I’ve been in my favourite city in the world recently, and although there with the day job, managed to work in some great food adventures. The highlight was most definitely dinner at WD-50, which I have to thank The Nose for, as all four of us agreed that the meal was truly deserving of the term awesome.
Now I won brownie points over The Nose’s other half, who is definitely the man about town, regularly taking his clients out to eat in NYC. And he swore that there was no such place as WD-50, that it couldn’t be any good as he’d never heard of it. Well, of course, those of us back here in Blighty have heard of it as it’s where Tim Anderson cooked during the Masterchef final week. Put it this way, there are a number of his clients who will now be heading in that direction!
There were four of us for dinner, not quite the Brits version of SATC but myself, The Nose, Twiglet and Boss Lady 1. Which meant we were going to get a good selection across the menu, even allowing for The Nose being vegetarian. We were all happy right from the off, with the cocktail menu, enjoying a catch up over a couple of pHs (vodka, raspberry, lychee and rose) and one involving bourbon and Pimms.
This place is cool, but not in an up itself, no fun, intimidating kind of way, you just know that this place has got it going on. And all the people working there that we came into contact with were superb, and very charming. In fact I think Twiglet said “hot” on several occasions. She was the one on the bourbon, mind. Our waiter was hugely knowledgeable, and patient, as we asked questions about the menu, later progressing to questions about the techniques, when dish after amazing dish arrived and just didn’t look like what we were expecting. I mean, this is not your average Eggs Florentine:
But this is no case of style over substance. The Eggs Benedict version came with super thin crispy ham, the peekytoe crab roll was crisp, delicious and stunning to look at. Then there was the corned duck, something Fray Bentos most definitely don’t make. If I hadn’t got a main course coming, I could have eaten this all over again!
Mains were one of those for me where the choice was impossible, and where great waiting staff really come into play. I asked our waiter for some help to choose between the duck or the lamb. He made the duck sound great, but he made the lamb sound unmissable, and his whole expression was so animated about this dish. I mean, who wouldn’t be intrigued by lamb skirt steak cooked very slowly at low temperature, especially when it comes with pistachio polenta and endive marmalade?
The Nose didn’t have a huge number of vegetarian options, but when you get a parsnip tart this good you don’t need them. This is definitely not going to pass the WI standard for a savoury tart, being very deconstructed, but maybe construction is over-rated, as I am assured it tasted amazing.
Should you like things a bit on the spicy side, then Boss Lady 1 had duck. Not spicy in its own right, but kimchi cous cous certainly had a slow burn build up of heat.
Sadly I have no idea what Twiglet had, nor photographic evidence. I think by this stage we all just wanted to get stuck in. All I do remember is she returned a clean plate to the waiter and declared it truly the best meal in her life. Ever. Even better than when she’d said that at lunchtime the day before, but that’s a different story for another day!
Of course we had to do dessert, although we were struggling a little by this stage, so time to share. What I loved about this food was of course it had molecular magic to it, of course it was incredibly clever and technically brilliant, but it was also just beautifully presented, with amazing taste combinations and textures and just made us “ooo” with delight as each dish arrived. Although sometimes the menu is not the biggest clue on what to expect!
This is Tri-Star strawberries, brown butter, kaffir, pinenut, elderflower:
Beautiful, light, summery with added crunch of what I think are dehydrated strawberries, with the most intense flavour.
And there had to be chocolate, for Boss Lady 1 and me:
This was like an expensive Italian fashion house of desserts, all shades of taupe, toffee and caramel. The menu says milk chocolate, black bean, plantain, soy, peanut. We said “amazing”. We were running short of superlatives.
If I never eat here again, I will consider myself incredibly lucky to have experienced this once, especially with such fab company. But I’d save up and go again on another trip to NYC like a shot!