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wd-50 Restaurant - New York, NY

Extremely Disappointing Tasting Menu and Wine Pairing


Restaurant Category : American (New)

WD 50 - New York, NY: I had heard so much about this Lower East Side eatery in a New York Restaurant Guide and various New York restaurant reviews (some even said it was one of the best restaurants in New York)that I had to go and try it out for myself. Our table was booked well in advance. The setting was very casual with chairs and tables unpretentiously huddled together. WD 50 New York doesn’t try hard to be fancy or ostentatious unlike other more showy restaurants that cover up their lackluster food with an exaggerated look. This restaurant wears its relaxed look on its sleeve without any fuss. Even the staff is dressed in simple blue jeans, burgundy shirts and blue aprons in keeping with the low key look. Alternative music played inconspicuously in the background. The WD in the name stands for Chef Wylie Dufresne and 50 represents the street address.

The clientele varies from casually dressed young couples in t-shirts and sweatshirts to a slightly older crowd dressed in suits and sweaters. WD 50 New York proved to be far less chic and trendy compared to what we were led to believe before we came here.

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We opted for a tasting menu with wine pairing. It started off with the Peekytoe crab, buckwheat, caramel-dashi-all of which tasted really ‘fishy’. Even the bagel, smoked salmon spread and crispy cream cheese had an overpowering fish taste that was not diffused by expert cooking styles and flavours. To add to our woes, the Italian sparkling wine that we had with both the courses tasted simply cheap! The tangy and slightly sweet Foie Gras with passion fruit came to our rescue and made for a nice little bite, but the romance with WD 50’s cuisine was nipped in the bud by the scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado and kindal kampachi-all disappointing. They couldn’t even get something as harmless as a scrambled egg with avocado and white fish right. Again we were served the same wine with two courses in a row. It was highly annoying to have the same wine pairing with multiple courses. Another disastrous combination came in the form of cold fried chicken and caviar-these two were just not meant to be served together, especially since the caviar was so imposingly fishy.

The bay scallops with red wine didn’t impress me at all and the beef and béarnaise is not even worth mentioning. Again the same wine was paired with two more courses. A sheer waste of $75! The best part of the meal was the lamb loin, black garlic romesco and pickled garlic chive-and that isn’t saying much about WD 50’s food because the items in question came with four bites of meat with a ton of fat and minimal flavor.

Caramel Apple (apple sorbet with caramel rum on a bed of graham cracker crumbs), served without any wine was there just to cleanse the palate, I suspect. For dessert we had hazelnut tart, coconut, chocolate and chicory-finally something that I can rave about, even if it came a little too late. Pastry Chef Alex Stupak did a superb job with the dessert paired with Lemesos from Cyprus. We also dug into some caramelized brioche, apricot, butter cream and lemon thyme served with an Italian Piedmont.

The service was nothing exceptional or extraordinary-very average to put it mildly. It’s going to be very hard for me to decide what was more disappointing- the food or the awful wine pairing (ten courses and seven different tastings of cheap wine). It looked as if cheap was their theme of the day-with the dishes, glassware and silverware being very similar to low-end Ikea crockery.

I am not sure how anyone could rate WD 50 New York as one of the best restaurants in New York, but for me, my restaruant review New York for WD 50, puts it close to the bottom. If you see it listed in a New York Restaurant Guide steer clear! After ten courses of mostly fishy food and wine pairing that was not only cheap but lacked imagination, I have to rate WD50 New York not bombastic!

What I liked: Hazelnut Tart

What I didn’t like: Paying for wine pairing for ten courses and only tasting seven cheap wines and the fishy, unimpressive dishes.

Rating: Not Bombastic

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