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wd-50 2004 - 2007


flinflon28
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Perhaps "chemical" isn't exactly the right word to describe its effect on my palate, but there was certainly something a little odd about the way some of these things tasted.

FWIW, I'm pretty sure I know what you mean. I've never really been able to put my finger on it (much less articulate it), either.

I think part of my coming to like WD-50 was my getting used to it.

(I keep saying "it" because I can't come up with a word for the taste/flavor element I'm/we're talking about.)

It seems like Wylie in particular is fond of bitter flavors. I find with some of his dishes I want more sweetness to balance out the bitterness. I've never detected any "chemical" flavors (I think that would indicate a marked failure and many more diners would respond to it), but there is alot more bitterness in the forefront then most other chefs employ. At least that's a conclusion I reached after eating WD's food repeatedly.

I would imagine Sam is employing more of the chem-kit ingredients in his desserts any way. Does anyone think they've detected any off-tastes in his stuff? I certainly haven't.

Edited by Sethro (log)
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I've been trying to think of a couple of examples of what I mean by "chemical"

- metallic taste of some sushi

- the first couple of seconds pink bubblegum - before the powder dissolves

- food colouring from the bottle (yup - I was stupid kid)

- raw powdered gelatine (even stupider adult)

- watercolour paint (when I put the wrong end of the brush in my mouth)

- superglue (let’s not go there)

In no way do I wish to suggest that WD-50 put any of the above in their – but some of the tastes I recall were faintly reminiscent of the list above

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I've been trying to think of a couple of examples of what I mean by "chemical"

- metallic taste of some sushi 

- the first couple of seconds pink bubblegum  - before the powder dissolves

- food colouring from the bottle (yup - I was stupid kid)

- raw powdered gelatine (even stupider adult)

- watercolour paint (when I put the wrong end of the brush in my mouth)

- superglue (let’s not go there)

In no way do I wish to suggest that WD-50 put any of the above in their – but some of the tastes I recall were faintly reminiscent of the list above

Tony, you tasted what you tasted. I can't dispute that and I find your report interesting. One thing that has always impressed me whenever I have dined at WD-50 is the purity of flavor in those dishes designed to emphasize specific flavors and interesting novel flavors in those designed for that. While a couple of other members have now mentioned a similar experience to yours , the overwhelming number of reports including my own experiences have never mentioned anything like that. To me that implies that your experience for whatever reason was aberrant or your palate(s) far more sensitive than the majority of diners who have eaten there. While I believe that you do have a fine and acutely sensitive palate, I still suspect that the former possibility is the more likely scenario. Assuming that is the case there are any number of possible reasons for the aberrancy not all of which may be the fault or responsibility of the kitchen. I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not questioning your experience as a diner or your dining experience that night. However, when I read of an experience so alien to my own I am curious as to what might have been different or why.

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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However, when I read of an experience so alien to my own I am curious as to what might have been different or why.

I'm curious as well. While many have (accused) told me I'm a "super taster," I don't know if that is really a phenomenon. However, I would have to say that some of the tastes that Tony mentioned resonated with my experience - especially the "metallic" taste of the horseradish foam (not sushi), and food colouring from a bottle (Tony, you weren't the only stupid kid).

Regardless, maybe it's just a preference thing, or as doc noted, an abberant mishap or exception to the norm. I guess the only way I'll find out is to return!! :raz:

In the meantime, a friend of mine went to WD-50 on my recommendation and really enjoyed getting drinks. He even bumped into Chef Dufresne - something I missed out on my visit!

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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  • 1 month later...

Went to WD-50 for the tasting menu this past Monday. Since I had read a lot of this thread prior to our dinner, I was very curious to see how our experience would compare to the differing opinions here. We also got the wine pairings with the tasting menu:

Peeky toe crab, pine, chocolate, pea blossoms. Paired with a sparkling rose (Michel Freres 2003 Cremant de Bourgogne)

This was actually a chocolate consomme with a dash of pine oil, a bit of crab atop a slice of pickled water chestnut. The crab and water chestnut were really good together, and the chocolate consomme and pine oil were very nice. However, all put together, this did not work AT ALL. The whole thing was bitter from the chocolate, and the flavor of the crab was fighting against it. The wine somehow managed to tie the components together a bit, but kind of a disappointing beginning.

Carrot-coconut "sunny-side up"

Because I already read so much about this dish, I think I missed out on being surprised by the presentation. The flavors worked for me, and I didn't detect any chemical taste some others have mentioned. The carrot had a bit of a too-raw flavor, if that makes sense. The wine (same as above) didn't do anything for this dish.

Foie gras, candied olives, green peas, beet juice with Madiera "Rainwater" Justino

This again is a dish others have mentioned. The green pea "soil" was interesting, although a bit greasy and salty. I really, really liked the first two bites of this, but it was way too rich with nothing to cut through the fat. Just more fat and salt from the olives. The Madiera didn't help either, being quite rich itself. I made my husband eat some of mine, but he didn't want to. Thinking about this dish makes me feel sick (and I NEVER thought I could ever say that about foie gras).

Shrimp cannelloni, chorizo, thai basil with Greco Di Tufo 'Nova Serra' Mastroberadino 2003

We both really enjoyed this dish, and the wine paired very well. There was some lemon and date confit with the shrimp, and the chorizo cream was so good.

Beef tongue

With the typical fried mayonnaise and a tomato molasses, as well as an onion struesel and super-finely diced lettuce ribs. I liked this a lot. Again, the wine from the previous course didn't work as well with its second course. At this point, I wasn't thrilled with the wine service...

Miso soup, sesame "noodles" with a Chinon (Cab. Franc)

I loved the flavor of the soup and the "noodles" from a sqeeze bottle (texture was a bit rubbery, though). We were served a Chinon, which wasn't the listed pairing. I didn't notice until the next table got a different wine with their course a while later. Weird.

Smoked eel, peanuts, snow peas, whipped caramel

This was one of my favorite dishes. The smokiness of the eel was so good with the slight sweetness of the caramel foam and snow peas.

Spring lamb, carob, honeydew, fava beans with 'YL' Yves Leccia 2004

Probably my favorite, the lamb was cooked sous-vide and went surprisingly well with the honeydew and fava beans. This dish was an eye-opener: interesting combinations of flavors, and tasted really good. I also liked the water pepper microgreens, which had a nice spicy bite. The wine (Grenache-based, I think) was a good match.

Corn bread ice cream

This was also really interesting, in a good way. The ice cream was served on corn bread "soil", and was a nice segue between savory dishes and dessert.

Tonka bean brulee, sour cherry, marjoram with Vin Rose Paumanok 2005

I thought this was a great dessert--the brulee had a bit of nutty flavor, and the sour cherry sauce and soil had just the right amount of acidity.

Soft chocolate, sesame ice cream, ancho caramel, peanut powder with Commanderia St. John NV

The chocolate was great, but I didn't love the sesame ice cream...it almost tasted like someone poured toasted sesame oil on my dessert. I kept saying how weird it was, but of course I ate the whole thing!

Anyway, overall I'd say it was a mixed experience. Some of the food was great, while some items just didn't work (for me). I wasn't thrilled with the wine pairings. Also, the table next to us kept getting extra pours of wine, while we didn't get what was listed on the menu for whatever reason. I feel like I've had other meals that were just as interesting with better wine service and without the flubs in the food. Overall, still a decent value, though.

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Foie gras, candied olives, green peas, beet juice with Madiera "Rainwater" Justino

This again is a dish others have mentioned. The green pea "soil" was interesting, although a bit greasy and salty. I really, really liked the first two bites of this, but it was way too rich with nothing to cut through the fat. Just more fat and salt from the olives. The Madiera didn't help either, being quite rich itself. I made my husband eat some of mine, but he didn't want to. Thinking about this dish makes me feel sick (and I NEVER thought I could ever say that about foie gras).

Shrimp cannelloni, chorizo, thai basil with Greco Di Tufo 'Nova Serra' Mastroberadino 2003

We both really enjoyed this dish, and the wine paired very well. There was some lemon and date confit with the shrimp, and the chorizo cream was so good.

Just goes to show you can't please all the people all the time. That foie prep is literally one of my favorite dishes of all time. I could eat about 6 in a row, easy! The shrimp cannelloni on the other hand I usually don't finish (save for the chorizo emulsion). Its texture is a little rubbery for me.

Different strokes for different folks.

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What is not to like?

We were blown away by all of the food at WD-50 last week. Four of us had ala-cart meals. We rotated plates or our own tasting menu of 10 dishes.

While everything might not be a personal favorite, every dish had wonderful flavors, textures, and presentation.

The mushroom panna cotta sea slug in the soup was kind of a challenge. Pistachio caviar was wonderful.

We can't wait to go back to NYC.

Tim

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Foie gras, candied olives, green peas, beet juice with Madiera "Rainwater" Justino

This again is a dish others have mentioned. The green pea "soil" was interesting, although a bit greasy and salty. I really, really liked the first two bites of this, but it was way too rich with nothing to cut through the fat. Just more fat and salt from the olives. The Madiera didn't help either, being quite rich itself. I made my husband eat some of mine, but he didn't want to. Thinking about this dish makes me feel sick (and I NEVER thought I could ever say that about foie gras).

I love this dish too but it's a matter of taste.

What seems odd is pairing it with Justino's Rainwater Madeira.

While Rainwater itself is medium dry and I can see how the pairing would work, I think the issue is the quality of "Rainwater".

Justino's is totally cheap stuff that is mostly used for making sauces, it's like $11 for the whole 750ml bottle, it's seems like poor judgement and a bit chintzy to serve at a restaurant of that caliber....especially with such a special dish.

Edited by Vadouvan (log)
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Again, tonight. My first time not doing the tasting menu, we opted to share ala carte items instead. WOW the ala carte entrees are BIG. I was surprised.

Pickled beef tongue, fried mayonnaise, onion streusel

Still great. The mayo was nice and hot tonight. I've had it come out a little cooler and congealed once.

Hangar tartare, pickled Asian pear, amaro, bernaise ice cream

I love this dish. All I can say is that the quenelle of bernaise ice cream oughta be bigger. Its a tease.

Foie gras, beet, candied olive, pea soil

I requested it off the tasting menu and got my wish. Still easilly the best foie prep I've ever had, and one of my favorite dishes of all time.

Foie gras, watermelon, pistachio, sea bean, lovage

Surprisingly, I didn't like it. Watermelon is one of my favorite ingridients, but it didn't work for me with the foie...I think it either wasn't a great watermelon, or it was handled in some way that's result was a flavor inferior to the raw product. It wasn't a terrific piece of foie either. A little oily and stringy.

Squid noodles, basil something, something consomme, something I forgot altogether

Loved this. So bright, clean, and summery. Beautiful colors too. If I go back soon I will look foward to having it again.

Mediterranean bass, charred lily bulb, rhubarb, parmesan

This was a homerun. Branzino was the fish tonight, and it was cooked perfectly. The parmesan puree had an amazing texture (I'm guessing a pureed agar gelee but who knows), and was a perfect foil for the twangy rhubarb.

Monkfish, risotto broth, fennel, grapes, anise hyssop

The monkfish was nice, the fennel was great, and the broth was very hard to taste (partially because it required tipping to bowl at a strange angle just to get it into the spoon). I liked it alot but in retrospect its kind of forgetable, aside from its cool presentation.

Ocean trout, tomato-chickpea, cucumber, pita puree, falafel spices

Here's something WD rarely does: use ethnic ingredients in an ethnic dish. The only other example I can think of is the tofu noodles in miso soup. The dish was supposed to be all falafel up-side yor head, and totally was. The fish was amazing, I guess sous vide, in any case what a great texture. Everything on the plate was great in fact, a terrific dish.

Pork belly, sauerkraut spaetzle, swiss cheese consomme, romaine

I liked the flavors a good deal, but oh my lord, that is too much pork belly! For me at least. I would have liked a little more crispness or char on it too. Loved the swiss cheese consomme though. Cool dish but too heavy for me in the summer.

Rack of lamb, cranberry beans, parsley root, tamarind-cashew

Great, great, great cut of lamb, butchered beautifully. I loved the slaw too. The rest is a little fuzzy too me, but I liked it a lot.

Conbread ice cream, corn soil, pea shoot

Very good, and it tasted like cornbread, not just corn. A girl at the table commented that the corn soil was alot like cornbread crumbs, and while I can't really argue, I somehow imagine its much more complicated than that.

Local strawberries, black olive oil cake, bitter orange puree

Freakin great strawberries. Intersting cake, I don't know what black olive oil is, but the cake was a dark, mossy green. Probably one of the most simple yet stunning presentations ever to come from Sam. I wish there was something a little herbal in the profile, and maybe the bitter orange wasn't necesary, but it was a super-good summer dessert.

Soft chocolate, sesame ice cream, ancho caramel, peanut powder

Another ethnic, borderline fuison-y dish tonight. Soft chocolate was brilliant. Recipe please! The sesame ice cream was waaaaaaaay better than any other sesame ice cream I've ever tasted. It tasted more like pure sesame than a mouthfull of seeds. I don't know what besides steeping he does to get the flavor, but its so worth it. The caramel had a nice bite to it, but the paper could have been anything (or nothing) in contrast to everything else.

Parsnip cake, coconut-cream cheese sorbet, carrot, walnuts

Really good, but not something I really wanted in the summer. I'm still a huge fanboy of the foam enrobed sorbet trick, but Grapefruit in grapefruit has yet to be surpased, or even matched so far as that category is concerned.

Tonka bean brulee, sour cherry, marjoram

I have never tasted anything like this before, and thats what I really want to leave WD-50 saying. Its still lingering on my tongue, undefinable. I didn't love the texture of the brulee (spongy?), but I guess some sacrifice has to be made to have it in log-shape. This is the dish from tonight I'll think about for a long time though.

Caramelized banana, smoked chocolate ice cream, stout

I had this a month ago and it tasted very different. Tonight it was way more aggressive. The banana tasted distictly of sausage too, everyone noted it. I...uh...the foam was good...

Sam says you could smoke a cigar with this one, but you shouldn't eat the cigar. Very weird tonight.

Warm peach, coriander granola, iced cream

Maybe the prettiest dish I've ever seen. I wish I had a pic of it. There was a virbrant, dark green, glossy cilantro puree that knocked everybody's socks off. The peach mousse (gelan?) was awesome too.

I also had a few Malta Fizzes that I was just crazy about. Rum, Malta, and I forget whatelse. Think of a cross between a chocolate egg foam and a nice heady beer.

Once again WD and SM (who has been absent from the kitchen EVERY time I've been there! Bummer...) delivered in spades. Everyone had a great time. The service was impecable. New server Chris is a guy I worked with at Nobu and he is a total champ.

I'll be back again sooner than later. You're still the best, baby.

Edited by Sethro (log)
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Ocean trout, tomato-chickpea, cucumber, pita puree, falafel spices

Here's something WD rarely does: use ethnic ingredients in an ethnic dish. The only other example I can think of is the tofu noodles in miso soup. The dish was supposed to be all falafel up-side yor head, and totally was. The fish was amazing, I guess sous vide, in any case what a great texture. Everything on the plate was great in fact, a terrific dish.

Sethro.

What do you mean by "all falafel up-side yor head?" I'm 'a little confused. :huh:

I had this dish and I'd have to agree that the fish was EXCELLENT. I can't say I liked the accompaniments thought. (I posted somewhere upthread about this)

u.e.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

A recent meal at WD-50 included the foie gras, with watermelon, pistachio and lovage. The dish was perfect except, as others have said I didn’t find the watermelon to work well in the dish. I also had the pork belly which had a new component of basil seeds soaked in a liquor these were almost like little blue caviar eggs there texture offered a great crunch. The Malta fizz (rum, Malta, and egg yolk) created by Juice is not to be missed nor is Sam’s cornbread ice cream and powder.

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You should be grateful that Wylie didn't make it part of one of those big visual puns he's so fond of.

i think it was, just above my head.

btw, Juice seems to have picked up nicely at the bar where Eben G left off. anyone know where Eben is working now?

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  • 2 weeks later...
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/dining/26off.html

Does anyone know if Sam Mason has left already?  We're hoping to stop by for the dessert tasting menu next Friday if he's still around.

I don't know if sam is still there or not, but either way you can't miss because is replacement, Alex Stupak, is great also.

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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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone! Been a long time reader and finally got around to posting...

I can't wait for Stupak to start up having heard so much about Alinea (I need some sort of excuse to go to Chicago for Alinea and Moto hehe).

I had the tasting menu at WD-50 around mid-july this summer and it blew my mind.

I took my brother there and we had a great time. We talked with the couples sitting at tables to either side of us and engaged the extremely friendly bartender who made wonderful drinks.

After the marathon meal, we were taken back into the kitchen and met Wylie and we chatted about his food concepts along with El Bulli, Alinea and other things.

I took photos and commented on all the dishes we had which I posted on my blog (scroll about halfway down):

http://www.xanga.com/Huang_10?nextdate=7%2...513&direction=n

Posted on July 17th.

Love reading everyone's opinions on this type of food presentation and execution!

-Albert

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Not too long ago I tasted most of the Stupak dessert menu. The most memorable for me was "Black currant cake, black sesame, shiso, meringue."

Almost like a deconstructed peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The meringue contributed a "fluffernutter" parody to the dish that made it overall very enjoyable. By the way, I did not find the menthol mousse to be at all reminiscent of a cough drop. Actually it was subdued enough to meld with the lemon and chartreuse into something quite refreshing and pleasant.

-James Kessler

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Anyone had a very late dinner at WD-50? Will it affect the quality of the tasting menu as probably half of the kitchen team will fall asleep by 1am. Or it is quite usual to have dinner that late at WD?

I booked the latest reservation at 11pm, my flight arrives at JFK 10:20pm... hope to make it there by 11:30pm.

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