WD-50 last night (long)
Well we decided our 9th wedding anniversary was a nice time to finally correct the fact that we have never been to WD-50. It was definitely a more unusual choice than where we've spent the day in past years (Cru, Per Se, Bouley, etc). But I'm happy to report that despite the 50/50 reviews on CH, we loved the meal.
We went with the tasting menu (~12 courses) with the wine pairing.
The tables are very close together which made it not a particularly romantic meal, but certainly a fun meal, with a lot of conversation between tables about the various dishes coming out. Service was excellent, very friendly.
The meal began with a folded copy of the menu to take home (I think I read a complaint in a post about not getting a copy of the menu until the end, so maybe that's changed or maybe they're not consistent on that), which we really appreciated.
Also, the wine pairing had some courses share the same wine (with a re-pour as needed) which I actually really liked because I didnt feel hurried to get through the wine and get to the next one and end up too tipsy to pay attention to the food ;)
The standout best dish of the night to both of us was the Eggs Benedict. This consisted of fried cubes of hollandaise sauce, cylindrical shaped egg yolk, and paper thin pieces of bacon. Stellar. My husband usually hates hollandaise but just adored this dish.
I also really loved the first course of sweetbreads with fennel and 'earl grey peanut powder'. Somehow, the peanut I guess, it reminded me of all the things I love about pad thai.
The pizza pebbles, a standard I think, were the first thing I've ever eaten that made me laugh a little / grin when I ate it. Such a goofy, clever dish. Just couldnt get over the fact that it really does make you feel like you're eating a slice of pizza.
Enjoyed the knot of foie too -- particularly the texture counterpoint of the sesame seeds to the fois.
Hamachi tartare was the only kinda miss to me as a dish. Not that the fish wasn't tasty. It just had a huge array of flavors going on that only seemed to work if you managed to get all of those flavors on to your fork at once (hamachi, sea beans, sake lees tahini, grapefruit-shallot). If I missed any of that on my fork, the flavors just didnt quite meld.
French onion soup was a nice dish with the cheese balls, but it was just the tiniest bit on the salty side for me (husband did not agree with me on that).
Cuttlefish with butternut squash worked well as a dish, so did the lamb belly with black chickpeas and cherried cucumber.
Loved LOVED the toasted coconut cake dessert with brown butter sorbet. And also the 'soft white chocolate, potato, malt, white beer ice cream'.
Had a great cocktail when we got there, a Welch Cocktail with hendricks gin, lime juice and concord grape. Yum, tasted like the pure essence of a concord grape.
Anyway, to sum up...it's not a place I'd go to on a weekly basis (well for price or for style of cooking) but it was a great experience and one I look forward to take friends too. I think I'd like to try some of the more substantial ala carte courses next time instead of the tasting menu. But I definitely think the tasting menu is the right way to go on a first visit.
Thank you for this report! It's making me think about going back, and trying the tasting menu this time (did you find that none of the a la carte courses were on the tasting menu? That was probably my number one problem with the restaurant when I went). I loved the desserts too - I didn't do as well with the savories. But the Eggs Benedict sounds exactly like the kind of molecular gastronomy dish I like - classic flavor combinations, deconstructed and reconfigured with novel textures.
1st two courses (sweetbread / pizza pebbles) served with Cava Avinyo Reserva Brut NV
Fois served with Riesling 'Estate' Bert Simon 2004
Hamachi and the eggs benedict served with Sancerre ' Roc De L'Abbaye' Florian Mollet 2006
French onion soup and the cuttlefish served with Schiava 'Olleiten' Laimburg 2006
Lamb belly served with Syrah 'Deux Vert Vineyard' Elemental Cellars 2004 (probably my favorite wine of the meal)
Toasted coconut cake served witih Cerdon du Bugey 'Methode Ancestrale' Renardat-Fache NV
and the final dessert (the chocolate/potato/malt/white beer ice cream) served with Commandaria St John NV from Cyprus (which was a lovely way to end, we've had that wine in Cyprus and always smile when we see it on menus).