It's not every day that Wylie Dufresne, master chef and kitchen alchemist, opens up a new restaurant. In fact, the last time was 2003.
But after a decade of tinkering and perfecting his Michelin-starred food at wd~50, he's now taking on pub grub at Alder, a 56-seat spot co-helmed by wd~50's chef de cuisine, John Bignelli.
As expected, they take a wink-and-nod approach to dishes. The "pigs in blankets" are actually Chinese sausage encased in a flattened and toasted hot dog bun. The Caesar salad comes in the form of nigiri sushi. The pastrami on rye is pastrami on rye...pasta.
Less expected is the purple pub cheese with fig-pistachio brittle and "potato chips." (Everything is in quotes here. The clam chowder's "oyster crackers" aren't your standard oyster crackers. They're crackers, but made of oysters.)
The cocktails pun around, too. Two examples: Love Oolong Time, with tequila, Chinese five-spice, grapefruit, and oolong tea; the Zereshk Is History, a blend of gin, grape must, and an obscure Iranian berry that's at least half as fun to say as it is to drink.
Berry necessary, one might say.
Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Scene: Anyone with the patience to wait — Alder isn't accepting reservations.
Hot seat: First available (see above)
Best bets: pub cheese; "pigs in a blanket"; rye pasta
Nearby: Booker & Dax; Death & Co.; The Beagle