Saturday, August 25, 2007

WD 50

Value is, I suppose, in the wallet of the beholder. While steakhouse regulars are used to paying upwards of $50 for a la carte prime steak plus the cost of sides, paying between $30-40 for an entree in a non steakhouse restaurant is still considered pricey, even in these days of spiraling food costs. Of course there is nothing that adventurous about plunking down that kind of scratch on a hunk of beef, you know essentially what you are getting but spending that kind of money on a entrees that I can guarantee you have never had before well that is a different gamble. Given the wildly eclectic menu, obsessive attention to presentation and, depending on your perspective, either brilliant or bizarre flavor pairings the menu at WB 50 is either a sure bet or a gigantic bust.

A generous lobe of Foie Gras came adorned with mole lentils and quince yogurt. It was incredibly rich and while the flavor combination worked very nicely, texturally it could have used some form of bread or cracker. Honestly they could have served a third less and it would have still been very satisfying. Most egregiously, given the obsessively finicky nature of the presentation, the plate also came adorned with a large smudged fingerprint. A startling error of commission, quite frankly.

The dish that seems most evocative of WD50's Lower East Side neighborhood, seemingly drawing inspiration from Katz's Deli, Streit Matzos and Russ and Daughters is the corned duck served on rye crisp with purple mustard and horseradish cream. A delicious combination.

The domestic "Wagyu" flat iron steak is technically not Wagyu but American "Kobe" style beef. Never the less it was lovely, tender, succulent and deeply flavorful. The onions and effervescent arugula sprigs complimented the beef nicely, the very bitter tasting deconstructed cappuccino in the form of coffee gnocchi and coconut foam not so much, not even the latter's sweetness could temper the acrid, biting coffee flavor.

Cod, Swiss chard, buttermilk Asian celery.

The wine list is as eclectic and perhaps more esoteric than the food menu.
This 2004 Ribera Del Duero Finca Villacreces was a nice find at under $70.

I can appreciate the vision of WD 50, I found Chef Dufresne's creations inventive and on the flavor matching side, coffee gnocchi aside, largely successful. Add to this generally beautiful presentation and doting service and there is a lot to like at WD 50. For the record I don't find the food here pretentious or contrived, I think that there is a genuine earnestness in the cuisine at WD50 but at the same time it is not the way I choose to eat. The food seems too measured, too exact, frankly too pedantic. I am not disappointed that I ate here, but I won't be rushing back anytime soon. You might say I broke even.

WD 50
50 Clinton St
NY NY 10002
212 477 2900

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