Hi all, Stephen here.
It's been a while since I've posted something. Things have been hectic after being away for three months and then coming to the need to find, choose, visit and book a place for our wedding. Done, done, done and done!
While we were in America we usually followed a similar pattern every day. Sleep in a bit to avoid the peak traffic (people traffic I mean), do some touristy stuff and then have an unforgettable dinner. After a long day jumping from Chinatown, including a trip to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (still to be posted) and then a huge bounce up to the Central Park markets to buy some gifts, we headed back down to the Lower East Side for dinner.
There were a few MUST GO places in NYC and WD-50 was one of them. I had heard about this molecular gastronomy restaurant in the past and then came across it in Heston Blumenthal's Search for Perfection. WD-50 has managed to hold onto a Michelin star since 2006 and was rated in S. Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants. I booked our reservation a month in advance to ensure a table. Unfortunately, we didn't have the money to try the tasting menu costing $140US (plus service tax and tip). Meaning we had also missed out on the 'everything bagel', which was on the last season of Masterchef. So we each choose three courses and an alcoholic beverage.
I choose a wine which came from Australia, mostly because I had learnt that produce and products in America seem to be half price compared to their country of origin, so being $62US a bottle, I know I couldn't afford this glass again (at the moment at least). It was a beautiful wine though, excellently balanced and not too dry and the tastes of blood plum, dark chocolate and licorice coming through well.
Jasmyne on the other hand ordered this concoction of Applejack, smoked maple, and manzanilla sherry. The Applejack, a concentrated hard apple cider, was incredibly strong in this drink. The smoked maple added a complex, sweet and smoky flavour, and the manzanilla was sweet and delicate, which complemented and soothed the strong alcoholic taste of the Applejack.
I had entered the restaurant already knowing exactly what dishes I wanted and this definitely lived up to my standards and expectations. The Eggs Benedict was absolutely amazing. Benedict sauce was battered and deep fried (squared cubes) and burst as my knife cut through. The egg yolks were poached (I believe) with extremely thin and crispy pieces of Canadian bacon. Individually each aspect was superb, and when combined caused an explosion of breakfast flavours in the mouth.
This whole dish was a study in delicacy. The sweet potato soup was flawless - it was smoother than smooth, lighter than any soup I'd ever had, and lightly flavoured with sour kalamansi and earthy hazelnut. The ravioli skins were so thin they were see through, and the scallops were beautifully fresh.
This was one of the best Wagyu steaks I've had so far, cooked perfectly medium-rare melted in our mouths. It was served with a mixture of fig and rutabaga (swede) mixture which provided a soft texture to the dish, similar to the meat. As a contrast, the black-eye peas must have been cooked in a caramel, since they were sweet and crunchy, adding a different texture to the plate.
The duck came out on a plate vaguely resembling a chamber pot, but the contents were incredible. The black sesame dumplings had an interesting flavour - it's something I'm used to in a dessert, but the mildly sweet flavour went well with the duck. The red cabbage added some texture, and the parsnip consomme was crystal clear. The duck breast was perfectly pink, however the skin was a bit disappointing: because half of it was submerged in the consomme, it turned out all rubbery and inedible.
The first dessert was uninspiring. While the meringue itself was springy and airy, the slices of banana and passionfruit and star anise sauce, while well-executed, just didn't compare to the next plate that came out:
I think I can safely say it was the BEST DESSERT EVER! And I'm serious. Three months later and I still think about it and salivate. It was amazing. A beetroot sauce was streaked along the plate with a perfectly silky smooth chocolate ganache ribbon waved on the plate. A scoop of ricotta cheese ice cream was nested upon a freeze-dried beetroot mousse shattered over the plate. Lastly, small grains of chocolate, which I believe were a combination of milk chocolate (lighter ones) and semi-sweet dark chocolate infused with long pepper (darker ones). Individually, all of the aspects of this dessert were excellent, but together they were extraordinary, hence the amazing memory of this dish.
These little morsels come out with our pot of tea, and it easy to imagine how they were. Just imagine, small balls of vanilla ice-cream encased within rice bubbles. The smooth ice-cream with a nice crunch.
Our experience here was a good one. The staff were clued in and were easily able to explain how each dish was put-together, and the flavour combinations were well thought out and fun; the vibe was unpretentious and casual. It was a definite highlight of our time in New York.
50 Clinton St
New York, NY