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Restaurant Review: wd-50
December 16th, 2009 by plumpdumpling

It was more than a year ago that I announced my impending trip to wd~50 on my personal blog and got a load of comments from my mostly-Ohioan readership that mostly talked about how ridiculously small and not-at-all-like-real-food the dish in the picture I posted was. I was skeptical, too, to be honest, but it turned out that the meal was fantastic–really, really fantastic–surprising, playful, and memorable.

It must have overwhelmed me so much, though, that I failed to write about it, and my boyfriend has been bothering me about it ever since. Now that we have a January reservation to try the current tasting menu, I figured I owed it to him to at least post my photos from the evening. Here’s all I can remember from September 13th, 2008:

I started out the night with a peanut butter and jelly cocktail that was more peanut than peanut butter, but the bold flavor really prepared me for what was to come. We ordered one appetizer, two entrees, and the three-course dessert tasting menu, but the waiter brought us the five-course dessert tasting on the house. (Which makes this review entirely biased, naturally.)


Fried quail, banana tartar, peppercress


Sweetbreads, peanut, beet-pomegranate sauce, pickled sweet potato


Wagyu flat iron, coffee gnocchi, coconut, cipollini, sylvetta


Something foamy and possibly celery-y that I can’t recall


Grapefruit curd, pine nut, meringue, nasturtium ice cream


Jasmine custard, black tea, banana


Toasted coconut cake, carob, smoked cashew, brown butter sorbet


Yuzu ice cream, marcona almond, chocolate packets

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The service was great, and the waiter didn’t mind repeating the word nasturtium for me about a hundred times until my boyfriend said he’d explain later. Like everyone else, we were impressed that chef Wylie Dufresne was actually in the kitchen, although my boyfriend happened to be directly in his line of sight and felt a little uncomfortable with the way Wylie was making eyes at him all night.

The decor was dark and simple, which made for a lovely contrast with the bright and complex food being served. Plus, there seemed to be a spotlight pointed directly at each table, which is why you basically never see a bad wd~50 photo.

I understand that looking at the menu alone, the dishes are a little intimidating, and the flavor combinations aren’t immediately complimentary (sweetbreads and beets?!). After my first meal there, though, I’m convinced that Wylie can do no wrong, and I’m excited to eat more ridiculous food (and less ridiculous ones, like the caramel apple) next month when we try the new tasting menu.

wd~50
50 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10002 (map)


10 Responses  
  • Eating The Road writes:
    December 16th, 200912:31 pmat

    Damn you! I’m extremely jealous…even with the combination of beets and sweetbread (I think I’d enjoy that).

    I love this description “Something foamy and possibly celery-y that I can’t recall”

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 17th, 200910:14 amat

      I think that was the first time I had sweetbreads, actually, and I was under the impression that they’re naturally delicious and not at all weirdly-textured. And then I had them without the breading and the deep frying and realized they’re TOTALLY CREEPY. But I’d still eat them that way again in a second.

      It also had some sort of herb in it. All around a weird, weird dessert.

  • spaghedeity writes:
    December 16th, 20096:02 pmat

    what, no watermarks?

    this food. looks. incredible. and difficult to eat.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 17th, 200910:24 amat

      Oh, Aaron, you please me so.

      It was only difficult to eat because we needed to physically restrain ourselves to keep from eating each tiny dish in one bite.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    December 16th, 200910:21 pmat

    That first picture, in particular, looks like heaven on a plate.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 17th, 20092:33 pmat

      I’m kinda getting the feeling here that you’re an adventurous eater, and it makes me want to be RLBNYFFs (Real Life Best New York Friends Forever, of course) with you. Beth is great and all, but she won’t eat anything that involves fruit and vegetables, which poses a real problem when it comes to quail-banana dishes.

      • Tracey writes:
        December 17th, 20097:09 pmat

        You forgot to add, “And Tracey is great, too, but she refuses to try the things neither of us really like but I’m willing to keep trying just to keep reminding myself why they aren’t my favorite foods.”

        Kidding, kidding. I realize I’m not the most adventurous eater. I think I had a hot dog every single day of my last trip there.

  • Niko writes:
    December 19th, 20097:30 pmat

    So the desserts were good? It looks like you had quite a science experiment of a meal. How was the “nasturtium ice cream”
    I had a nice Wd-50 experience too:
    http://dessertbuzz.com/?cat=35

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews » Five-Donut Reviews writes:
    April 6th, 20125:49 pmat

    [...] Tocqueville Tocqueville (2) Tocqueville (3) Tocqueville (4) Tocqueville (5) Totonno's wd~50 wd~50 (2) Wechsler's Currywurst Wong Duckavore Dinner The Wright Yakitori Torys Tags3.5 4 4.5 [...]

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews » wd-50 Attempts the Reinvention writes:
    August 10th, 20122:02 pmat

    [...] who ate really fantastically over-the-top meals together. We celebrated our second anniversary with a few savory courses and the five-course dessert tasting and then went back for the full tasting menu, which included dishes that we still talk about years [...]


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