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WD-50?

Keep meaning to try this restaurant, in town for one dinner, is it the one? If you disagree make a recommendation. Interesting menu, not touristy and no Masa price tag.

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  1. It's divisive. I loved it, many on the board don't. I found it to be interesting, exciting food with a few outstanding dishes in a atmosphere more fun and laid back than most of the tasting menu destinations. I got the tasting menu with the wine tasting and thought both were fabulous.

    It may not be the one quintessential one-night-in-New-York dinner, but I think it's worth trying. You'll either love it or hate it.

    You can do a search for more opinions about it.

    1. It fits your criteria:
      Interesting menu -- http://www.wd-50.com/menu.php
      Most go for the tasting menu $105 pp
      Not touristy -- no, not in the traditional sense. the only out-of-towners who go are foodies.
      No Masa price tag -- it's about 1/4-1/3 of the Masa price

      Wylie Dufresne is one of the most innovative chefs in the country right now. He's in the newly evolving 'molecular gastronomy' movement made famous by Ferran Adria of El Bulli (though there are lots of differences). If you are open to experimental food with interesting presentation and texture, give it a try. If you don't like your food 'weird' go someplace more traditional. Good reports of Gilt (very fancy, formal, good cooking) or 11 Madison Park (new chef Daniel Humm, good food, modern clean interior) or many many other choices.

      1. WD50 is like eating in a chemistry lab. There's a "wow you can do that with food?" vibe. Interesting, perhaps, but not very satisfying. There are tons of better restaurants.

        1 Reply
        1. Tasting Room is always my top choice. Excellent, fresh, flavorful. No chemistry experiments.

          Other only-stop-in-town spots include: Babbo (ok, you will see some tourists), Annisa, L'Impero, The Modern. All are as good and all are in the same price range as WD-50.

          9 Replies
          1. re: xavier

            thank you for your recommendations. I think we might try The tasting Room, Annisa or Salt. We are back in August for 2 more nights so we can fit them in there. The Modern is in the the new MOMA? I'd heard the service wasn't great and the room wasn't intimate, true?

            1. re: hamahoney

              Sort of surprised you are willing to swap out WD-50 for the Tasting Room. They're not really in the same level, nothing against the Tasting Room which is ok. Wouldn't be my choice, but I guess different strokes.

              http://www.wd-50.com/images2.html

              1. re: dippedberry

                I agree, and Salt is not in the same league. Personally, I like WD-50 better than Annisa too.

                1. re: dippedberry

                  I'll go along with this assessment, as well. WD-50 is unusual, but it's not so foreign that less-ambitious diners will find it challenging. There's quite a bit of variety on the menu, and they've really toned down the quirky stuff since they opened-- we wrote about it in November. It would certainly be on my list of places to go if I didn't live here.

                  Nosher

                  NYCnosh: http://nycnosh.com

                  1. re: dippedberry

                    I agree with xavier. I've always found the Tasting Room to be excellent with a great American wine list. Not sure how their new much larger location is going to change things though.

                    WD-50 is a little weird. I agree it's inventive. I loved their shrimp couscous (made from shrimp not served with it!). But I tend to like only 50% of what I eat there. Some of the mish-mashes of flavors are just unpalatable. I know it sounds crass but I tend to expect that I'll like all the food when I pay $100 for it (before tax, tip and liqour). That said it's fun to try once and there won't be a tourist in sight.

                    1. re: shane

                      Ummm, we're tourists and can't wait for Sunday! :P

                    1. re: hamahoney

                      I must agree with dippedberry's reaction. I am a diehard wd-50 fan - but I understand that it is a bit inventive. At the end of the day wd-50 is about delivering great food and wonderfully complex flavors. Be adventurous - give it a try.

                      1. re: hamahoney

                        Salt is good but not nearly on the same level as say WD~50. It's also very tight quarters with mostly communal tables.

                        Annisa is one of the most overrated restaurants in the city. Though the kabocha squash dessert I had there was very good. The room is insultingly drab/boring.

                        Haven't tried The Tasting Room...yet.

                        The Modern has some interesting food. But it is not at all intimate. I think the Modern is best as a business lunch.

                        All that being said, WD~50 is a good choice.

                    2. I am almost embarrassed to admit I've never been to WD-50. Does anyone know if they would accomodate one person without reservations? Is there a bar where one could eat?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: guttergourmet

                        There is a 6 or so person bar and many people eat there - I've gone for dessert and drinks before (love the manchego cheesecake - Sam Mason is a genius) and there's always someone doing a tasting menu at the bar.

                        1. re: guttergourmet

                          From their website:
                          "What is the wait time for walk-ins?
                          You can always call ahead on the evening you wish to dine and speak with our host, who will let you know how busy we are. We have two walk-in tables in the bar area and a counter. We also encourage people to dine at the bar where we serve the full menu."

                          7 seats at the counter

                          1. re: guttergourmet

                            I've eaten there by myself...but with a reservation. You can earn bonus Open Table points if you go/book early. No eating at the bar.