So what does that mean exactly? Well, it means, for one thing, that Dufresne (actually it was one of his sous-chefs) figured out how to make a less grainy version of his shrimp noodles, which are extruded spaghetti shapes made of shrimp, shrimp oil, salt, and meat glue, a.k.a. the enzyme transglutaminase.
We tried the shrimp noodles (shown at top), and they were indeed silky and supple, topped with chopped tomatoes and whole shrimp. I had a strange feeling when I was eating them, though, that this dish was more a conceptual art piece than culinary achievement. I say that because the dish tasted pretty much exactly like what a good (if slightly undersalted) normal pasta with shrimp would taste like and feel like in your mouth, just arrived at in a far more arduous fashion. Kind of like painstakingly fashioning a naturalistic rock from pulverized rock dust.
Our favorite dish, taste-wise, was a crab roll, cut into bite-size pieces like sushi, wrapped with a sweet, bready wrapper we couldn’t quite place. We asked our server, and he said with a smile, “It’s a hot dog bun that’s been run through a pasta press.” A lobster roll/crab roll reinterpreted, but not too much—clever.
A visit to WD-50 does feel a little like visiting a school: There’s an element of “this is an ongoing exploration of trying to find the edge” to it, and a thrill of getting to take part in a work in progress. Some of it tests out, some of it doesn’t. But it’s never not interesting.