidding. He won't do a Q&A with eGullet because he's self admittedly clueless when it comes to using a computer.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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

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I met him at the Union Square Greenmarket sometime ago. I heard two guys talking about food and looked up to see him talking to Mike Anthony who introduced me. Mike had just finished the Blue Hill Q&A and I thought I'd have an excellent opportunity to plug the site. Wylie had never heard of us, but then it turned out that he was only vaguely aware there was something called an Internet. :biggrin:

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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Exactly my point.

Wylie and his father came to my table to thank me for letting him know about the impersonator at which time he said not knowing anything about the internet.

I do know he was not to happy hearing about the site and now that a national publication just told all of the U.S.A. to check out the impersonator of Wylie I doubt it's a happy night in the kitchen.

I just hope not that many people believe that it is Wylie writing about spilling the blood of other chefs on the street. :unsure:

Robert. R.

Robert R

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Twodogs:

Thanks for the link to the website. I have compiled hundred of restaurant websites in my favorites folder, and I eagerly try googling a new restaurant's name whenever I first hear of it. I tried looking for a WD-50 site weekly beginning a few months ago, but I just plain forgot. I'm glad to see that the site is simple and nice. Thanks.

To the rest:

It's hard to take Gourmet's review seriously, even though I haven't read it (yet). I remember the Atlas review, and I just perpetually rolled my eyes for approximately a week, which is probably what I'll do when I read the WD-50 piece. We'll see.

Much peace,

IML

b/r

"Get yourself in trouble."

--Chuck Close

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We called WD50 Thursday afternoon for a Saturday reservation and got a table at 10:30. (The other choice was 6:00). Remember the good old days when trendy restaurants laughed at you if you called 4 weeks in advance--i.e. 150 Wooster? We added a 3rd person on Saturday afternoon, and were seated at 11 pm. No attitude at the door, the bar, or the table. I live in New Hampshire now, and somehow missed the expected jolt of downtown superciliousness. Having read about the restaurant, I was prepared for the oyster "carpaccio" and the fois gras with anchovies, and actually enjoyed the way Dufresne plays with his food. The place seems as much a cerebral exercise as well as a sensory one. Was it the wine, or did he base the color scheme on the Heimlich maneuver poster on the way down to the bathroom? Try the pork belly.

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Finally made it to WD-50 tonight. I went with my folks and my cousins (5 total) to celebrate my birthday (my actual birthday was about a month ago, but this was the first time we could all get together.)

Anyway, to sum up our evening I would use the word fantastic.

It’s really a very cool room and the service is excellent and the food of course is excellent. I would say that every dish we had was very good, and most really stood out. I think that the meal was very enjoyable as a meal, but also as an intellectual experience.

The bread box (it’s a wooden box) contains very flat, flat breads, perhaps you would call them crisp, covered with sesame seeds (black and white). They are incredibly light and have a great saltiness.

For appetizers we had:

Rabbit sausage, avocado, grainy mustard paper, and dried apricots—This was a nice dish, didn’t excite anyone all that much, but my favorite component was the grainy mustard paper. I asked a lot about how they make things, but I totally forgot to ask about how they make the papers.

Corned duck, rye crisp, purple mustard, horseradish cream—This was good, but again I didn’t find it all that exciting. The duck was in strips wrapped around the top of a rye crisp and there was more duck and mustard and horseradish inside.

Gambon shrimp, onion-clove compote, red pepper, and preserved lemon yogurt—This was very good, the shrimp were cooked perfectly and really were enhanced the compote and the spiciness of the pepper, the yogurt added great citrus flavor as well as cooling.

Butternut squash-tamarind soup, scallop cous cous, lemon paper—This one was fantastic. The soup was excellent and contained no cream. The lemon paper was tasty and very cool. The cous cous was really amazing—it’s not cous cous at all, but finely chopped and cooked scallops. All of these elements really went well together

Squid linguine, cantaloupe melon, serrano ham, sweet paprika—Another delicious and very cool dish.

Foie gras/anchovy terrine, citrus chutney, tarragon—So this one of course I had read a lot about. I was really expecting a lot from this dish and it met my expectations. The foie gras was very creamy and the anchovy added a great salty flavor. What really put this dish over the top though was the crunch provided by the cocoa nibs sprinkled on top.

For our Main Dishes we had:

Cod, smoked mashed potato, pickled mushrooms, red pepper oil—Again this was great. The smoked mashed potatoes had a really great flavor and combined with the spiciness of the pepper oil really made the cod excellent.

Artic Char, pearl barley, pea shoots, spice bread—This was my favorite main dish. The Char was basically uncooked—well its cooked in the oven at about 250 degrees for some time until its hot, but maintains a very uncooked appearance and texture. Sprinkled on top of the fish are spice bread crumbs. The textures again were great and the flavors pure autumn.

Monkfish, snow peas, oyster mushrooms, bonito broth, mint oil—This was again excellent, I especially liked the bonito broth.

Lamb loin, aged goat cheese, wild arugula, cracked wheat, arugula puree, hibiscus-date puree—This dish was good, but the least exciting of what we had. The hibiscus-date puree was a nice sweat compliment to the lamb which was very well cooked.

Dessert:

The desserts were all very good, but I felt that only two of them, maybe three, were created with the same spirit as the rest of the menu.

Five pears, five ways—The ways were, consume, pickeled (in the consume), confit (in center of consume), sorbet (on top of confit), and chips (on top of sorbet). The sorbet was excellent with a great flavor and texture. The chips were very good as well. And the soup had a nice flavor. This was a good dish, but didn’t blow me away.

Roasted pineapple, red chili jelly, lychee-cilantro sorbet—The pineapple is roasted with vanilla beans and Japanese long peppers and so has a spice flavor on its own. The red chili jelly had a great kick and the sorbet great texture and flavor.

My favorite dessert was definitely the Parsnip cake, coconut-cream cheese sorbet, carrot paper. The Parsnip cake is light and in the shape of a financier. On top of the cake is a walnut tuile. On top of the tuile is a scoop of coconut-cream cheese sorbet, and leaning on the sorbet is a rectangle of carrot paper. This dessert is basically a carrot cake deconstructed and reconstructed. Each component was fantastic and all went well together, I especially liked the sorbet.

Gianduja parfait, chocolate cream, passion fruit coulis—This was very good and reminded me of my favorite cake—The chocolate Royal. It had a nice Gianduju mousse and a paillete feuilletine crunchy bottom.

Also since it was my birthday we got a little chocolate cake with a candle and tuile which was good.

Finally they brough us Red Pepper Gelees. These perfectly captured the essence of Red Pepper.

After dinner our waitress took myself and my godfather (cousin) into the kitchen and Dewy (Wylie’s father) showed us around. He pointed out the really cool bonnet suite and introduced us to Wylie. They explained to us some of the techniques for creating the dishes. The kitchen was really very well organized, very clean, and very calm.

I’m definitely looking forward to going back again.

Edited by mjc (log)

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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  • 3 weeks later...

wd-50 has to be one of my favourite meals of this year. we had late table last wednesday and i left wishing that all restaurants could be like this.

gone is the hushed reverence of many places with famous chefs, the snooty waiters and whispering guests genuflecting at the altar of food. instead, british guitar music, waiters who are having a blast and witty, whimsical, inventive food.

we ate squid lingine and butternut squash soup, roast cod and pork belly and pear five ways and gianduja parfait. from the chopped scallop couscous with the soup, through the sweetly crisp yet melting fat of the pork and to the subtle rainbow flavours of the pear, there was hardly a duff note. this is fun, inventive (there's that word again) that made me wave my fork, steal from my brother and keep badgering the waiter with questions.

i have to make some comparisons, mostly with el bulli. i'm not going to get into arguments about better or worse, because the two are miles apart. but both share desire to change, innovate (natch) and challenge the diner. but wylie, to me, has a much better crack at creating cohesive dishes made up of constituent, crazy parts. his lemon paper served with the soup was similar in execution to a pineapple and olive paper i ate earlier this year. but here it was an integral part of a dish that added flavour and texture to the soup, while the paper's flavour was deepened and rounded by the soup. the giandula desert reminded me of my single favourite taste at el bulli, a hazelnut that reminded me of ferrero rocher, but this time the reminded was of a very posh toffee crisp, all the more enjoyable for not being a single bite. most importantly, the atmosphere at wd-50 invites people to have fun while eating his food. unlike el bulli where i was at a table that had to be moved by two waiters every time i went to the too.

anyway, enough. i loved it. i just wish it were closer to london :-)

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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It is so cold that I feel my face turn into a frozen imprint that would crack in tiny rippled patterns, reminiscent of aged canvases of old masters, with even a slight expression of emotion. The middle lights on; no sidelights, I finally see a cab hiding behind several cars at a red light. A couple of steps forward to wake my stiff legs, and I am at full speed toward the promising salvation. With the side of my eye, I notice a woman with cartons increasingly speeding in the same direction. Could she possibly aim for my cab? I lean forward in a last desperate attempt and finish first, safely positioning one foot inside the car. “Can I have this cab?” asks the woman with a certain entitlement and no hint of shame. “Bitch,” echoes inside the cab as we pull off. 10+ years in New York city, and I still can’t get used to it.

There was no one to greet us as we walked into the dark, small room, with bare tables and exposed dark-wood ceiling beams, lacking ceremony or formality, stiff demeanor or any vibe of elitism imposed by a strict ceremonial dress code or stuffy clientele. Reminiscent of a fancy diner, illuminated by elongated, colored glass lamps, producing a dimmed glow and barely highlighting the contemporary art on the walls, the place lent a very distinct sense of being a neighborhood, around-the-corner hangout. It is only when one finds himself toward the back of the restaurant, closer to the stunning open kitchen, and has a chance to observe the precise movements and all the elaboration behind the scenes, that the sense of great monumentality and solidity behind the superficial noise of the dining room, swarmed with a deceivingly young crowd, takes over. In a matter of several minutes we were finally taken care of and led to a table toward the back of the restaurant where we had a chance to observe the kitchen in all its glory. While awaiting my daughter, who was supposed to join us any minute but was detained, we leisurely browsed through the menu and chose a seven-course tasting and one extra dish.

After we were teased by a stellar amuse, the next several dishes didn’t provoke any impulse to return right away until…But let me start from the beginning.

Sweet Maine shrimp, sauce gribiche.

A pale-pink raw shrimp was curled in a shape of a well, filled with airy yogurt and flakes of tarragon and capers, a tall, dry and crispy shrimp head sticking up from the center as a mast, and was lightly dusted with dry chicken-egg-yolk powder. The sauce, in fact, was a deconstructed gribiche, where the process of amalgamation of ingredients presented separately on the plate took place in your mouth with each bite. The dish had neither austerity nor pomp -- a tender, but plump shrimp, bathed in a shaft of its porcelain perfection, traded attention for the fluffy, whipped yogurt infused with smoked eel stock. This was a very good dish. The unexpected, smoky taste of the yogurt, slightly offset by the almost neutral-tasting egg powder, was intense by not intrusive. The dish showed enough frivolity and, at the same time, an exceptional lightness of touch. It was clever and simply delightful!

Foie gras/anchovy terrine, citrus chutney, tarragon.

“Wonderful!” said my daughter as I was deeply into my plate struggling with this dish. I raised my eyebrows, as I couldn’t find the right balance that would satisfy me, trying to manipulate foie and anchovies with either acidic/very lightly sweet citrus chutney or soft-and herbal-tasting tarragon purée splashed on the plate. The six overlapping pieces of halved anchovies, well-dried from their marinade and simply placed on top of the rectangular bulk of terrine, with nothing to bind them to the smooth, creamy foie, contributed a very strong salty/sour taste competing with another level of sourness lent by the citrus chutney. So what was the word “wonderful” applied to? As I looked at my daughter’s plate, I saw the anchovies lovingly piled in the corner. “Just push them aside,” said she, “and it’ll be wonderful,” …and it was! The biting, aromatic intensity of orange, the ravaging sourness of lemon and the very mild sweetness of foie couldn’t offset the fishiness and the distinctive vinegary acidity of anchovies. I didn’t find this dish either interesting or challenging. To me, without the anchovies, the dish was more appealing.

Smoked eel, cucumber, pumpkin seed, lime chip.

Three small, rectangular, flat pieces of cold-smoked eel, almost hidden under the generously sprinkled coarsely chopped roasted pumpkin seeds and a stunning fan of thin lime chips, were dancing around cucumber spaghetti twirled into a roll -- yet another smoky dish, adding a different perspective to the tasting menu. The saltiness and acidity of the eel was very well offset by the earthy pumpkin seeds, lending a slightly sweet overtone, but the real surprise came with the lime chips. Delicate and fragile, broken with irregular thin-stripe patches revealing a honey, whitish-buff, transparent surface, the façade of the dried lime was reminiscent of a veil, a laced curtain, a gentle lens through which the world would acquire the grace of its colors. One bite, however, and a strident, vociferous bitterness and acidity struck the palate with its full force, showing a remarkable disparity between the look and the taste. The wet cucumber, saturated with crème fraiche remained fresh and slightly crunchy, escaping sogginess from the moisture. To some extent, this dish echoed the previous amuse, but without foie gras, a more classical combination of the smoked fish/lemon/cucumber, so much loved in Finland and Russia but with a little twist, was much more pleasant, in our opinion. This was an interesting, nice, but not a spectacular appetizer.

Rabbit sausage, avocado, grainy mustard paper.

Two cylinders of rabbit sausage separated by a tall, irregularly shaped mustard chip were positioned right in the center of the avocado purée splashed across the plate. A tiny rack of rabbit a bright-green bean sprout leaf with baby “berries” at the bottom of the branch, and a piece of preserved, dark-orange apricot, lonely dwelling alone to the side, completed the composition. I didn’t have the impression that the sausage was made of ground meat. The distinct marbling, coming from the infiltrated herbs, separated pale chunks of rabbit, with a center piece of dark-pink squab meat and another side chunk of dry apricot. The sausage lent a wild taste, it was not overseasoned, so that a very thin and delicate in texture, though spiky and biting, “freckled” mustard chip punctuated the meat well. The smoothness of avocado and sweetness of apricot added a nice leveled and sweet contrast. An adorable, tiny pickled rabbit rib brought strident notes of acidity along with its tender meat. This appetizer was interesting, but by that time, I was getting a little tired of the pickled taste in my mouth.

Sardine, lentils, soy caramel, nori froth.

I didn’t enjoy this dish much. One lightly warm sardine was positioned in the center of the plate, with lentils, mixed with apples and hidden under the bubbles of nori, touching one end of the fish encircled in the caramel. The sardine had a slightly fishy taste, with perhaps some acidity offset by the sweet lentils and even sweeter caramel sauce. In fact, the sweetness of the caramel sauce overshadowed the sardine taste, and when eaten together, the dish was not bad.

Langoustine, celery noodles, shiitake, toasted rice broth.

“Now we’re talking,” said my consort, carefully biting on the pinkish flesh of a plump, meaty, springy and astonishingly sweet raw creature. This dish was simply fantastic! It was the breakthrough of the evening, and from that moment on, each subsequent dish was an astounding revelation worth many returns.

Elaborately composed, this small intimate dish was filled with a wealth of closely observed details. A large langoustine, resting on a hill of shredded celery coquettishly peeping out through the plump body, was bathed in a transparent, thin rice broth, producing a tantalizing smell of toast and smoke. A crown of pearly-blue, perfectly shaped, medium-sized langoustine caviar, and sprinkles of dry, bright-green celery straws enveloping one side of the body, completed the composition. This was the first time I tried this caviar. Not salty, with slightly crunchy texture, and a mild, non-fishy, non-bitter flavor, it exuded an air of aristocratic beauty with its monochromatic but opulent bluish-gray “clothing” adding to the dish a spark of marvelous energy. The celery brought freshness and created a nice background for the exceptional sweetness of the langoustine, which chef Dufresne gets from New Zealand. The most interesting component of the dish was its broth. Just slightly salted water, infused with an intense, distinct flavor of toasted rice and a strong woody taste of dry shiitake mushroom hidden inside the celery comprised a perfect balance to accompany the sweet, raw langoustine. This excellent dish was a carefully structured composition with a calm, balanced mood.

Slow poached egg, parmesan broth, tomato powder.

I was not looking forward to this dish and was a little upset that I didn’t ask for a copy of the tasting menu in advance and replace the eggs. When one consumes the same product regularly for an extended period of time, there is always a possibility that the magic, the expectation, the seductiveness would fade and turn into comfort, necessary nourishment, stripped of mystery and anticipation. I was raised on eggs with caviar. In fact, in one of my earlier posts I said: “The lingering taste of egg that is always present independently of what technique is utilized to prepare it can never give me enough sense of luxury that the texture of the egg or the fancy accompaniments could otherwise suggest. Neither caviar nor truffles can bring eggs to the next level of sophisticated dining experience for me, and are similar to blini, which will never rise above being just tiny pancakes from the nearest Deli even if served with caviar.”

I never thought the day would come when I would have to take my words back. This slow-poached egg was not only exceptionally good; this dish had a revolutionary effect on me.

A deep bowl held a chubby, plump egg, swimming in thin broth. The egg was topped with grated cheese ( “peppered” with bloody-red tomato powder) and baby chives resembling long, thin grass with black, round seeds at the root. The velvety egg white, looking like a sumptuous silk “suit,” was cushiony and fluffy with a tender and melting texture. As the spoon penetrated its surface, it broke into the soft, bulging, almost fluorescent bright-yellow belly, causing the flavors to explode with razor-sharp vibrancy from the liquid egg yolk released into the broth. Neither the warm-water broth nor the egg were seasoned when tried separately. It was the sharp parmesan cheese that provided the strong-flavored, salty finish as it melted into the broth (hence parmesan broth) and amalgamated with the egg. This dish was clever, brilliant and startling with dynamic, vibrant and visionary swirling forms. It had “signature dish” written all over it.

At that time, Dewey, the father of chef Dufresne and the General Manager of the restaurant, approached our table inquiring about our impressions of the dish. Casually dressed, which fit the overall restaurant atmosphere, he presented himself as a man with soft manners, sharp and knowledgeable. I couldn’t help but to share my astonishment at how this dish broke my stereotype of egg dishes. As it appeared, the egg is cooked at a very low temperature of 100-125 degrees in the shell for an hour to produce the fluffy texture of its exterior (Dewey’s description differed somewhat from the service staff’s version which was a 140 degree temperature and 35 minute(?) cooking time). The egg is cooled in the refrigerator until it is time to serve it. It is then quickly heated at a high temperature, spooned out of the shell and voila, the dish is ready.

A quick introduction, a gentlemanly compliment (which I took with gratitude and pleasure), and a generous offer to have a kitchen tour after dinner. After that, despite the crowded room, Dewey stopped by with each subsequent course, which was greatly appreciated by all of us.

Cod, smoked mashed potatoes, pickled mushrooms, red pepper oil.

Another dish; another success. This dish was somewhat different from all of the previous courses -- it was slightly heavier stylistically. Perhaps the notion of mashed potatoes enforces the feeling of comfort and gives a rustic air to a dish. Cod is one of my favorite fish, especially in the wintertime when its delicate, sweet flesh stands out. I like it to be cooked just before the flakes separate, so that when the fork pierces the flesh, there still prevails a certain level of solidity. It is then that the original flavor and the spirit of the fish are intact, and the texture is heavenly. My cod was just slightly overdone, according to my preferences, and the dish certainly lost its potential heights. However, the pleasant surprise came with smoked potatoes and sweet red pepper oil, wonderfully offsetting the strident flavors of smoked potatoes and pickled mushrooms.

The skinless fillet of cod was positioned in the center between the blob of mashed potatoes, which were supported from the side by the pickled, very vinegary mushrooms, and a puddle of brightly red-orange pepper oil thickened with red-pepper powder(?). Several crisp pieces of cod skin topped the mushrooms and brought a final touch of silver shade to the dish. I didn’t care much for the mushrooms: The vinegary taste was certainly intentional, but a bit too strong for my palate. The mashed potatoes, however, were surprisingly good. Though the texture was quite ordinary, they had a very strong, hearty smoked flavor. In fact, it seemed as though all the smokiness from the previous courses culminated in this one mass of off-white cloud. If tried separately, the potatoes tasted like double smoked bacon. However, when combined with the cod, they acquired a slightly fishy taste (in a positive way). Later, Dewey explained that the idea implemented in this dish was a flip-flop of a Scandinavian “smoked haddock mashed potatoes” dish. It was clever and certainly worked. The potatoes are smoked in the electric smoker until turned into a dry powder (“You certainly know that the best mashed potatoes are made from dry potatoes,” added Dewey while explaining the process to us). The potatoes are then simply mixed with cream and butter and are ready to be served.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future I’ll hear about Dufresne’s potatoes in the same manner as we refer to Robuchon’s potatoes now.

Squab, encrusted golden beets, sweet potato juice.

This dish was simply superb and a perfect conclusion to our savory courses. Two buttery-tender medallions of delicate, succulent and velvety, almost raw squab breast separated by a piece of strongly-flavored crispy skin positioned in between, rested in a puddle of a thick, sweet potato liquid whose vibrant, warm, brown tones created a dynamic, visionary motif, and whose sweetness subdued a whiff of that wild-game taste. The sweetness of the sauce was perhaps a little too intense but wonderful nevertheless.

Two fingers of golden beets “dressed” in a thick cloak of fine pomegranate-red beet flakes (made through dehydration) were set on one side of the plate. It didn’t seem that the only purpose of the beets was in complementing the squab, but rather in presenting a counterpart that would compete at the same level of forcefulness as the meat. The beets were excellent, and while I contemplated on its honey-sweet, crunchy nature, my daughter gently asked whether I was going to finish my second “finger.” What wouldn’t we do for our children!

I’ve noticed how much my perspective on and taste in desserts change when I don’t have sweets for a long time. I restricted myself in sugar for several months, and surprisingly, at some point, I completely lost interest in that part of gastronomic indulgence. In fact, I could take just a bite, evaluate the dessert, and put my fork down without any temptation to see the bottom of the plate. With a long restrain comes a new, more sensitive way of receiving sugary objects: The desserts generally taste too sweet, and the balance, to fit your preferences, is harder to find.

If there should be a destination place for a leisurely evening with smashing desserts, it must be WD50. I was simply smitten not only by the mastery of composition and perspective or the clever touches, so wonderfully continuing the general theme of the restaurant, but by how remarkably good it tasted.

We started with the Tangerine, olive oil, honey dessert.

This was a perfect buffer between the savory courses and the other desserts: Refreshment that could serve as a palate cleanser but was too good to be reduced to just that function. The sunrise dance of vibrant orange colors of this dish evoked a dynamism, swirling with pulsating energy, contrary to its gentle, cooling, tranquil flavors embodying bucolic peacefulness.

A bright-orange tangerine sorbet set on several fresh tangerine petals was topped with a transparent, shiny-gold honey caramel “blanket” and surrounded by several gelatinized honey cubes resting on drops of olive oil. Several fresh anise seeds, sprinkled throughout the plate, brought a strong, distinct spark of licorice. The olive oil offset and smoothed the anise wonderfully. This was a very intriguing composition with stunning colors and sensual tastes.

Coffee soil, butternut sorbet, basil.

“How do you like eating mud?” asked Dewey of my daughter. This was the most memorable dessert I have had in the past year: a taste sensation that was intellectually and sensually stimulating. Bite into it, and savor a surprisingly finely balanced contrast with a remarkably uninterrupted flow of flavors as natural as the idea of squash dwelling on soil. Simple and elegant, it stated serenity and lyrical fluency. With a very undemanding subject and a restricted “palette” of ingredients, the dish achieved a range of subtle effects.

Ground espresso with a smoked, earthy taste (mixed with crushed almonds, a little bit of flour, sugar and salt) was grainy and visually undistinguishable from soil. It served as a bed for soft curves of only slightly sweet, bright-orange-yellow butternut sorbet that seemed to have the most intense flavor of freshly baked butternut squash. An espresso/caramel sheet covered the sorbet, and a half-circle of gently sweet basil sauce with a very distinct basil flavor completed the composition. It was more than a mere depiction of an earth theme in this dessert. It was a perfect illusion and a glorious presentation.

Rum roasted banana, milk chocolate ice cream, curry was a more forceful dessert with stronger sweet notes and flavor combinations than in previous dishes. It was a little too forthcoming for me, but still very enjoyable. A roasted banana with a shining rum glaze, resting on the sand of brown sugar crumbs, lie parallel to the beige, luscious ice-cream, set on a long “rug” of a thin curry splash, which bestowed the most exotic perfume as soon as the plate was in front of us. A bridge of crispy banana chip with a sweet spiky bite of black and red pepper joined the ice-cream and the roasted banana. A small mound of soft and very lightly gelatinized red soy caramel jelly contrasted with the yellow curry stripe and finished the composition. It was an interesting twist on a more traditional dessert, but all the little touches worked perfectly well.

Right after our dinner, we were taken to the kitchen, a large room with overwhelmingly bright lights and clean surfaces. One could hardly imagine that this was the place that just fed the full room of people. As soon as we stepped inside, a sense of leisure evaporated. Dewey’s mildness transformed into a strong will of command which gently but firmly indicated that we were in his domain now and should behave. We were put in a line, away from the long tables and the kitchen exit, after which Dewey, with a habitual, sharp manner described the kitchen design and its functional features. “Table 37. Three tastings,” Dewey introduced us to Wylie Defresne. A man with Lord Byron’s side whiskers turned and smiled.

A light chat, handshakes, and a memorable picture of my daughter between two handsome gentlemen, Wylie Dufresne and Mike Sheerin (sous chef), completed our evening’s composition.:smile: We shall return.

It is quite natural to apply one’s previous experience in an attempt to find a parallel between different entities of the past or the present. Robert Brown mentioned earlier in this thread that one of the dishes reminded him of a dish he just had in Spain. The chef’s fascination with smoke and cold smoked fish brings us to Scotland, Finland, perhaps even Russia and Poland. Smoked rice and shiitake mushrooms certainly show an Asian influence. The man takes us around the world with his own, very distinctive style that appears simple, natural, without strain or artifice.

“Got to give him credit for trying. He made you think a little about which flavors are complementary. Also, since the portions are small, he can afford to take chances even if he misses now and then,” said my friend after our discussion of my dinner at WD50. He was right on target. I can easily imagine some people viewing chef Dufresne’s cuisine as toy food, too experimental and not comforting, perhaps too abstract and free from traditional constraints, too inclusive and indiscriminate. It is certainly an adventure, where chef Dufresne exercises his freewheeling license to be uninhibited and creative. Huxley said once about Montaigne: “Free association artistically controlled – this is the paradoxical secret of Montaigne’s best essays. One damned thing after another – but in a sequence that in some almost miraculous way develops a central theme …”

For us, not everything worked, but everything was worth trying, and some dishes were spectacular.

Edited by docsconz (log)
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LXT, thank you for your comprehensive and entertaining review. I am always impressed by the wonderful writing that comes from many -e-gulleters...this review is simply wonderful.

I don't agree with your assessment of the chef's abilities, however.

I've only been to Clinton, not WD, but my reaction to my meal there was similiar to my reaction as I read the descriptions in your review: either grimaced in horror or laughed outloud. His entire repertoire reminds me of the friends episode where Rachel makes the Trifle for Thanksgiving dessert, the cookbook pages stick together, and she adds a layer of ground beef to the dessert. Of course, Rachel was trying to please...I've always gotten the impression WD was trying to shock.

edited to add that I can't believe I missed this thread and interesting discussion.

Edited by Kim WB (log)
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Thank you, Lana.

Once again, you have very effectively sold a restaurant.

Two questions:

Please describe the tangerine petals a little.

And, if I may, how much did this tasting cost?

I have to check this place out one of these days. Sheesh, I'm within easy walking distance!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thank you, Lana.

Once again, you have very effectively sold a restaurant.

Two questions:

Please describe the tangerine petals a little.

And, if I may, how much did this tasting cost?

I have to check this place out one of these days. Sheesh, I'm within easy walking distance!

Menu

A seven-course tasting is $95.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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