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.
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.
Slow-poached egg yolk and crispy Canadian bacon with fried hollandaise sauce. Best hollandaise I’ve ever had.
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, 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.
Crispy lamb belly with pickled cucumber, black chickpea puree, and lemongrass. Fun stuff.
Yogurt, frozen and smashed raisins with spiced (saffron!) sorbet. I’m just mad about saffron :)
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.
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…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: A very succulent lobster with a pipette of delicious sauce.
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!
Caesar salad with a quail egg. Tasted like the real thing–but better. The flavor was strong and there was no messy dressing.
Not revolutionary, but a solid bite of corn.
Guacamole. Thin-sliced avocado with a tomato puree. Aaand FRITOS on top. FRITOS. Awesome.
Clam Chowder is always tasty, but this one especially so. Look at the size of that clam.
The Philly cheesesteak was a stand-out of the evening. Great beef, great cheese, great bread.
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. It’s like an edible poof!