Dinner at WD~50
Last Saturday, I hopped on a plane to NYC… three hours later I was in a cab headed towards Brooklyn to drop my luggage off at a friend (and fellow MasterChef Contestant)’s house. We quickly got aquainted… no caught up, that’s one of the unique things about my MasterChef family; despite the fact that we had virtually no interaction on set (she was eliminated in the apron round) she still opened her home to me and was a more than gracious host.
An hour after dropping my stuff of, I was on a subway train to go meet Max Kramer, Jennifer Behm, and a few other MasterChef contestants for dinner. Wanna know what we ate? Here goes… (I apologize for the dark photos, it was quite dark in the dining room)
From the outside, this lower east side eatery dosen’t look like a temple of culinary creativity but it is one of the epicenters of modern cuisine in the US. After a few cocktails (delicious) we sat down for the tasting menu.
This was the first time I’ve eaten lobster in 25 years… although I’m scared of them I trusted Chef Wylie Dufresne… it was like a little lobster nugget. Not so bad, but not something I’d crave. The Marrow powder was delicious and the salty sea beans cut through all the richness.
One of Chef Dufresne’s signature, and most recognizable dishes, but not as simple as it appears: The “Bagel” is made of ice cream, the lox come in powderized form (the bright orange component on the plate) a touch of pickled onion and crispy cream cheese.
3rd Course: “Foie-Lafel”.
This was one of my favorite courses. The Foie-Lafel balls are coated in nuts and fried. They’re melty delicious richness when you bite into them. The dish is finished with traditional falafel accompaniment.
Some of us got an alternate Foie course… aerated foie… not as good as the foie-lafel
This was wonderful. A simple perfectly poached egg, dressed in a manmade, edible “shell” with pumpernickel bread and traditional Caesar dressing.
Another signature Wylie Dufresne move: the noodles in this dish are made almost completely of oyster. It balances perfectly with the texture and richness of the sweet breads. This was one of the table’s favorite dishes of the night. Here’s a close up of the noodles… note that they look 100% like noodles.
This was my personal favorite of the night. The dish embodies everything you ever remembered about sneaking into the kitchen late at night and grabbing a drumstick from a bucket with a certain sailor, or Colonel on the outside. Dufresne’s Fried chicken is cooked sous vide, then chilled and fried. The serves it with whipped ricotta, American sturgeon caviar, and tobasco sauce.
8th course: Tai Snapper, Onion Tart, Coffee, Asian Pear.
Delicious, but not one of my favorite dishes (there has to be a low point, right?) The fish was perfectly cooked (Dufresne often mans the fish station himself) it just wasn’t as exciting as the rest of the menu.
9th course: Quail, Nasturtium, Yogurt, Turnip, Nutmeg.
I LOVED this plate… literally, the plate ware itself was very cool. The quail was perfectly cooked, served with fried turnips, yogurt, nasturtium, and nutmeg.
10th Course: Lamb Loin, “Red Beans & Rice”, Chayote Squash.
What was stunning on this course was the “beans” which were actually pine nuts, cooked with stock and maripoix had a mouthfeel exactly like a bean with the flavor of pine nut. the rice came in crispy chip form.
On to the desserts! These were some of the best desserts I’ve had anywhere.
11th Course: Concord Grape, Cheesecake, Lime.
Comforting in its flavors, challenging in it’s texture. The cheese cake is the dehydrated bit on top of the grape sorbet. I’m not a grape lover but this was great.
12th course: Apricot, Buckwheat, Brown Butter, Quince, Green Tea.
This was awesome. So balanced with richness and acidity… my favorite dessert of the night… well maybe second favorite. (More on that later)
A symphony of textures. the beet puree and long pepper cut through the richness of the chocolate beautifully.
14th course: Rice Crispy Treats.
This was my FAVORITE dessert! toasted marshmallow frozen meringue, crusted in rice crispies. I wanted a case of these to go!
Dinner was followed with a tour of the kitchen and pictures with Chef Dufresne.
A great meal with even better company… what else can you ask for?