wd-50's Chilled Egg Drop Soup, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes
No. 15: Chilled egg drop soup from wd-50
More tongue-in-cheek tomfoolery from New York's original trailblazing progressive restaurant.
While Wylie Dufresne's other restaurant, Alder, continues to garner acclaim after a successful opening this past spring, wd-50, the creative chef's flagship, has settled into its new life sans a la carte service. On offer: a $90 5-course menu of dishes from over the course of the restaurant's 10-year history, or a $155 13-course tasting. Either option is a delight, but for our slim wallets and deep-seated control issues, we like to grab a seat at the bar and indulge in one of the best fine dining deals this city has to offer. For $25, bar patrons can choose any two dishes from either of the restaurant's menus (with each additional course priced at $15). It's a great way to sample Dufresne's food without going all out, and one dish that makes the deal particularly worthwhile is the chilled egg drop soup with sea urchin, mushrooms, and radish.
Like most everything at wd-50, achieving such a masterful result takes many, many steps. Samantha Henderson, who replaced longtime Dufresne chef de cuisine Jon Bignelli (who now heads up the kitchen at Alder), explained that the soup base gets its richness from being steeped with shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and radish. A mixture of egg whites and pureed sea urchin is added to the infused chicken broth in the same way that traditional egg drop soup is prepared, gently poured into the hot soup to create solid strands. The concoction is chilled for service, and dolled up with slivers of radish, leaves from baby bok choy and chinese broccoli, pan-roasted oyster mushrooms, and a couple of nice, plump tongues of uni. The depth of flavor achieved between the broth and its accoutrements is astounding; the egg strands bearing a slight sea-sweetness from the urchin. Between the texture of the fresh uni and the umami elements in the soup, the dish manages to be light, refreshing, and complex all at once. Such winking and nodding can occasionally come off as trying too hard, but the only thing overboard about this dish is how obscenely flavorful it is.
Later this year, we'll pen our Best of New York issue, our annual love letter to what's great in this town. When that paper hits the streets, you'll find our picks for the very best this city has to offer when it comes to dozens of cuisines, restaurants, dishes, and drinks. Until then, you can get a taste of our contenders as we count down, in no particular order, our 100 favorite dishes from around the boroughs, a list of laudable eats worth tracking down right now.
No. 100: Taqueria Lower East Side's carnitas No. 99: Tartine's steamed mussels No. 98: Malu's Cookie Monster ice cream No. 97: Coppelia's Havana salad No. 96: Falansai's clay pot catfish No. 95: Uncle Boons' Khao Soi Kaa Kai No. 94: ABC Cocina's salted caramel "impossible" flan No. 93: Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine's peanut noodles No. 92: Distilled's country-fried duck and waffles No. 91: Calliope's octopus salad No. 90: Charlie Bird's diver scallop crudo No. 89: Silver Moon Bakery's fig and pepper bread No. 88: Stage Restaurant's egg, cheese, and sausage on a roll No. 87: Manzanilla's Marbella's Full Moon No. 86: Bia's Cary Ga No. 85: La Newyorkina's pineapple jalapeño paleta No. 84: Empellón Taqueria's skirt steak tacos No. 83: Sugar Sweet Sunshine's pistachio cupcake No. 82: El Chivito d'Oro's skirt steak No. 81: Saro Bistro's satarash No. 80: Oda House's adjaruli khatchapuri No. 79: Hill Country Chicken's pie milkshake No. 78: Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue's chili mac No. 77: The Musket Room's steak and cheese pie No. 76: Battery Harris' Baked Patties No. 75: Legend's Dan Dan Noodles No. 74: Pure Thai's Nakorn-Patom duck noodles soup No. 73: Melt Bakery's Morticia No. 72: Calexico's Baja Fish Taco No. 71: Sushi Dojo's Omakase No. 70: Bear's smoked whitefish No. 69: Locanda Verde's corn ravioli No. 68: Ghenet's Ghenet Combination No. 67: Ample Hills Creamery's ice cream No. 66: Burger & Barrel's Burger No. 65: Radegast's Munich pretzel No. 64: Mighty Quinn's Burnt End Baked Beans No. 63: Cho Dang Gol's spicy galbi jjim No. 62: Tacos Mexico's chorizo taco No. 61: Pork Slope's loaded nachos No. 60: Pine Box Rock Shop's bloody mary No. 59: Franny's antipasto plate No. 58: Num Pang's curry red lentil soup No. 57: Khe-Yo's Jurgielewicz duck salad No. 56: Dough's doughnut (any doughnut) No. 55: King Noodle's ma po tofu fries No. 54: Terri's green power smoothie No. 53: Estela's beef tartare No. 52: Pho Grand's pork chop pho No. 51: Stella 34 Trattoria's chocolate gelato No. 50: RedFarm's spicy crispy beef No. 49: Bhojan's daal tadka No. 48: Pig and Khao's khao soi No. 47: The Grand's handmade pierogies No. 46: Dominick's Deli's Dante's Inferno No. 45: The Queens Kickshaw's deep-fried squash blossoms No. 44: Black Tree's squash blossom sandwich No. 43: Nan Xiang's xiao long bao No. 42: Jones Wood Foundry's bangers and mash No. 41: White Bear's wontons No. 40: The Harrison's toasted couscous and farro salad No. 39: Katja's sausage sampler No. 38: Magpies' strawberry-balsamic magpie No. 37: Bunker's pho ga No. 36: Fritzl's Lunch Box's burger No. 35: Biang's lotus root salad No. 34: BrisketTown's brisket No. 33: Bronx Ale House's alehouse nachos No. 32: Shinobi Ramen's mabo ramen No. 31: Pok Pok NY's papaya pok pok No. 30: Land of Plenty's Szechuan Pork Dumplings No. 29: Financier's pistachio macaron No. 28: Arancini Bros' Nutella arancini No. 27: Di Fara's calzone No. 26: Atera's bone marrow No. 25: The Mermaid Inn's brunch bread basket No. 24: Hospoda's fried cherries No. 23: Xe May's Lam'bretta No. 22: Meatballs Alsatian from Café Cluny No. 21: Café Ghia's biscuits and gravy No. 20: Espardeñas from Toro No. 19: Beef noodle soup from Lan Zhou No. 18: Soup and half roll combo from Luke's Lobster No. 17: Spicy pork quesadilla from La Pasadita No. 16: Pastrami sandwich from Loeser's Deli
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