Saturday, June 28, 2008

Future Food @ WD-50

Every season on Top Chef, there's at least one contestant that is really in to molecular gastronomy, Wylie Dufresne is always a guest judge, and the producers always show a clip of said contestant gushing about how great Dufresne is and how he is one of the pioneers of this type of cooking. Having seen it executed on TV many times but never tried it, Abby and I jumped at the chance to grab lunch there.

The verdict? It was good. I don't think this type of cooking really adds much in terms of taste, but all the dishes were really creative, sometimes surprising, and everything looked great. If this were an Iron Chef battle, the dishes would have been maxed out on the plating and creativity scores, and average on the taste scores.

Here's what we had:

They started us out with some 'sesame paper' instead of the typical bread basket.
The first dish in the lunch tasting menu was poached New Zealand Snapper with green mango, parsley root, and cumin.
Dish two was "Knot foie," a strip of foie gras terrine tied in a know with puffed rice. The puffed rice added a nice textural contrast, but it was also all I could taste. I think it would have been better if they had used about half the amount of the puffed rice.
The third - and perhaps most creative dish -was their version of eggs benedict. The yellow stuff is poached egg yolk with a pinch of volcanic salt. Its topped with a Canadian bacon chip. On the side, they serve a hollandaise cube dusted with English muffin crumbs. You read correctly...that's a cube of sauce. Very cool. When you break open the cube, the hollandaise sauce spills out, and you can mix all the ingredients together. It tastes just like a very good eggs benedict.
Course four on the menu was a seared 'crab tail' covered with and edamame noodle in a cinnamon dashi broth. I thought the cinnamon was a bit off-putting at first but was really in to it by the time I finished the dish. It added a really nice aroma.
The fifth dish on the menu was chicken liver spaetzle with radish, cocoa nibs, and pine needle oil sauce. I liked how the sauce looked like mint chip ice cream and the radishes add nice texture. I'm not crazy about chicken livers done this way though.
The last savory dish was beef tongue with king oyster mushrooms, crispy quinoa, palm seeds infused with bitters, and a cherry-miso sauce. Beef tongue has a pretty distinct flavor, so this is probably something that you love or hate. The palm seeds were a nice complement to the dish.
The first dessert dish was called "Waldorf Salad." It has walnut crumble, walnut tuile, goldn raisins, celery, celery mayonnaise, apple, and apple ice cream. I thought that this was a really clean tasting, well done dish....very creative.
Dessert number two was toasted coconut cake, carob, smoked cashews, brown butter sorbet, and coconut foam. Another winner.
The last dessert course was Yuzu ice cream with a marcona almond coating.

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