It's been a week since my second visit to WD-50, and it's not just a lack of time that has kept me from posting about it. I have pondered what to say about this meal, which had some very high points, yet again had a dish that hit a sour note. Perhaps my expectations are too high. I want to love the place, and there are certainly dishes that are quite memorable, but at both meals there's been one dish that was just a dud. As I think about it, it probably has to do with a combination of the menu descriptions being vague, and the servers truly believing each dish is tremendous. There's bound to be disappointment on the customer's side now-and-again when what's presented does not meet expectations.
Take the sturgeon I ordered as an example. The menu reads something like "pacific sturgeon, pearl barley, purple cabbage, spice bread." (now don't quote me here, but you get the gist.)
The dish is sturgeon, not cooked through, topped with crumbs made of spice bread (sweet) and pearl barley cooked in a purple cabbage reduction. (also on the sweetish side) Basically, too much sweetness in a main course for my taste. How would I know to ask about this? It reads o.k. on the menu. I love sashimi, but this fish was not good prepared raw in the middle, too chewy - and cooking it through would not have saved this dish - sweet spice bread crumbs on fish? Creative perhaps, but not for me.
Yes, they offered to give it more fire or bring me something else, but at this point I was gettting full, and there wasn't really anything else on the menu I was dying to try. (last week's skate was wonderful, so I thought I should let it stay that way in my memory, no need to reprise it.)
Later it bugged me that during dinner I really didn't let on how disappointed I was in this dish. I kinda duffed it off on being too full. Perhaps my giddiness at how wonderful the apps were kept me from complaining, [g] But when that wore off and I thought about how really not good that sturgeon dish was, I wished I had said something.
I guess I expect a meal at a restaurant of this caliber to be without such off notes, and it's hard for me to remember such off notes at places like Daniel, Gramercy or even 71 Clinton - but then again they weren't trying to be this cutting edge.
Anyway, onto the high points...
My dining companion's pork belly was delicious, and the three apps we had were also stellar. I wished the bowl of squid "noodles" with serrano ham, garlic and asian pear in a paprika yogurt sauce was never ending. (really wonderful stuff, my description cannot do this dish justice..) The corned duck (a take-off on corned beef) was yummy: thin strips of perfectly fatty duck on rye crisps with horseradish mayo and onions. The artichoke soup with mussels chorizo, tangerine oil and a quail egg, lived up to the prior week's memory.
The service was warm, actually warmer than the week before, and the desserts were better. (although still too small for me [g]) The chocolate parfait was good and again, I enjoyed the parsnip cake.
My mom loves to try new places, and prior to making these reservations we had a plan to go to WD-50 next week. I've found myself not excited at the prospect. I feel like in two visits I've seen what there is to see, and although it's certainly interesting, from the perspective of my palate, I don't really feel the urge to return. Perhaps in six months, when I imagine there'll be a totally different menu for Fall.
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