Alder is Chef Wylie Dufresne’s latest restaurant in NYC (in the East Village), although it’s almost a year old now. Many bloggers and critics seem to love the casual, innovative and modern take on public house food (pub food) created by Chef Wylie Dufresne and Executive Chef Jon Bignelli. Alder certainly has a casual feel to it, with its exposed brick walls and the high noise level (yes, the exposed bricks do nothing to absorb the sound generated by guests). Alder serves innovative dishes all of which are plated very well. Service was courteous, friendly and mostly attentive. The food at Alder, however, fell below expectation – flavors and textures in dishes were not well-balanced. The dishes at Alder are not particularly vegetarian or vegan friendly, but the restaurant indicates that it will do its best to accommodate dietary restrictions.
The one cocktail we ordered was excellent !! The Pinchelada was a spicy cocktail of chilies, pineapple, Mexicali beer and sansyo (Japanese Pepper powder). See this post on Tequileria Maya for an excellent spicy tequila cocktail.
The one dish that we enjoyed was the day boat scallops served with hush puppies, swiss chard and kimchi, but the portion was too small, way too small!! The scallops and hush puppies were bite sized and were gone before one could blink!! The dish is supposed to include Swiss chard, but the leaves look like parsley to me (or are they really swiss chard?).
All other dishes we had were off the mark:
- Pickled vegetables were too acidic and crunchy to be served by themselves
- Pub Cheese is served with a pistachio white fig brittle and some excellent crisps. While the pub cheese was rich and tasty (almost foie gras like), the brittle was too salty and the pistachio too rancid that it left a bad taste. Oh, and the white fig was almost non-existent in flavor or texture.
- The grilled eggplant with smoked brook trout, scrambled eggs and brown better sounds a lot better than it tasted. Nothing was wrong with it, just that it did not make an impression.
- Curried goat was intensely spicy and extremely chewy. The bread accompanying the goat was too sweet (intended to balance the spices perhaps), the acorn squash did not blend with either the goat or the bread, and the turmeric very raw and intense.
Overall, I am not inclined to go back to Alder….
Related posts on Not Just Vegetarian:
Other posts on Alder: