Wylie Dufresne versus Jose Andres…A Diner’s Take

I know molecular gastronomy has its supporters and detractors, but I think no matter where one’s views fall, it certainly does make people think about food differently. And, for that reason, I had a really enjoyable experience eating the Tasting Menu at WD-50 this past Saturday.

Foie Gras

The Knot Foie was one of my favorite dishes. The crunch of the rice pebbles went perfectly with the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth foie gras. The kimchi puree was a neat touch and worked surprisingly well with the dish as a whole.

Eggs Benedict

Slow-poached egg yolk and crispy Canadian bacon with fried hollandaise sauce. Best hollandaise I’ve ever had.

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French Onion Soup. There was no biting necessary for the gruyere balls–they dissolved in the mouth upon impact. The crackers were kind of boring, but the broth was tasty.

Cuttlefish and Squash

Cuttlefish and squash, another excellent combination. The orange zest puree on the side was really potent, but when used in small quantities it gave each bite an extra zing.

Lamb

Crispy lamb belly with pickled cucumber, black chickpea puree, and lemongrass. Fun stuff.

Smashed Raisins

Yogurt, frozen and smashed raisins with spiced (saffron!) sorbet. I’m just mad about saffron :)

Coconut Cake

Best dish of the night. Toasted coconut cake (mmmm so much butter), carob, smoked hazelnut foam, brown butter sorbet. I dare you to find a better dessert flavor combination.

Whie Chocolate Ganache

White chocolate ganache with potato, malt powder, and white beer ice cream. The malt and beer flavors were really aggressive for the gentle ganache.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie…deconstructed and a fabulous end to a fabulous meal.

Overall, I think that minibar, Jose Andres’s Washington, DC 6-seater, is slightly better. Beyond the fact that the sheer volume of tastes is significantly higher (about 30 different one- to three-bite courses) , the flavors were also more powerful. Moreover, the bar format of minibar allows diners to interact with the chefs, ask questions about the food, and watch the plating of the dishes. WD-50′s kitchen is open as well, but it is not situated directly in front of the diners, meaning that one is not consistently watching the food preparation. [These selected photos are from February 2007]

Lobster Pipette

Lobster pipette: A very succulent lobster with a pipette of delicious sauce.

Deconstructed White Wine

This one was fun: a Deconstructed Glass of White Wine. Each isolated flavor is a common flavor in wine–it’s hard to identify each flavor individually!

Feta Linguine

Feta Linguine.

Caesar Salad

Caesar salad with a quail egg. Tasted like the real thing–but better. The flavor was strong and there was no messy dressing.

Corn On The Cob

Not revolutionary, but a solid bite of corn.

Guacamole

Guacamole. Thin-sliced avocado with a tomato puree. Aaand FRITOS on top. FRITOS. Awesome.

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder is always tasty, but this one especially so. Look at the size of that clam.

Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly cheesesteak was a stand-out of the evening. Great beef, great cheese, great bread.

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Pistachio beets and mixed berries. The beets were airy and dissolved in your mouth. A fun textural experience, but flavor-wise it was average.

Matcha Ball

Matcha ball. It’s like an edible poof!

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3 Responses to Wylie Dufresne versus Jose Andres…A Diner’s Take

  1. traderjanki says:

    I’ve never tried one of these deconstructed menus. It sounds like fun, though. I wonder if there are places that serve enough deconstructed vegetarian options so I could get my money’s worth?

  2. Kevin says:

    That looks like a really fun meal. I was hoping for a reservation at WD-50 last time I was in NYC, but no luck. That deconstructed glass of wine is a wonderful idea,

  3. Hillary says:

    I’m very jealous of you that you got to experience both meals. That foie gras knot looks like a masterpiece if you ask me! Other highlights of mine (from sight only): the saffron sorbet, the dessert you loved, and the lamb belly dish…everything looks wonderful!

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