Thursday, 12 August 2010


One of the restaurants I felt would be a one off experience for our honeymoon is Wylie Dufresne's HQ, WD50. If Grant Achatz is the US's Heston, then Dufresne is their Sat Bains. His restaurant is a welcoming and comfortable way to experience his novel and surprising food. Like a lot of the restaurants we've been to, lighting was low and romantic. Exactly the opposite of the ideal iPhone camera conditions as we have seen in the Jean Georges review. So when describing the meal I will link to the excellent photos on the WD50 website so you can get an idea of the detailed design of these dishes-Please click on these otherwise the descriptions may not mean quite as much!.

We were persuaded by the sommelier (it's amazing how persuasive they can be !) to have this italian number to go with our meal. A very interesting wine, its age had given it an interesting oily character whilst it retained its delicious dry fruit and acidity.

'Everything Bagel' is somewhat of a signature dish for WD50. Wylie Dufresne wanted a classic New York dish on the menu and this is how he did it (click here to see this beautiful start to the meal). The bagel is bagel flavoured ice-cream, the salmon is turned into threads with a Japanese method, then smoked and the white crisp on the side is made of cream cheese. I loved every mouthful of this dish and loved the idea of turning this classic on it's head. This is exactly what WD50 is about, revelling in fun and unexpected delights.

The next course was all about unexpected delight.This
Foie Gras and passion fruit course was exceptional. The foie gras pate had been pressed into a thick disk and in the centre a sharp passion fruit sauce which oozed out when the disk was cut. The sharpness of the passionfruit balanced the richness of the fatty foie very well. This was a standout dish of the night for us.

If you ask Claire what her favourite thing about high end restaurants is she won't say foie or truffles. Champagne and lobster don't impress her much. No, if you ask Claire what she loves about Michelin starred cuisine she will tell you she loves vegetables cut into tiny, tiny cubes. (brunoise to those in the trade). The next dish had extremely tiny cubes a plenty. these particular cubes were the fried potato that accompanied this fascinating scrambled egg and charred avocado dish. It came with some raw kindai tuna and was yet again was a fun and exciting course.

Another Dufresne soon to be classic up next. Apparently conceived when using up leftovers for a staff meal. The cold fried chicken with buttermilk ricotta and caviar was wonderful mixture of midnight snack and luxury.

Beef and Bearnaise was another of our favourite courses. Like the Bagel it's a classic turned on it's head. The beef part was a rich beef broth and the bearnaise came as dumplings submerged in it's savoury depths. I would have eaten this one may times over. WD50 should open a sister cafe serving only this!

Lamb loin with black garlic and soy bean was ok. The garlic paste tasted a bit burnt and bitter, the soy bean was grainy and unpleasant. The lamb was good though so we let them off for this.

The next course was not too good either. Chewy lychee sorbet was lovely but the lemon and celery that came with it was salty, weird and really not pleasant at all.

I very much enjoyed the Chocolate hazelnut tart with coconut and chicory. Claire found it a bit salty and the chicory too bitter for her taste.

Desert of the evening for us was the Rainbow sherbet, rhubarb, tarragon, orange, olive oil . The psychedelic tube of sour fruit sherbert was a real treat and the orange and tarragon brought refreshing subtle flavours.

I loved WD50. The most fun and relaxed meal I had in New York. I will definitely be back, maybe in a couple of years when the menu has changed again and when I can afford it!

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