WD-50, NYC 3

July 30, 2008

On my sixty-eighth birthday, July 27, 2008, Linda, Blair and I dined at WD-50. We ordered the eleven course tasting menu. Interestingly, it did not include any dishes which were on the à la carte menu, nor any of the dishes we had in the tasting menu on our last visit.

We skipped the wine pairings this time as we had not found them very appropriate the last time. We ordered a bottle of 2005 Condrieu ‘Cuvee De Chery’ Remi & Robert Niero  and a bottle of 2006 J.K.Carriere Provacateur (Willamette Valley) Pinot Noir. (WD-50 decants all wines, which is a fine idea.) They were very good, although the cuisine isn’t really wine friendly.

A basket of the signature sesame crisps arrived and was left on the table for us to munch on until the desserts.


Then followed:
(I am using the exact menu titles although they vary widely in how descriptive they are.)

Shrimp noodles, carrot, cumin, peanut

This was okay. The shrimp flavor in the noodles was subtle.


Grilled corn pebbles, lime mayo, scallion

This was excellent. The pebbles were made from grilled corn bound with smoked oil. The mayonnaise added the right flavor and texture contrast.

Knot foie

The mousse of foie gras had been extruded into a knotted string. It was sprinkled with nuggets of rice crackers and garnished with dabs of spicy kimchee jelly (red) and mild golden raisin jelly. Coriander finished the decor. The flavors and textures all worked well together. Blair said that, while he admired the creativity, there wasn’t enough flavor in the foie gras to carry the dish and that the kimchee was too spicy for this one.


Hamachi tartare, wakame, sake lees tahini, grapefruit-shallot

The raw Japanese amberjack has been pressed into sort of a terrine and sliced. There was an edge of crispy skin. The white sticks are an Asian pear. The black shreds are wakame or fresh Japanese seaweed. The tahini, or puree of roasted sesame seeds flavored with sake lees, went beautifully despite the cultural divide, but the grapefruit jam was too strong.  

Eggs benedict

This has become Wylie Dufresne’s most famous recent invention. Egg yolks are converted into a yellow gel. The Canadian bacon is sliced thinly and crisped. There are two cubes of fried hollandaise sauce. WD’s fried mayonnaise has been famous for several years, but this is trickier as the hollandaise is still warm and runny. Fun and delicious.
Crab tail, soybean noodles, cinnamon dashi

We thought that “crab tail” was sort of an oxymoron, but were told that a King crab has sort of a tail. Anyway, it was not the most savory or tender piece of seafood that could have been used. The mild cinnamon addition to the basic Japanese kelp stock worked well for me. 



Chicken liver spaetzle, pine needle, radish, cocoa nib

The spätzle had been made with a floured chicken liver purée which was browned after their initial hot bath. The pine needle flavor was in the sauce with which the inside of the bowl had been coated. It is hard to imagine, but the flavors were very nice.

Beef tongue, cherry-miso, fried quinoa, palm seeds

This was a more substantial dish than the others. They had not made the mistake of slicing the tongue too thinly as they had at our last meal here. The crispy stick is the fried quinoa. The big black palm seeds tasted mostly of the cherry miso sauce which went well with the tongue. The yellow/gray strips are mushroom. The limp green vegetable is a spicy pickled ramp that gave some added pizazz.


Yogurt, olive oil jam, rhubarb

I thought that this was a substitute for a cheese course, but it was presented as a pre-dessert even though it was not sweet. The yoghurt was encased in a cylinder of an olive oil tile. I liked it.


Jasmine custard, black tea, banana
The black tea sorbet was delicious. The whole light dessert was nice.


Toasted coconut cake, carob, smoked cashew, brown butter sorbet

Everything here was also delicious. The toasted coconut made a nice crust for the soft cake.


Linda had asked for a substitution to avoid the coconut and was brought this pistachio ice cream in a pistachio cylinder. She thought it was very good and not too sweet. They also brought me a birthday candle inside a tamarind cylinder on top of a cheesecake round.



Yuzu ice cream-marcona almond
The packages were liquid chocolate inside edible chocolate leather. The ice cream was inside the almond crust.


We were much happier with this meal than we had been the last time. There were no courses which were failures, which is extraordinary with this kind of inventive cuisine. We had had a good time slowly eating each dish and parsing out the flavors. We’ll be back when we have guests who are looking for a culinary adventure.



For our two previous blogposts on WD-50 click here and here.

5 Responses to “WD-50, NYC 3”

  1. Allison Says:

    Happy Birthday! It sounds like you all had a fun evening. Last time I was WD-50 we did the tasting menu and had quite a few of the same dishes – this was about 6 month ago. I wonder how often they change the menu…

  2. Michael West Says:

    Happy Birthday!

  3. Sally McKinney Says:

    Many happy returns!

  4. Andrea and Tony Says:

    Happy Birthday Mike. Looks like this is becoming a birthday tradition for you. Hope to celebrate a bit more mundanely but equally delicious in August.

  5. Aaron Says:

    Happy birthday, Michael. Glad you enjoyed your celebration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s