WD-50 ~ Orderinny

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Clockwise from topleft: Yuzu custard, spruce yogurt, pistachio; Irish cream, chocolate, coconut, hazelnight icecream; Soft chocolate, avocado, chocolate soil, lime icecream; Beet, umeboshi, chocolate
For lovers of simple, traditional desserts like brownies and ice-cream, or pie ala mode, the dessert tasting at WD-50 is not for you. My experience Wednesday night was an exercise of mind calisthenics, as me and my girlfriends waded through 6 desserts, some more conventional than others but all containing no less than 3 different flavors. Each artistically plated dish, with a touch of beet foam, a dab of avocado puree or a sprinkling of licorice powder demanded our full attention as we tracked down each subtle flavor with the tenacity of bloodhounds and then try to guess the chef's intentions behind creating each quirky dish.
Some dishes were straight forward enough. Our amuse bouche was a smart riff on breakfast spreads, with a grape jam injected in a disc of cream cheese. Sesame seeds and sauce on the side emulated peanut butter, rounding up the breakfast trinity. A deconstructed Irish coffee dish was a crowd pleaser, with hazelnut icecream paired with a cyclinder of coffee ice filled with extremely spiked whisky caramel.
Some flavor combinations made us pause and go hmmm, but the final presentation and taste worked pretty well and we cleared those plates. Shortbread crumbs with tea flavored ice cream and marshmallows, guava puree and peanut butter/brittle was an explosion of flavors and textures. A long swirl of soft chocolate was paired with avocado sauce, chocolate and licorice soil and a scoop of lime icecream. While the avocado was a surprisingly mild and good fit with the chocolate, the lime icecream didn't fare so well. While it did cut down the richness of the chocolate, the aftertaste was overly bitter and the limey taste jarred disharmoniously with the sweet chocolate. The spruce flavored yogurt (as in the coniferous type) with yuzu custard and pistachio puree was medicinal when it tried it alone, and overwhelmed by the lime and pistachio when paired with the other ingredients on the plate. Still the yuzu custard was without repraoch and the dabs of yogurt thankfully insignificant enough that we too polished off this dessert.
And then there was the dish made us pause and go HMMM. Despite being a big fan of beets, I do not think beets should be dessert, even after having a go at the mildly sweet and very vege-tasting beet foam that came with some chocolate bits and umeboshi plum bits. We were however very impressed with how the kitchen could foam up beet and make thin glassy shards of sweet and very yummy beet chips. WD-50 with its signature method of molecular gastronomy has had a fair amount of hype, and it sure is entertaining and a visual treat if not always tasty.
While its easy to find a slice of pie or cheesecake anywhere, WD-50 offers something unique, even borderline strange to adventurous dessert lovers. And with so much fodder for discussion at reasonable ($35 for 5 courses, $25 for 3 courses) for New York prices and courteous and attentive service, WD-50 is a great alternative New York experience.

50 Clinton St (Bet Rivington & Stanton St)

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