Wd~50 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is the brainchild of chef Wylie Dufresne. One of the pioneers of modern food in NY – he’s worked in some of NY’s top restaurants like Jean Georges and 71 Clinton Fresh Food. Occupying what was used to be a bodega, wd~50 has been at the forefront of NY dining for over ten years.
We knew of Wylie’s place in the NY food scene – he was recently accoladedby his peers, like Rene Redzepi (Noma) and David Chang (Momofuku), for his ten years at the helm of wd~50. wd~50 received one Michelin star in 2006 and has retained it through to 2014. In 2013, Wylie Dufresne was honoured with the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef New York City.
For our dinner at wd~50, we sat at the bar – went for the ‘from the vault menu’ – a 7 course degustation menu with wine pairing. And so our dinner started, directed by our very capable bartender, with an amuse bouche of veal sweetbreads with pickled eggplant.
Next hanger tartare, pickled asian pear, amaro, béarnaise ice cream - a take on the classic french dish – the meat was perfectly minute, a small rectangle of bearnaise sauce frozen as icecream replaced the traditional mustard against the slight sweetness of the pear.
Sunflower-miso gazpacho, trout roe, shiitake, daikon – a gazpacho style soup with the earthiness of miso and shiitake and laced with the saltiness of the roe – a winner.
Cod, salsify, coffee-saffron, smoked bulghur – the steamed cod was moist and flaky, roasted salsify with a lightly flavoured coffee saffron sauce.
Lamb loin, hibiscus-date, barley, aged goat cheese – the lamb loin was flavoursome and perfectly cooked, accompanied by the finely grated goats cheese alongside the date paste – almost like a cheese board.
Toasted coconut cake, smoked cashew, carob, brown butter sorbet – the sorbet brought this dish alive as it really wasn’t a showstopper.
Our pick of the wines – the dry vermentino, grenache blanc ‘Heart of Gold’ Edmunds St. John 2013 from El Dorado County in California. Great to check another American wine – strangely not many American wines generally served in NY restaurants. And to finish, a 2010 muscat ‘nectar’ from Samos, Greece – drier than a ‘usual’ desert wine usually is.
wd~50 had a reputation for being avant garde – this is good food well cooked but not with the finesse/excitement of other NY restaurants and at times, the presentation was a little heavy handed. It opens Wednesday to Sunday. It’s a great location on the Lower East Side and that’s worth a look – it’s where you’ll also find Wylie’s new bar/restaurant ‘Alder‘. There are new cool NYC restaurants and bars opening and closing all the time here, much the same as in Sydney’s trend driven market .
50 Clinton Street, Lower East Side, New York City 10002 – take the F or J Train to Delancey/Esset Street stop