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creativity is difficult and it becomes more difficult as you press forward if you take the definition of the word seriously....im glad some people enjoy somethings some of the time.....its hard (impossible) for everyone to enjoy everything lest you always produce vanilla ice cream......

Oh, definitely! It must be very difficult to feel like you're not repeating yourself or getting stuck in a rut. My "plagiarism" comment was only in jest.

Even though some of the flavor combinations were not to my liking, I enjoyed the desserts very much. For the ones I didn't like quite so much, I'm glad I had the experience and ability to try them out. And I will definitely be back, many times, in the future.

Thanks for responding, Alex!

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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thursday night sat at the bar with m'lady and grubbed.

foie mole, duck pastrami; lamb loin, pork belly.

ridiculous. really really good.

i've eaten at wd at least a dozen times and this was by far the best. not sure why; it just all came together. i have ordered the pork belly EVERY SINGLE TIME. i ate the belly with spaetzle and gruyere consomme 5 or 6 times in a row.

i just love pork belly. and this one is amazing too.

sweetside.....

creamsicle, coffee cake, soft chocolate, lemon.

damn the kid can cook.

great drinks.....rye and quince, malta fizz.

loved the bonarda by the glass.

more people should eat at wd-50.

"the soul contains three elements in dining: to feel, to remember, to imagine." --andoni luiz aduriz

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im glad to hear that our work is being well received by some....i appreciate your comments...

some new dishes i hope to put forward by the deadline of may...

chocolate...tortilla puree, frozen banana, cinamon

fried dough...adkudjura, caramel, licorice

pumpenicle-kunik-blackberry

strawberry...popcorn, peanuts, sesame seeds

rhubarb-rose

were also working on the perfection of chewey ice cream.....not there yet, but soon

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im glad to hear that our work is being well received by some....i appreciate your comments...

some new dishes i hope to put forward by the deadline of may...

chocolate...tortilla puree, frozen banana, cinamon

fried dough...adkudjura, caramel, licorice

pumpenicle-kunik-blackberry

strawberry...popcorn, peanuts, sesame seeds

rhubarb-rose

were also working on the perfection of chewey ice cream.....not there yet, but soon

Chewy Ice Cream!?! Yes Please! :cool:

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could someone tell how ice cream becomes better than it already is by making it "chewy"

There is a concept written about in the elBulli books that they call "The Sixth Sense." This is all about factors that effect one's perception and enjoyment of food. External associations and the concept of "surprise" are elements that contribute to that sense. Making ice cream "chewy" may or may not be inherently "better", but the contextual change may in itself be fun, interesting and pleasure enhancing - at least to some. If one enters with a closed mind, it will almost certainly not be appreciated. From my experience, I am more than willing to see what Chef Stupack can do.

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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could someone tell how ice cream becomes better than it already is by making it "chewy"

There is a concept written about in the elBulli books that they call "The Sixth Sense." This is all about factors that effect one's perception and enjoyment of food. External associations and the concept of "surprise" are elements that contribute to that sense. Making ice cream "chewy" may or may not be inherently "better", but the contextual change may in itself be fun, interesting and pleasure enhancing - at least to some. If one enters with a closed mind, it will almost certainly not be appreciated. From my experience, I am more than willing to see what Chef Stupack can do.

Thanks doc, valid explanation. I just think sometimes this stuff gets a little gimicky. As cynical as I am I to go to these restaurants with an open mind. In fact the 3x I've been to WD-50 I've really enjoyed the creativity of the concepts of each plate, as well as most of the all the flavors. Sweet and Savory. The last time I went I sat at the bar specifically to try Alex's desserts, and was annoyed to find most of the dessert that described on the menu scattered all over the plate and I couldn't really sink my teeth into any of it. A crumble here a swipe there. By the end I was taking all of the contents on the plate and pushing them to the center, so I could get at least 2 maybe 3 bites of substance. Perhaps I'm close minded or old fashioned, and belong with the cuozzo crowd. It's just that Iwasn't really Wowed by anything or surprised either. Oh well, I'll keep eating and keep posting, Peace

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could someone tell how ice cream becomes better than it already is by making it "chewy"

There is a concept written about in the elBulli books that they call "The Sixth Sense." This is all about factors that effect one's perception and enjoyment of food. External associations and the concept of "surprise" are elements that contribute to that sense. Making ice cream "chewy" may or may not be inherently "better", but the contextual change may in itself be fun, interesting and pleasure enhancing - at least to some. If one enters with a closed mind, it will almost certainly not be appreciated. From my experience, I am more than willing to see what Chef Stupack can do.

Thanks doc, valid explanation. I just think sometimes this stuff gets a little gimicky. As cynical as I am I to go to these restaurants with an open mind. In fact the 3x I've been to WD-50 I've really enjoyed the creativity of the concepts of each plate, as well as most of the all the flavors. Sweet and Savory. The last time I went I sat at the bar specifically to try Alex's desserts, and was annoyed to find most of the dessert that described on the menu scattered all over the plate and I couldn't really sink my teeth into any of it. A crumble here a swipe there. By the end I was taking all of the contents on the plate and pushing them to the center, so I could get at least 2 maybe 3 bites of substance. Perhaps I'm close minded or old fashioned, and belong with the cuozzo crowd. It's just that Iwasn't really Wowed by anything or surprised either. Oh well, I'll keep eating and keep posting, Peace

Your question was valid. I wasn't suggesting that you have a closed mind

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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I was annoyed to find most of the dessert that described on the menu scattered all over the plate and I couldn't really sink my teeth into any of it. A crumble here a swipe there. By the end I was taking all of the contents on the plate and pushing them to the center, so I could get at least 2 maybe 3 bites of substance.

I think what sucio describes here is a frequent problem with restaurants that try to go "molecular/experimental" - but mostly with restaurants that don't really understand what the whole thing is about (that is not to say that WD-50 is one of those places!!).

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chewey ice cream is neither a new nor creative idea.......ever heard of turkish ice cream? in turkey they had a substance called sahlep to there base....it is the dried-ground root of a mountain orchid indigenous to the region.....unfortunately it is unavilable for use in food in most countries.....turkish ice cream can actually be eaten with a fork and knife yet still melts in the mouth.....thru further research ive discovered that there is a hydrocolloid present in the root making it happen....since wd-50 has more access to food additive technology than any other restaurant in the country were hot on the search for a sahlep equivalent.....

no one can please everyone as a chef and i dont care to.....i eat every piece of mise en place that is produced by the pastry department and i plate 70 percent of the desserts here.....i dont beleive perfection is attainable but after 8 months here im very proud of what i produce and in that short time have had the oppurtunity to serve more notable and respected chefs than i have in the previous 5 years combined.....it only gets better i think.....a chefs work is never done.....

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Just a brief note to say that I went to wd-50 last week. A top-notch experience again, great staff and great food.

Two dishes were new to me:

Sweetbreads, cabbage-kaffir, water-chestnuts

Incredible, I could have eaten two more servings. I do not know how they were cooked, but they were served with a coating of (dried) Chamomile. The combination was outstanding.

Coffee cake, ricotta, maraschino, chicory ice cream

New to me. It was served after the "soft-chocolate" so if you are a choc-aholic you would have been in heaven. It was nothing new but very good combination of flavors. It reminded me (a little) of the Havana at Celler.

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Sounds like "chewy ice cream" is a way to produce a kulfi-like texture without the ever-present kulfi odor. Is it?

im not sure what you mean by kulfi odor...kulfi is flavored in a myriad of ways and its base could be a variety of milk or egg products that shouldnt have an odor unless something is wrong with them....regardless my goal is nothing close to kulfi.

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Dropped in on WD-50 this past Sunday at around 9pm to taste some desserts. We asked to sample some desserts at the bar, since we were walk-ins, but they asked if preferred a table, which was fine.

I hadn't been back for about 12 months and they have spruced up the place in the intervening time -- it felt much more warm and welcoming than my previous visit. The dining room was nearly full when we arrived although the crowd soon thinned out as others finished up their meals.

It was my first time tasting what Stupak is capable of, having never been to Alinea, and I was excited having read the reviews on eGullet.

We ordered five desserts between the two of us.

Yogurt parfait, pine, apple, pineapple (get it?) -- Absolutely delicious. The flavor of apples permeated the dish, and it tasted very fresh and clean. The pine accent was neither overpowering or odd, and worked very well with the parfait and apple ice cream. I also really enjoyed the playfulness and texture of strips of "apple leather" strewn about the plate. Refreshing and tasteful; it really woke up my tastebuds.

Creamsicle, rooibos, squash, orange blossom -- Probably my favorite of the five. The combination of flavors was fantastic and I was delighted by the "creamsicle." Particularly when the vanilla ice cream center spurted out of the tube when I took a corner off with my fork. This was perfect: whimsical, delicious, nostalgic, artfully presented, and highly addictive; again, I felt like my eyes were wide open, enjoying the flavors. We were fighting over the scraps by the end.

White chocolate cream, black sesame, argan oil, carrot  -- Although carrot is listed last in the ingredients list, I found that it really dominated the dessert with carrot ice cream and thin "chips" of carrot flavor decorating half spheres of white chocolate cream. I found the carrot accents to be unobjectionable when combined with white chocolate, but the carrot ice cream was not a winner in my book. The white chocolate was beautiful and tasty, though. I found this dish to be very interesting but the meh-ness of the carrot ice cream was a misstep.

Coffee cake, ricotta, maraschino, chicory ice cream -- I really loved the chicory ice cream, which was on a bed of soil (chocolate perhaps), and dried cherries. The cherries were a little hard to eat, especially because I wanted a little bit of cherry with every bit of ice cream and soil. I do love that soil, though. The coffee cake portion of the dish was three cubes of soft, fluffy cake, coated in what I believe is some sort of chicory sauce concoction. I found that the sauce overpowered the delicate flavor of the cake, and found it to be a bit bitter for my palette. The "ricotta" was dollops of white sauce, and I didn't find it really added anything to the taste. It was just...there. The ice cream/soil/cherries combination was the winner here and I could take or leave the cake cubes.

Soft chocolate, avocado, licorice, lime -- How do you improve upon chocolate? I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask here, but for me, this dish was asking how to really bring out the flavors and richness of chocolate, without covering up it's, um, chocolate-y-ness. The soft chocolate was just that -- a gorgeous twisted ribbon of soft chocolate. It looked solid, like some sort of chocolate I-beam, that had been carefully twirled between two fingers, but was the perfect texture and softness when it met my fork. The wonderful high quality chocolate, balanced by the smallest bit of avocado or lime sauce was melt-in-your-mouth heaven.

Petit fours were juniper and lime marshmallows. They were small, circular, and fragrant. I loved the sugary texture on the outside and the flavor; my boyfriend was not as impressed but he doesn't love marshmallows like I love them.

My only regret is not having room for a 6th dessert (would have gone for the yuzu).

Photos forthcoming.

I did a similar thing last month. I walked in around 6pm on a Friday. I ordered the entire dessert menu. I had everything you had plus 2 other desserts (Hazelnut, banana, and parsnip; and Elderflower, Lychee, green tea, and black currant). My favorite was the latter.

I had the same reaction with the carrot dessert. At first, I thought it was rancid because it was sour. The goma-white chocolate combination was good, but the carrot just ruined it for me.

I needed something salty so I ordered the beef tongue dish at the end. Creativity aside, it was a mediocre dish.

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Dropped in on WD-50 this past Sunday at around 9pm to taste some desserts. We asked to sample some desserts at the bar, since we were walk-ins, but they asked if preferred a table, which was fine.

I hadn't been back for about 12 months and they have spruced up the place in the intervening time -- it felt much more warm and welcoming than my previous visit. The dining room was nearly full when we arrived although the crowd soon thinned out as others finished up their meals.

It was my first time tasting what Stupak is capable of, having never been to Alinea, and I was excited having read the reviews on eGullet.

We ordered five desserts between the two of us.

Yogurt parfait, pine, apple, pineapple (get it?) -- Absolutely delicious. The flavor of apples permeated the dish, and it tasted very fresh and clean. The pine accent was neither overpowering or odd, and worked very well with the parfait and apple ice cream. I also really enjoyed the playfulness and texture of strips of "apple leather" strewn about the plate. Refreshing and tasteful; it really woke up my tastebuds.

Creamsicle, rooibos, squash, orange blossom -- Probably my favorite of the five. The combination of flavors was fantastic and I was delighted by the "creamsicle." Particularly when the vanilla ice cream center spurted out of the tube when I took a corner off with my fork. This was perfect: whimsical, delicious, nostalgic, artfully presented, and highly addictive; again, I felt like my eyes were wide open, enjoying the flavors. We were fighting over the scraps by the end.

White chocolate cream, black sesame, argan oil, carrot  -- Although carrot is listed last in the ingredients list, I found that it really dominated the dessert with carrot ice cream and thin "chips" of carrot flavor decorating half spheres of white chocolate cream. I found the carrot accents to be unobjectionable when combined with white chocolate, but the carrot ice cream was not a winner in my book. The white chocolate was beautiful and tasty, though. I found this dish to be very interesting but the meh-ness of the carrot ice cream was a misstep.

Coffee cake, ricotta, maraschino, chicory ice cream -- I really loved the chicory ice cream, which was on a bed of soil (chocolate perhaps), and dried cherries. The cherries were a little hard to eat, especially because I wanted a little bit of cherry with every bit of ice cream and soil. I do love that soil, though. The coffee cake portion of the dish was three cubes of soft, fluffy cake, coated in what I believe is some sort of chicory sauce concoction. I found that the sauce overpowered the delicate flavor of the cake, and found it to be a bit bitter for my palette. The "ricotta" was dollops of white sauce, and I didn't find it really added anything to the taste. It was just...there. The ice cream/soil/cherries combination was the winner here and I could take or leave the cake cubes.

Soft chocolate, avocado, licorice, lime -- How do you improve upon chocolate? I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask here, but for me, this dish was asking how to really bring out the flavors and richness of chocolate, without covering up it's, um, chocolate-y-ness. The soft chocolate was just that -- a gorgeous twisted ribbon of soft chocolate. It looked solid, like some sort of chocolate I-beam, that had been carefully twirled between two fingers, but was the perfect texture and softness when it met my fork. The wonderful high quality chocolate, balanced by the smallest bit of avocado or lime sauce was melt-in-your-mouth heaven.

Petit fours were juniper and lime marshmallows. They were small, circular, and fragrant. I loved the sugary texture on the outside and the flavor; my boyfriend was not as impressed but he doesn't love marshmallows like I love them.

My only regret is not having room for a 6th dessert (would have gone for the yuzu).

Photos forthcoming.

I did a similar thing last month. I walked in around 6pm on a Friday. I ordered the entire dessert menu. I had everything you had plus 2 other desserts (Hazelnut, banana, and parsnip; and Elderflower, Lychee, green tea, and black currant). My favorite was the latter.

I had the same reaction with the carrot dessert. At first, I thought it was rancid because it was sour. The goma-white chocolate combination was good, but the carrot just ruined it for me.

I needed something salty so I ordered the beef tongue dish at the end. Creativity aside, it was a mediocre dish.

Many people espouse eating dessert first, but unfortunately that doesn't always work out for the best. Might the order of your meal have contributed to your perception of the tongue? I know that it would have for me.

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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  • 5 weeks later...

Ate at WD-50 on the 7th May and had a very enjoyable meal, we went for the tasting menu and the wine pairing.

Service was good and we ended up talking to the couple on the table next to us who were there to celebrate her birthday. As the guy had not told WD-50 I asked them to send over something for her birthday and they sent out an extra course for her.

This was the best meal we had in NYC

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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  • 1 month later...

While the majority of my summer has been spent working in Chicago, I managed to get away for a couple days over the Independence Day holiday and come back home. It had been a long while since I'd last been to wd~50 and had not sampled Chef Stupak's work since a meal at Alinea well over a year ago. wd~50 seemed an ideal way to start off a month that will later include meals at Moto, Alinea, and Schwa, three Chicago restaurants known for their innovative cuisine. It will be interesting to see how wd~50--effectively New York's only modern restaurant now that Chefs Liebrandt, Goldfarb, Kahn, and Mason are at present lying beneath the dining public's radar--compares to the latest offerings from these three Second City restaurants.

Over the past couple of years it seems that wd~50 has continued to mature to a point where the cuisine, service, and operational facets all seem to work together. This is not to say my visits in the past lacked this harmony but tonight everything just seemed run almost uncannily smoothly. This is still a restaurant that continues to push boundaries and innovate fiercely but does so in way that rarely betrays the overarching casual-meets-creative concept of the restaurant.

I was very pleased with how accommodating the restaurant was with my menu requests. As usual, I wanted to sample as many dishes as possible and was granted the option to do a side-by-side tasting menu with my dining partner for the evening. I also requested one dessert substitution--as much as I enjoyed the soft chocolate, lime ice cream, and licorice at Alinea, this meal was an opportunity to try as many of Chef Stupak's desserts as possible--that was granted easily.

Without going into too much detail on the twenty or so dishes I sampled this evening, a couple standouts are worth noting.

Shrimp and tarragon macaroons and "pizza pebbles" started the meal. I was reminded of the "snacks" that start meals at El Bulli; to me, this is a very positive association.

Knot foie is literally a knot of foie. Very cool looking.

In lieu of the beef tongue dish that remains on the menu, we were served two other dishes, perhaps because it was clear that we'd each had the original a couple times, or maybe they were just out. Anyway, the fried quail with banana tartar was totally delicious.

French onion soup is one of the best usages of spherication that I've come across. Subtle, visually compelling, and delicious.

Surf clam salad with watermelon and fermented black bean "seeds" was another great whimsical presentation. It was also a great way to really push the boundary between sweet and savory using unexpected ingredients.

The coffee gnocchi, served with Wagyu flat iron steak, are pretty intense. They taste seriously of coffee, in a surprisingly good way.

My comments on Chef Stupak's desserts perhaps expectedly are cast in direct comparison to Chef Kahn's former work at Varietal. As I've made quite clear on these boards before, I am, with the exception of the incomparable FoodPassion, Jordan Kahn's biggest fan. Chef Stupak's desserts are aesthetically and stylistically similar but, I feel, theoretically different. Where as Chef Kahn seemed to take an idea and explode it on the plate, Chef Stupak takes an idea and pares it down and hones it. While I may be a fan of the former approach, I still find the desserts at wd~50 to be among the most compelling and interesting in the city. The pre-desserts of strawberry/popcorn and argan oil horchata/canteloupe were really quite special for combining unexpected savory items within a subtly sweet backdrop.

So all in all, a really great meal. I couldn't have asked for anything more and took a lot away from the meal for my own continuing culinary education. Out here on the interweb you hear occasional (and conflicting) reports that say, like, "Oh wd~50 isn't doing anything new anymore" or "wd~50 has been going downhill because they're trying too hard with challenging flavor combinations now". To put it bluntly, I can't possibly see where these opinions are coming from. wd~50 may not be the restaurant for everyone, but to say it's not innovating and/or not putting out tasty food is simply not true.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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Nice post, Bryan. I don't get to WD-50 nearly as often as I would like. Last time I was there was January at which time I had all new dishes. It is interesting to see that not one of them was on your list and none of those on your list were being served then. Your point about continued creativity there rings very true.

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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  • 1 month later...

did the tasting menu last night...quality was mixed. when good...very good...the lamb belly dish, the foie dish (superb!), the beef tongue, the fried butterscotch with taro ice cream and macadamia (if there's a dish which one would give a neophyte wondering what all the fuss is with molecular cooking...this would be the one).

wine pairings were generally appropriate and interesting....other than the Riesling with the foie....a. hackneyed. b. too off-dry).

company was great. service was considerate and warm.

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  • 3 weeks later...

wd~50 review:

photos on blog:

http://chefboysfoodandwineblog.blogspot.co...comfort_26.html

There are times when you demand comfort food in this hectic city. After a stressful week or a long day – you just may have a hankering for, say, the Pork Chop at Little Owl. Or Scott Conant’s polenta with mushrooms and truffles at L’Impero (I wonder if Michael White left this on the menu still – most likely no. ) When I’m really stressed – the chu-toro scallion roll at Soto gives me a heady feeling of pure elation – it makes me forget all my troubles, forget all my past. I go downtown. Anyway - there’s a great thread on eGullet about New York’s best dishes here. Read it, and don’t be a lurker. (Wow, I love hyperlinking!)

wd~50 is not a comfort food kind of place. It is about being playful, whimsical – even straight up cheeky with your food. Don’t go to wd~50 if you are exhausted, if you are starving, if you seek comfort. To dine at wd~50 is to experience high cuisine, high art, without pretense or snobbery. You wouldn’t go to MoMA if you really wanted to stay in, watch Zoolander, and order a pizza. wd~50’s flavors are clean, pure, and explosive – and the presentation is more minimal-fabulous than anywhere else in Manhattan – and that is saying something. Service is honest, although extremely familiar (our waitress/server even told us a story of the lone line-cook at wd~50 who didn’t go out and get coked up with the rest of the cooks and he felt like an outsider). If that isn’t Michelin starred service ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know what is.

There was an Eater post on the wd~50 bread recently. I love this bread. It’s a flat bread – salty and crisp, light and airy. But more importantly – would a French roll be totally out of place? Of course it would. I am giving this newfangled interpretation of bread service a standing ovation.

There were many courses to follow – 8 savory plus dessert. A few courses in, Jerry and I decided that of course we might as well add on the 5 course dessert tasting (when in Rome they say!). Ridiculous. A cavalcade of dishes.

The “Pizza Pebbles” is a new dish on their menu if I can recall correctly. Do you remember Pizza Combos when you were a kid? Or maybe even last Tuesday when you saw them at the deli and you thought they might be a wonderful pairing with your turkey sandwich? They’re delicious. And so was this dish – and the minimal-fabulous was already beginning. There were little balls of pepperoni dough lined on the plate, while more pebbles of a sort of tomato-creamy puree sphere interspersed between them. Dehydrated shiitake flakes were spiked in the spheres, and to round out this Italian flavor profile (pepperoni, tomato, cream, mushrooms) – micro basil garnished the spheres. But it totally tasted like Pizza Combos. The real effect of this dish, however, was to put a smile on your face – to give pleasure. Unfortunately too many chefs in this town have forgotten that to give pleasure from cooking is what this whole thing is really all about.

And what tasting menu would be complete without a foie gras course? Foie is integral to fine dining. It is about opulence, luxury, experiencing something rare. But mostly it is about fat. So foie can either be served hot or cold. When hot, it is always crosshatched and seared (hopefully a sizeable 3-5 ounce piece). When cold, it is usually served as a tourchon and sliced into that fabulous hockey puck size fatty-heavenly disk garnished with toast and fruit. Not at wd~50! Which is why they call this dish “Knot foie.” It’s not (knot?) foie that you’re used to. It’s also tied in a knot. And of course you canknot have foie without fleur de sel for crunch, saltyness, and punch. Instead of cherries or some fruit compote made from huckleberries or rhubarb or something from the greenmarket of that nature – this foie is accompanied by little orbs of a fruit gel (I believe apricot). And there were crunchy nutty garnishes as well which provided the well needed textural contrast, as you can see here they are resting on the knot. This dish was knot something I’m going to forget anytime soon.

Next was a wd~50 classic – the Beef Tongue with Fried Mayo. wd~50 is a Lower East Side restaurant – by far the most serious and accomplished of all the LES restaurants. I’m not going into a history lesson for you readers out there, but before the gentrification of this neighborhood (Whole Foods, Thor, sad frat boys and sorority sluts) – it was ethnic. And as foodies – we all know that where there is an ethnic community, there is great ethnic cuisine. You probably have a 70 year old Jewish grandmother down your hall who still enjoys a good beef tongue sandwich from time to time. I know I do. So this dish is an homage to the Lower East Side, to Jewish-American cuisine – and I can guarantee you that this dish is knot going anywhere (hopefully Russ & Daughters won’t either). The tongue is, to be expected, meaty, salty, and delicious. The Fried mayonnaise is an experience – and it tastes exactly what you think it would taste like – warm mayo, but with a firm exterior holding it all inside a cube of fatty-goodness. There is romaine flecked on the tongue as well, and a painstakingly perfect brunoise (that’s BROON-WAZZ, not BRUN-WAH) of romaine to the side. A tomato molasses on the left provides a jammy sweetness to counterpoint the saltyness of the tongue. Good stuff.

Moving on, as you have probably heard, Wylie plays with food presentations. Many chefs reinvent classic pairings (Mac & Cheese, peas & carrots, PB&J, lamb & mint, etc etc) – Wylie reinvents presentation. He used to have a dish that looked like a sunny side up egg - but the egg white was played by a gelled coconut milk concoction and the yolk was played by something yellow and runny and definitely not egg yolk. The surf clam dish does this as well – as you can see those aren’t watermelon seeds but a fermented black bean paste (which is damn tasty) shaped in their form. The chewey surf clam, the sweet and crisp watermelon, the garlicy pungency – everything worked. More importantly, this dish started as an idea, an original idea, and from Asian flavor themed concept to execution to tasting – it was a success.

Next was “Lamb belly, black chickpea, cherried cucumber.” It wasn’t exactly memorable, it was okay. Look for yourself. Probably the only miss of the evening.

Then desserts. I don’t a clear memory of all of them (I was starting to feel like I had eaten some LSD and I was drugged on this tasting menu at that point). Second up was “Fried butterscotch pudding, mango, taro, smoked macadamia”.

Very delicious.

This one is “Yuzu, shortbread, spruce yogurt, pistachio.” A play on things green. And I have a love affair with yuzu – the sexy and unmistakable trendy Japanese citrus.

Next I believe this is “Local strawberries, pandan, popcorn sorbet.”

“Creamsicle, rooibus, squash, orange blossom.”

And finally, “Soft chocolate, avocado, licorice, lime.”

I really loved these desserts – so many intense flavors – like distilled down versions of the original ingredients in so many unexpected combinations. I love that rooibus flavor – and while I normally enjoy it in a hot tea on a cold winter night – rooibus is really yummy as a foam or a sorbet. Alex Stupak is really doing beautiful stuff, and more often than not, his combinations are effective and truly delicious. The Textures, presentation, temperature, creativity and originality were brilliant and refreshing. This is daring dessert. You may not enjoy any of them. You may try them and your impression may very well be, “Eh.” But I thought they were awesome.

The wine list was small, but carefully selected. We enjoyed a 1995 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay – which was a showstopper. American Chardonnay at the high end should be aged – when you are lucky enough to find one, buy it! Old American Chardonnay is an altogether different beast. With the age – the wine produced lanolin, earthy, minerally and funky aromas – a perfect pair for Wylie’s food. I don’t know where they found this as I’d surely be stocking my Eurocave with a case if I could find it. I believe Kalin cellars releases their American Chardonnays aged like this as well.

So – go to wd~50, do the tasting, enjoy the whimsical and playful creations. See if you like this molecular cuisine. Wylie does something spectacular here, and it’s much cheaper than a flight to Barcelona and a dinner at El Bulli. But if you’re starving, get some take out Chinese.

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