There's only one problem with New American - which is that they tend to assume that everyone is on a diet. It's a fair assumption because most people who can afford to blow 100 bucks on a meal are probably that fastidious. Me? I just like to eat good food and tell off-color jokes. Since I had the private dining experience at wd-50, I could laugh as loud as I wanted.
Even for jaded road warriors like me who are apt to say about different food combinations - it all goes down the same hole - I have never seen such a variety of ingredients combined. Dude must be back there with a Kabbalah random number generator to come up with these. Two words, tobasco & caviar. I didn't try that one, but that's your first clue.
What I did have was an amazingly poofy foie gras with beets and sweets that made me hungry for more wine and thirsty for the main course which was a multitextured sea bass. It seemed almost engineered to have a marvelously crispy skin outside of the moist meat - like they cooked them in separate heats or methods and then stitched them together for presentation.
Maybe I'm thinking about Molecular Gastronomy, which is what Chef D is pioneering out here. Don't ask me about the details, but the results are kinda fascinating.
Service is the new world class, in the way that Steve Jobs makes business casual. You get the best, but it's all dressed in soft cotton, not starched. Or maybe it's something about the best New York waitstaff that don't need to be actors and thus puff up their presentation. Every motion spoiled us and the surprises kept coming.
So here's the thing that makes the rank of the fifth star, which as my readers know, is only given when I get something I have never gotten before. This time that magic word is dirt. Yes dirt.
Have you ever been in the open air after a summer shower and you smell the fresh dirt? If you know that experience, you know how wonderful it is to be alive. But have you ever thought for a moment how somebody might translate that into something edible? That's what I experienced last night. I don't know how, but there was this crumbly stuff in my palate cleanser after the main course, presaging something in my desert that was like eating earth. It was such a magnificent surprise that it completely blew away my fat gutted snark about the minimalist California portion trend in New American. (Especially considering my recent trip to JacquesImo in New Orleans). Maybe that was the Forbidden Rice or one of the other exotic ingredients for which I have only the slimmest vocab, but it was a sock knocker.
They say that the job of the best restaurant is to delight, which is a tall order for us rich, jaded, spoiled, loud mouthed Americains. How do you provide such a casual luxury? I only know it when I see it, and that's what wd-50 did.