Monday, January 03, 2005

WD-50 Disaster

Work is really slow today, so here goes more posting. The meal at WD-50 was perhaps the worst "nice" meal I've ever had. We went on a random weeknight after I got off work, and the place was pretty dead.

For appetizers, we got the "Endive soup, squid cous cous, champagne grapes, hazelnut" and the "Hamachi, pear, mushroom streusel." Maybe our first mistake was ordering a second appetizer when the hamachi was the only meat-free, good-sounding appetizer. I don't normally like endive, but we figured we'd give it a shot. Dufresne is known for his wacky combos that work, so why not? BIG mistake. The soup had such a bitter and horrible aftertaste that we couldn't eat it. We each attempted a few bites (maybe it would get better?) and then gave up. The hamachi was at least edible, but vaguely bland and uninteresting. The fish seemed to have just coincidentally ended up on the plate with the accompaniments, and nothing really came together cohesively.

At least there was more than one entree that met our dietary needs, and we decided on the "Cod, smoked mashed potato, pickled mushrooms, red pepper oil" and the "Monkfish, oyster mushroom, squash, pumpernickel cocoa, pear consomme." The cod was probably the best dish of the meal, solidly good though would have been unexceptional in a better meal. The dish tasted nicely smoky and the sauce had a barbecue taste to it. Since I haven't eaten barbecued meat in years and always liked it, it wasn't a bad association, but nor was it particularly inventive. The monkfish was mediocre, with a watery "consomme" that tasted vaguely pear flavored. The pumpernickel cocoa paste that lined the bottom of the bowl was more odd than anything, and the whole dish was a weird combination of too strange and too bland flavors.

The only thing that spared this meal from being an entire culinary catastrophe was the desserts. And they were FANTASTIC. We got a carrot-lime ravioli with tapioca pearls. The "ravioli" were small, creamy squares wrapped in a thin orange layer, with large pearls on the side. A weird combination of textures and flavors that were totally surprising and yet worked. The second dessert was a beet cake with beet ice cream. It sounds weird, I know, but the cake, while a little dry on its own, went well with the ice cream and made for a delicious dessert. These two dishes allowed us to leave with a good taste in our mouths, and made me consider going back in the future to just eat my way through the dessert menu. Despite this ending success, I still left the restaurant feeling robbed. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that their meat dishes might be fantastic and we missed out limiting ourselves to fish. But just because your foie gras is great, that isn't an excuse for lackluster fish (at best). It'll take a miracle or a return to carnivorousness for me to give the main menu another shot.


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