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#16 lxt

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 09:18 PM

Wilf, you can always get back at any offender by taking an unfortunate situation with irony because “there is always a secret irritation about a laugh in which [he/she] cannot join.” (Agnes Repplier)

#17 Steven Dilley

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 09:59 PM

Anyone else with comments about this joint? Is there a "can't miss" dish? I will be there on a Wylie-less Sunday. Soon.

I haven't read this thread in its entirety, so I might be repeating here. Last yr around this time they served a dish of poussin with fresh peas that was quite nice. If it happens to be back on the menu, it's worth checking out. The pork belly can be hit or miss, but when it's on it's heavenly. The foie app is worth trying, if nothing else so you can throw your 2 cents into the ring. (I'm a fan.) Smoked cod and mashed potatoes. Squid linguine. Parsnip cake. The skate with preserved lemon gnocchi didn't do much for me, but I don't think it's on the menu anymore anyway.
Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.

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#18 eatpie

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 10:02 PM

I once went on an evening when Wylie was not there. A certain outer borough chef who knew many in the kitchen was dining with me. His quote (while staring into the kitchen), "look at how much fun those guys are having in there. See what happens when the boss is away." The meal was great, but Ive found WD to be just about the most consistent kitchen in NY. Say what you want about the combinations, textures and flavoring. Some work and some don't. That said, I can't remember ever having an overcooked piece of meat or fish at WD - with or without Wylie.
Q: What happens when your fat pants become your skinny pants?
A: Buy drawstring.

#19 omnivorette

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 10:11 PM

I was there that night, and I remember talking about the food being at least as good when Wylie isn't there, because the guys work hard to meet the expectations.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid

#20 Wilfrid1

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 08:39 PM

I think I'll have the smoked ramp soup, then the venison tartare, and then the skate.
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#21 Slapsie Maxie

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 05:02 AM

How to describe tonight’s meal at WD-50?

In many ways, the most fun evening I have had in NY in years. In others, the most disappointing meal I have had in the same amount of time. I expected it to be fun, but I also expected the food to be better, so much better. That is not to say that there were not some flavours and skills on show that were not excellent, but on the whole, my reaction and the reaction of much of the table was “so what” I am consoled by the fact that for most this was seen as the poorest of many visits to WD-50 and that it is capable of so much more.

All of us bar Lippy and R met first at Verlaine which was loud, but not unpleasant and gave us fuel for the rest of the evening.

Then the short walk to WD-50 where I was pleased to see what I thought was a lovely room. The table for 8 people was awkward to say the least with me sitting at the head in what was obviously a space for a high chair. How apt.

By the time Lippy and R arrived, we were all ready for our pre-dinner drinkies which ranged from my own Palo Cotado(sp?), Cathy’s Madiera to some ordinary glasses of Cava. The sherry was a mite over chilled, but soon came to the right temperature. A nice start

At the suggestion of the regulars, we ordered one appetizer each and one main and spliced that with the signature slow cooked poached egg dish from the tasting menu

To begin we ordered

Rabbit Sausage with avocado, grainy mustard paper
Smoked Ramp soup, cuttle fish, pickled jackfruit
Foie gras and achovie terrine, citrus chutney and tarragon
Corned duck, rye crisp and horseradish cream

My choice of the foie was, to me indicative of the whole meal. Exemplary technique, but lacking a true understanding of what the ingredients needed. The terrine was creamy and with superb taste, but lacked a real counterpoint in texture. I can see why they added the anchovies for saltiness, but the salt should also add a crunch against the softness of the foie and it didn’t.

The smoked ramp soup was actively not great. I was told that the cuttlefish was excellent, but did not try it

The duck was interesting, but barely more than that.

With this we drank a bottle of Heggies Vigioner from Australia ( well priced at $52 )

Then to the egg. A slow poached egg cooked for 90 mins in the shell and served with parmesan oil and topped with chickpea noodles ( an Indian item called sev ) and tomato powder. Like so much of this type of cuisine, fantastic effort resulting in some great flavours ( bringing the white and yolk to point at the right time together ) but failing at the final hurdle. The tomato powder ( from desiccated tomato water ) overpowered and the Sev was, well pointless. The egg itself was sublime, creamy and perfect.

For main courses we had

Halibut, smoked mashed potato, pickled mushroom and red pepper oil
Skate, mustard noodles and fried potato broth
Duck breast, grapefruit, Roquefort
Pork belly, black soy beans, turnips
Lamb loin, aged goat’s cheese and hibiscus puree
Short rib, flat iron beef
Black olive consomee

These were very hit and miss. My short rib was excellent. Braised in beer then seared. It worked. The flat iron beef did not. It had zip flavour. I could have just as well have sucked on the napkin. Other dishes I tried showed the same disparity. The halibut was perfectly cooked, but, to me at, at least the mashed potatoes added nothing.

The skate was foul, mushy and without flavour. The pork was the highlight with real taste cutting through perfect cooking both fatty and crisp

With this we had a couple of lovely bottles of Oregon Pinot.

A pre-dessert of a puree of Aloe and Chiso(sp?) was fine. I liked it more than most. Most thought it “vile”

Desserts were

Celery Root cake
Rum Roasted Banana
Pine nut parfait.

In Cathy’s words “bleh” We lived, but there was not much of a tale to tell

With this, I had a delicious glass of Recioto. Can’t recall what others tried.

The highlight of the meal for me was the exemplary service by a young man whom Cathy knew. They may have failed the mint tea test and ( in my case) the napkin test, but otherwise, some of the best service in recent memory in Manhattan.

Bill, when finally calculated by all the clever people at the table who removed socks and shoes to help tabulate was a not cheap $138 per pop. About £85.

A lot for a meal that, while having some high notes, really bumped along the bottom of the culinary sea for me

4.5/10

S

#22 Lippy

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 02:02 PM

If I ever go again, I'll construct a normal meal. If I had eaten only the egg, or octopus dish, the halibut/smoked mashed potatoes, and the little passion fruit-saffron jelly square they offered as a mignardaise, I would have left happier.

I had to taste the smoked ramp soup twice, the second time to make sure... The kitchen should have been embarrassed to send that out much less charge for it, adding adding insult to injury. If I had conducted that experiment at home, it would have simply gone done the drain.

My celery root cake was tasteless, despite the plethora of pointless garnishes on the plate. To be sure, ordering this was my fault, having drunk so much wine by that point that I was thinking "parsnip" rather than "celery root."

It should be said that ranitidine, who eats duck whenever it is on the menu, thought his main was wonderful. I'm afraid he's eager to return.

I'll have to check, but I think this meal cost more than any we had in our recent trip to London.

#23 Cathy

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 03:03 PM

I can't add much to what Slaps and Lippy have said. Many of the components were delicious - notably the pork belly and the halibut - but there was no apparent reason for how they were juxtaposed. If a chef insists on putting perfectly good anchovies on perfectly good foie gras, I want the dish as a whole to reveal something new about each ingredient. This just left me puzzled as to Wylie's intent, as did many of the other dishes.

The dessert I ordered - a toasted oat panna cotta - was described as "super wobbly." That's all I can say about it.

Outstanding company made the evening a delight, despite the food.
You're only as good as your grease.


When working with high heat, the first contact between the cooking surface and the food must be respected.

-- Francis Mallman







#24 Wilfrid1

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 03:09 PM

Yes, excellent restaurant serves poor meal. Why does this happen? Actually, some of the dishes on the table were as delicious as always - the corned duck is a great little bite; the halibut I tasted was excellent, as were the short ribs. But the clunkers were real clunkers. I deliberately ordered two of the newer dishes, as I've tried most things on the menu. I found both dishes to be inedible. That bad.

Let me qualify that. The little pieces of cuttlefish, flavored with pickled jackfruit, floating in the smoked ramp soup, were quite delightful. The soup itself, however, was a thick, oily, dark green sludge - it didn't taste like ramps, it scarcely tasted of anything, except what it did vaguely taste of wasn't nice. It was left. The skate and mustard noodles were sitting in a "fried potato broth". Knowing what the kitchen can do with potatoes at their best, I thought that might be interesting. No. It just tasted vaguely nasty, and spoiled the skate for me. The mustard noodles were mustardy, but that didn't help. I gave the dish away to an interested scientist, and finished his short-ribs for him.

Actually, I liked my dessert, but it was awkward to share so I rather hogged it. How to describe it? Little ravioli, the skin made - I think - from limes, and the filling from sweetened carrot, flavored with a hint of "curry" and served with a soothing big-bubble coconut tapioca. Very nice.

None of this will prevent me going back - but then I do have the advantage of having eaten a sequence of meals here which I've really enjoyed.

Let me defend the restaurant on a few points:

- It was a late request to expand a table of six to a table of eight, and the restaurant told me it would be a squeeze. They did their best to accommodate us.

- I don't regard $138 as expensive for four courses, pre-dinner drinks, wine and digestifs. Not any more. It's about the same price you would pay at Tocqueville or Fleur de Sel, for instance, and WD-50 is at least at that level.

- I'm not sure the kitchen would have served the egg as an appetizer; it's not on the menu, so again they were trying to accommodate us. It's just supposed to be a little interlude on the tasting menu. As before, I found the texture fascinating, but I thought they'd perhaps messed around with the flavorings a little, and not improved them (I may be wrong - I wish I could refresh my memory by seeing how it was described on OA).
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***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#25 yvonne johnson

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 03:43 PM

There were very nice things: my Kaffir Gin Collins was refreshing and cutely decorated with a lemon "flower" with a delish mascherino cherry inside; the popadom (or similar) with black onion seeds was tasty (but I do miss regular bread); my halibut was first class, but funnily enough it didn't work as well as the cod (that I had last time) with the smoked mashed potatoes. The wines were very fine--thanks Simon for taking charge of that. The Spanish brandy was wonderful.

Not so nice was my foie and anchovy appetizer. I went for this as I've had a really successful combination of foie and fish before, namely, foie and bacalao at Patria, but this mix didn't work last night. The anchovies were overpowering (had they been pickled?)and sadly repeated on me throughout the meal. I didn't care for the egg. As Cathy observed the sprinkles on the egg tasted of pizza topping. G lapped it up. I also had the celery root dessert and left most of it, but G wiped the plate clean.

So a mixed bag in my view, but, socially, a most enjoyable evening.
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#26 Wilfrid1

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 04:05 PM

The anchovies had a stronger pickled flavor than usual.
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If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#27 Wilfrid1

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 04:44 PM

Okay, this is how I described the egg dish when I first ate it: "poached egg, only just cooked through, served in a deep white bowl, and when you break it, the rich yolk soaks up the gritty parmesan broth and tomato powder". I am thinking they may have increased the quantity of sev (crunchy noodles) in the dish - it was too much last night.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#28 ranitidine

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 11:39 PM

No one has mentioned the octopus appetizer that both Cathy and I had. The octopus was prepared very differently than in any of our local Greek restaurants. I think it may have been roasted rather than grilled. I enjoyed its flavor although the flesh was a little dry. Unlike Cathy, I thought it made a good combination with the orange paste that was served with it.
"Say not the struggle nought availeth...."
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#29 Cathy

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 11:32 AM

Yes, the octopus was very good - I liked the texture. Roasted in a very slow oven would be my guess.

The orange purée was delicious. I just don't really enjoy sweet/savory combinations, and would have preferred a squeeze of lemon.
You're only as good as your grease.


When working with high heat, the first contact between the cooking surface and the food must be respected.

-- Francis Mallman







#30 macrosan

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 12:32 PM

The soup itself, however, was a thick, oily, dark green sludge - it didn't taste like ramps, it scarcely tasted of anything, except what it did vaguely taste of wasn't nice. It was left.

Did the staff ask why it was left ? My impression is that they don't ask if it is commonplace for food to be sent back to the kitchen, which is a sign of problems with the cooking.

If they did ask, I'd be fascinated to hear a report of the conversation.