50 Clinton St. (LES)
Alexis: This year's work dinner was at WD-50. Wiley Dufresne, who studied under Jean-Georges Vongrichten, was my old boss's rival. My old boss Jordy also worked under Jean-Georges, as well as Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain.
I was excited to eat here because while Jordy's food was delicious and interesting, I had heard that Dufresne did some crazy shit with his food. Pictured here from top to bottom: duck foie gras with "lentils" made of mole sauce and quince yogurt, and as my main course lamb atop potato noodles with mustard crumbs and pretzel consomme. The rest of the photos can be found here, at my Flickr account.
Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the food and wine and led us generally in the right direction. My foie gras was interesting - the mole lentils would've been better as a sauce tho, as there was not much flavor to them. I tried the popcorn soup, which was a puree of 3 kinds of corn topped with shrimp and jicama in a tamarind reduction. This dish worked well because of all the different flavors and textures. Other appetizers we tried, the grilled octopus with avocado and grilled quail with banana tartare, were good also.
My lamb arrived and everything about it was good. Even the curious dehydrated mustard chunks, which were slightly sweet, and I suppose meant to accompany the pretzel consomme.
For dessert we ordered almost everything (four out of the six offered) and out of those, one stood out. We had a toasted coconut cake with brown butter sorbet that tasted like the Philippines. We also had a creamsicle and jasmine custard, as well as a chocolate mousse, all of which sounded great on paper but I think all the binders and chemicals and messing that was done with them did not do anything for them. The textures were mostly gummy and disturbing.
I'm not saying it was a terrible dining experience - the food tasted good and was fresh. But it was like eating someone's science experiments. I may be partial but I think Jordy's food was a lot better. Don't hate me, guys.