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flinflon28

wd-50 2004 - 2007

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Going very, very soon.  It better be awesome.

Just go with an open and relaxed mind and you can't help but enjoy it. How much you like it and how special you think it is will probably be determined by how into avant-garde cooking you are.


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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Going very, very soon.  It better be awesome.

Just go with an open and relaxed mind and you can't help but enjoy it. How much you like it and how special you think it is will probably be determined by how into avant-garde cooking you are.

Oh, trust me, I am ready. I have wd-50 followed by Per Se a couple days after. It should be a good run and interesting to compare the two, as both are arguably at the "top" of their respective genres.

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Oh, trust me, I am ready.  I have wd-50 followed by Per Se a couple days after.  It should be a good run and interesting to compare the two, as both are arguably at the "top" of their respective genres.

Yeah, I did them back to back as well, though in opposite order. I was a very happy man afterwards, albeit penniless. I think I ate top ramen for a month after that week. :laugh:


Nothing to see here.

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Alex, I'll look forward to an explanation of "pea soil."


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I was finally able to visit WD-50 the other night with my girlfriend for our shared birthdays. What an amazing restaurant.

We started by asking our server if it was possible to get two different tasting menu's. At first she looked at us like we had three heads. I don't think anyone had ever asked this before to this peticular server. She went to ask the kitchen and almost immediately she returned saying that it was no problem whatsoever.

I wish I could report on every course we got, but we also enjoyed the wine tasting and my memory is very foggy of that night. As, unlike any other wine tasting I had had before, if you keep drinking they keep pouring. All I can remember is that everything was absolutely amazing.

Both Wylie and Sam were there that night and the highlight of the night was Dewey coming over to the table with the soup course and personally wishing the two of us a very happy shared birthday and how much it ment to them that we chose to spend it with them at WD-50.

I would highly recomend this wonderful restuarant to everyone. And don't be afraid to ask for anything. As everyone is extremely accomodating there.

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As an avid fan of this restaurant I am glad that you had a wonderful meal there and chose to post your thoughts here. Welcome to eGullet!


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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. . . .  unlike any other wine tasting I had had before, if you keep drinking they keep pouring.

. . . .

Thanks for posting that. I wanted to post that myself, but as Dewey recognized my name and asked if I was the same Buxbaum that posted on eGullet, I wondered if maybe we were getting special treatment. I recall looking at the number of wines and waiter mentioning that they paired wines with every other course and thought that the pairing didn't seem to be a bargain although someone posted it was. The other time I was there, we just had a few glasses of wine. As best I can recall, they touched up every glass at every course. In some cases it meant two full glasses. or maybe more. I can't recall, but certainly it was fair value. It is however difficult food to pair with wine and I wasn't that pleased with some of the pairings with the exception of the dessert wines. I very much liked the idea of two dessert wines with the two desserts. I preferred one quite a bit to the other, but I thought it really set off the two desserts to have to have two wines. Dessert wines are far more popular than they were when I first started drinking wines with dinner and I think that's great. I enjoyed the cava with the first courses and might have chosen to continue it with a couple of more courses and then moving to a red wine. I think wine pairing is far more subjective that many would like to believe.

By the way, when Dewey asked I was the guy from eGullet, I replied that they've come a long way in terms of computer literacy. I first met Wylie in the Greenmarket he was talking to Mike Anthony who's now chef at Stone Barns, but who was then at Blue Hill and had, with Dan Barber, just done a pretty arduous Q&A here on the site. I was going to suggest that Wylie might like to do the same, but when I asked him if he was familiar with our web site, he asked what a web site was.


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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Yeah, he calls me 'Mr. Offal' whenever I'm there. It sort of freaked me out the first time. :laugh:

You'd be suprised who reads this thing.


Nothing to see here.

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Coming over to Manhatten between the 23 and 27th July with the wife. I've read through this thread with great interest but have a few small questions. I love anything to do with Offal but my better half is a vegetarian , what are the vegetarian options like and is there a veg tasting menu? Also, how difficult is it to snag a reservation?

thanks

Scotsaute

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Yeah, he calls me 'Mr. Offal' whenever I'm there.  It sort of freaked me out the first time.  :laugh: 

You'd be suprised who reads this thing.

ahhhh,.... I wouldn't :biggrin:


2317/5000

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Coming over to Manhatten between the 23 and 27th July with the wife.  I've read through this thread with great interest but have a few small questions.  I love anything to do with Offal but my better half is a vegetarian , what are the vegetarian options like and is there a veg tasting menu?  Also, how difficult is it to snag a  reservation?

thanks

Scotsaute

The answers to both questions may be best answered by the restaurant.

From the FAQ on their web site:

"Are there vegetarian dishes?

There is an appetizer and an entree offered each evening."

NY is not a great town for appreciation of avant garde food. Thus reservations seem a bit easier than at other restaurants of this caliber, but reports are that they're full most nights. You can search for available tables on their web site.


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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. . . .

You'd be suprised who reads this thing.

ahhhh,.... I wouldn't :biggrin:

You'd be surprised at the penetration we have in non-anglophone countries. Assume anyone in the food industry in the US, is aware of the site.


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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The answers to both questions may be best answered by the restaurant.

From the FAQ on their web site:

"Are there vegetarian dishes?

There is an appetizer and an entree offered each evening."

NY is not a great town for appreciation of avant garde food. Thus reservations seem a bit easier than at other restaurants of this caliber, but reports are that they're full most nights. You can search for available tables on their web site.

of course, you can eat at the bar as well....which virtually always has seating.

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I stopped by last night for a quick snack before heading out to the bars.  Got to try the new foie preparation from the a la carte menu (there's another new one on the tasting menu, too).  This time, it's roasted and served with passionfruit scramble, saltine puree, and candied coriander seeds.  I really liked this preparation--much more subtle than the previous iteration with the nori caramel.  It let the foie speak out a little more.  The passionfruit scramble literally has the appearance and mouthfeel of scrambled eggs.  According to the server, it was made using cellulose. 

I also tried a couple of desserts.  You must run, not walk, down to WD-50 NOW, and try the local strawberries with parmesan ice cream.  What an eye opener of a flavor combination.  Even my neophyte friend, who was initially a bit squeamish about the parmesan ice cream, thought it was out and out terrific.  On a side note: I'm not sure if I'm the only one who noticed, but the local strawberries are quite remarkable this year.  Even the ones I get where I work have have just been fantastic; like idealized versions of what strawberries should be.  The other dessert was called "rice and beans"...basically toasted puffed rice flavored ice cream and red bean gelee.  How Sam got the ice cream to taste exactly like puffed rice is beyond me.  I'm convinced that you could ask him to make an ice cream that tasted like dryer sheets and lawn clippings;  somehow he'd be able to crank it out, and it would be damn good, too. 

Seriously though, I love this restaurant.  It's one of the few restaurants that manages to be challenging and fun at the same time.  I've heard some say that Wylie should turn the place into a more formal sort of restaurant.  To me, the reason why WD-50 works is because the vibe present in the cuisine is also present in all other aspects of the restaurant--from the decor down to the service.  I mean, the food would taste just as good whether it was served in a McDonalds or ADNY, but I wouldn't want to eat it anywhere else other than WD-50 the way it is. Does that make any sense?

Indeed, had the strawberries with parmesan ice cream the other day. The strawberries were actually so top-notch that they would have been a fine dessert by themselves but the ice cream was terrific and the pairing worked (brie is classic with strawberries but parmesan?) and the pseudo-strawberry panna cotta was terrific as well (apparently it's not a panna cotta -- albeit similar in texture -- but rather utilizes some sort of gelatin).

Also noticed that they now have a couple permutations on a dessert tasting menu. I don't have a sweet tooth so that would be too much for me but to the best of my knowledge only Daniel and Chickalicious do that as well.

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After reading so many good reviews here in egullet, we decided to give WD-50 a try this past Saturday as we were in New York this past weekend. We made reservations to 3 restaurants for our 3 night stay in the Big Apple: WD-50, Bouley & Babbo (we had Per Se on the list but it was closed!!).

We had a reservation for WD-50 at 7pm but was about a half hour late due to traffic (we called from the car to let them know) and was told that we could not have the tasting menu because they needed to get us out of the restaurant by 9:30pm for the next reservation. However, as it turned out we were there past 9:30pm anyway because of the long wait between courses. By long, I mean we waited at least 30 minutes between each course, the longest was between the appetizer and the entre which was around 45 min. We never ate so much bread in our lives because of the long wait as we were hungry! We watched other tables and everyone was waiting so we weren't alone.

Overall, the food was very good but not excellent. The 5 of us ordered the seafood dishes (fish and scallop) as the main but none stood out as being fantastic. In fact, nothing stood out and of the 3 restaurants, I'd put WD-50 as 3rd best of the 3 restaurants we tried in terms of food. Maybe it was because of the high expectations going in but we were kind of disappointed in pretty well all aspects of our WD-50 experience.

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That is disappointing indeed. It sounds as if they were having their troubles that night. I don't believe that is typical, although it doesn't help you. What did you have besides fish and scallops?


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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Shame to hear the last experience not too fantastic, I eat there on the 3rd and had one of the best meals of my life.

WARNING - THIS COULD GO ON A BIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

had the tasting as follows

1. Poached oyster, plum juice, creme fraiche and shiso.

good start, oyster brought a necessary texture to the dish, nothing blow-away but just good.

2. Foie Gras, candied olives, green peas and beet juice.

I've mentioned this one before - OH MY GOD, one of the ultimate dishes of our time, the foie just a perfect torchon, piped into a mould, filled with beet juice (clear as a bell and cosistency of a light jus), candied olives which broke in the mouth like a fresh pistachio, and the pea soil, the most unusual combination of textures, hard to decsribe the pea soil without giving the entire recipe away but if you haven't tried it you must. starts dry and mud like (you don't say), but melts to the most fantastic flavoured puree I have had.

3.Hamachi, smoked banana,parsley,juniper

this I felt was the wierd one, when I spoke to Wylie his view was that the taste of smoke and fish work well, so he decided to smoke the garnish instead, don't get me wrong it was nice but even tested my paletary boundaries.

4.Beef tongue, fried mayo, tomato molasses

great flavour when put in the mouth together came together like a toasted sandwich, fried mayo - very clever

5. Shrimp canneloni, chorizo, thai basil

wrapper was made from pure shrimp - clever, also the chorizo was an emulsion and worked the dish like a dream.

6.Slow poached egg, pamresan broth, tomato

another just clever one, the egg is cooked for 1 hour at 114 degrees and served, parmesan broth and grated chickpeas which gave the dish a feeling of mini noodles

7.carrot confit, hibiscus sorbet, nasturtium, crispy lamb belly

the only dish on the menu where the dish tastes as it reads, hibiscus sorbet was to die for though.

8.squab breast, mango ricotta, pumpkin seeds, shansho

squab cooked sous-vide at low temperature very simple and nothing mind blowing just expertly produced

9.grapefruit in grapefruit

fine sorbet in foam, small yet perfect, foam stable as anything, maybe using lecithin

10.Ice cold milk, cereal

milk ice cream wrapped in little corn flakes, memories of childhood, the only thing I could say here is that I personally wouldn't follow a sorbet course with an ice cream, just being picky really

11.Milk chocolate-hazelnt parfait, orange reduction

started out as a return to tradition dessert, until I crunched on their chocolate caramel tuille to find it tasted exactly like a chocolate brownie

12, and finally, curried chocolate almonds

nice enough but seemed to be out to make a statement, went really well with the coffee though.

I spoke with Dewey on the night who handed me a fabulous business card with "the dad" written on it, he informed me it was his job to pair the wines, so thanks "the dad" you did a fantastic job, also thanks for everything else and can't wait to return one day.

then I tried to stand up and found that the wine pairing had truly taken effect, oops.

A fabulous meal 2 years in the waiting - and definately living up to the hype.

Bux asked me to compare (in my opinion) this and the Fat Duck. After a great amount of thought to this subject both are dedicated kitchens pushing the boundaries of expectation, both appropriately use science as a way forward, not for the fact that they can, but for the reasons to enhance (shrimp wrapper, transglutaminase anyone), I find little difference having spent a little time talking to both Wylie and Heston, both chefs are characteristically nice guys striving to produce perfect food with appropriate surprises for their guests. On one hand WD50 is probably a little more accesible to the more average diner that FD, but only maginally. As for working practices as some of you may know I have staged at the Fat Duck, but yet to do so at WD, I am hoping my company would love to fund a work placement for me next year as I will have to commit 5 days for Wylie and will be very excited to do so. here hoping.

I will keep checking the thread, if anyone has questions, but please do not ask me to give recipes/techniques away for they are not mine to give and you should go for dinner and ask Wylie himself.

small comment on the service, Its excellent, all staff I came accross were quickly knowlegeable, and my server brought me a menu and pen on 2nd course so I could make dooles/comments on each course so I wouldn't forget, great service and very worth the tip. and they were uniformed in jeans too quality.

next stop, my friends mexican joint - Rosa Mexicano at Lincoln Centre.


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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My only comment to this is, that the prescribed menu at any restarant is the practiced fayre, and unless it is quite quiet then you place (however small) pressure on kitchens to perform. we do enjoy the challenge but you do open yourself up to the possibility of an occasional mistake. this would then just bugger up your enjoyment of the meal.

However I have heard that they have done it in the past, so if they can cope, why not. You could look green with envy at your companions course which sods law states that you would want it.

Alex.


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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AlexW, excellent post!!!

The meal reads fantastic, can't wait to get there.


2317/5000

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. . . .

3.Hamachi, smoked banana,parsley,juniper

this I felt was the wierd one, when I spoke to Wylie his view was that the taste of smoke and fish work well, so he decided to smoke the garnish instead, don't get me wrong it was nice but even tested my paletary boundaries.. . . .

Now this is something I never would have ordered. Given a choice of this discription and anything else, I'd probably have ordered anything else. Oddly enough, both my wife and I thought it was the best dish of the evening when we were there. This is a reason I tend to go with omakase, the tasting menu, the chef's menu, the surprise menu, or whatever they choose to call it, if I have any confidence in the chef, or even any strong interest in what he's doing. Sure, I'll eat a few courses that are not to my taste, but I'll also experience a few courses that I wouldn't have thought would be to my taste. Missing out on those whould be the real shame. Naturally, other diners don't necessarily share my sentiments or my taste.

By the way, I haven't been totally convinced by the cold hollow foie gras preparations either time I've had them. Its the foie gras itself which seems too cold, which is interesting because I'm a great fan of traditional cold torchons.

The shrimp canneloni worked far better than the shrimp noodles for me largely because the pasta doesn't really feel or behave like pasta. As noodles, they don't twirl on a fork for instance. As a stuffed tube however it doesn't need to be like a pasta wrapping and here it provides a novel tube of a new food stuff rather than questionable noodles. This is an interesting material for me.

There are a fair number of courses on the tasting menu and we, as a table of four, all liked just about all of what we had, but we each had different favorites and less favorite dishes. In fact, it was very much the kind of thing most people might say after a meal at a far less innovative restaurant or even at a very traditional one.


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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Big day today: Having a DB Bistro Burger for lunch then heading over to wd-50 for dinner in an attempt to learn as much as humanly possible about the food I've read about and oogled over for past few months.

I hope that either your lunch is early or your dinner late!


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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What a RIDICULOUS meal!  Full report coming shortly.  I cannot say enough; this place was a revelation.  I thought I knew a little something about food, how wrong I was.

Tremendous!!!

Can't wait.


2317/5000

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      b. Virtually nothing goes vertical above the 36” counter top in the space. All food, plates, equipment, and dry good storage are contained by under counter units. There are a few exceptions such as the infrared salamanders, the three-door refrigerator, and the hood. This allows all the cooks a clear line of communication between each other and the front staff. It allows me an easy sight line to survey the entire kitchen’s progress with a quick glance.
      Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage.
      The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes.
      4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including:
      a. pastry
      b. cold garde manger
      c. hot garde manger
      d. fish
      e. meat
      Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat
      sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory.
      5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products.
      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
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