The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dinner at Restaurants I Can't Afford Dinner: WD-50

One of my oldest college buddy, Paris, was in town for the New Year and we decided to treat ourselves to the tasting menu at WD-50. I know, you're thinking we're like 5 years too late on this, but whatevs, Wylie was in the kitchen cooking our food!

Our bread basket turned out to be a wooden container of super thin sesame crisps that I'm sure were created using some sort of dehydrating machine with numbers in its name. Deliciously crunchy and plentiful! I was able to snack on these throughout the entire meal. Thank you servers for not removing this from our table. I hate when the bread basket is taken away. Hey you, I'm not done with that!

Amuse time! Peekytoe crab, celery root, golden raisin and miso. So tasty, I didn't even mind the raisin.

This is the bottle of wine we had. The restaurant is running a recession special of 50% off a bottle with the tasting menu, so this turned into a very good deal.

Everything bagel ice cream with smoked salmon threads and crispy cream cheese. This was brilliant - probably my favorite course of the night when take inventiveness into consideration with flavor. The cream cheese had the texture of a thin sheet of white chocolate. I made each bite a combo bite with a shard of cream cheese, sprinkling of smoked salmon and portion of ice cream.

Foie gras, passion fruit and Chinese celery two ways (thin shavings atop and crunchified at the base) . This is view one.

View two to show you the passion fruit innards. I loved the crunch of the celery crumbles but I think I'm just not a huge fan of passion fruit. Too sweet for my tastes. Still, a good accompaniment to the richness and unctuousness of the foie.

Scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado, seared kampachi and tiny, tiny home fries. I love the way the chef balances textures. Without the crispy potato bits, texture wise, this would have been too one dimensional a dish.

Cold fried chicken with buttermilk-ricotta, tabasco reduction and caviar. The ricotta was a great stand-in for rustic, mashed potatoes.

Langoustine, red pepper threads, black sesame and shiso.

Beef and bearnaise turned out to be nothing like what I was anticipating. These were crazy rich but light as a feather bearnaise dumplings in a very beefy broth. Silly me expected a piece of steak!

Lamb loin, black garlic romesco, soybeans and pickled garlic chive. This may have been my least favorite course of the evening. The lamb was a bit undercooked for my tastes. The silvery bit was left on the meat, making the chewy bites even chewier, nearly impossible to break down.

"Caramel apple" was apple ice cream with caramel on the inside.

Caramel apple insides.

Hazelnut tart, coconut, chocolate and chicory foam.

That's not a scallop! It's a caramelized brioche with dried apricot, buttercream ribbon and lemon thyme foam dollops.

To finish the evening, cocoa packets which reminded me of the old sample packs from Kiehl's and chocolate shortbread covered milk ice cream.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If it's any consolation to Motorino...

Otis would have awarded two stars.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

18 Hours in Madrid

What do you do when you have 18 hours in Madrid? You drink a lot and you eat a lot.

Our first stop was Madrid Madriz. After a long day of flying, nothing like a heuvos fritos con bistec amid a sea of cigarette smoke to stave off the jetlag.

Molly agrees.

Lolo went with the morcilla.

And then it was off to the Mercado de San Miguel, a renovated, covered market with a couple dozen stalls each with their own speciality: pinchos, oysters, beans and grains, cheese and more. This was the jamon stand. We were too stuffed to try anything after that huge meal, but we got in a drink at the vermouth stand.

Expert carving at work.

Afterwards, we hit the restaurant at the top of an El Corte Inglés department store, where Lolo promised the best view of Madrid. I drank many of these - cañas - basically a small draft beer, kind of like a half pint you'd find in England. This is the only way I want to drink beer from now on.

He wasn't joking! It was overcast, but the view was still great.

And then it was off to meet some more people at another location which I can't remember, where more cañas and pinchos (patata bravas and tortilla de patatas). What I do remember is that despite the tiny size of this place, they had their own jamon and jamonera! I'm sure this is standard.

Our final stop was at Txangurro with Molly's friends Carla and Ernesto - more cañas, more tapas, more cigarette smoke. Pretty awesome despite the latter. We had bonito, and pulpo and more tortilla de patata and to end night, a round of gin and tonics. Want to know how gin and tonics are served in Madrid? You get brought a glass of ice and a bottle of tonic. The server then proceeds to pour and keeps going until you say when. You can make them pour all the way to the top of the glass and that would be fine. These people are crazy!

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