WD50 just continues to improve. The wine list is looking a great deal better, with a deeper take on (CQ's preferred) old world selections and less emphasis on freaky Californian juice. (Kind of hilarious though to note that a Long Island Chardonnay - what a horrendous idea, Long Island may be great for potatoes but grapes? - cost twice that of the list's Austrian Rotgipfler.) The Asian influences here become e'er more pronounced, but in concert with less expected Mediterranean influences. Japan and Greece for instance both made an appearance in our lovely amuse: goat cheese souffle with a cucumber broth and dehydrated flakes - subtle, ineffable flavors that worked exactly as an amuse is supposed to, priming us for the delights to come, intimating the chef's style and soliciting appetite.
We shared 3 apps: the octopus, the beef tongue and the nori caramel-filled foie gras bon bon. The octopus, tender and flavorful, managed to be understated even in combination with a grapefruit smash - is that a jam? - olives, string beans and sprouts. Here again, the sprouts, citrus and presentation harked to Asia while the olives and beans evoked the Med. Yet as an ensemble the dish worked. The tongue had great flavor and texture and we fell too for its dehydrated onion dust heap, but the famed fried mayo cubes seemed a bit gimmicky. More novel than anything else - they did bring us back to life in 1989's Barcelona: late, late nights after the fourth disco, wasted and round about dawn we'd venture to the fritas depot for a paper cone filled with crispy french fries splashed in mayo. Adored the foie dish: terribly sexy when sliced and it oozes black. Quite preferred it to the brioche foie brulee at Jean Georges. It also seemed that the raw material, the foie itself was of a higher quality and better texture than that of its anchovy and chocolate foie predecessor.
We had two big plates: cod with its smokey mash potatoes, gorgeous pickled mini mushrooms and red pepper swoosh; and the lamb chops, with a laser-thin sliced leek and delicious (braised?) fingerlings. We had the appley 2002 Savarey Chablis but found it a little soft, lacking in minerals and steel. Polished it off regardless and were happy to find more verve and muscle in glasses of the 1998 Alsatian Baur Riesling. Lamb admittedly could have used a red.
As perhaps we've mentioned we think pastry chef Sam Mason is pretty much a fucking genius, so though no longer at all hungry we gave one of his desserts a spin. How to ignore black sesame ice cream? A perfect texture and remarkably hued: steel-green, battleship grey. A black sesame flag waved from atop our football scoop and on the other side of the plate, torched grapefruit slices sat on the tastiest part of this dish: an olive oil cake. Almost nothing sweet here - just gorgeous, unique, strange flavors balanced, challenging and new.