Total Bill: $110 for two
Alder says it wants its food to embody the pub spirit, and that’s exactly what it delivers–and in a manner still true to itself. The food is simple, but not without the gastronomic details Chef Wylie Dufresne is so famous for. While it’s a starkly refreshing departure from his WD-50’s icier atmosphere, there’s also no denying they share the same DNA.
There’s still intricate thought that goes behind the construct of every dish. It’s just more playful at Alder. Even the staff exudes it.
Kim and I shared five dishes, which are ranked broadly by serving size on a single-column menu.
Pigs in a blanket was, of course, not simply pigs in a blanket. It takes an Asian route, incorporating the sweet Chinese sausage with blots of spicy Japanese mustard and chili sauce. Execution wasn’t the best—some coming off slightly tough and overcooked—but the thought is there.
The foie gras terrine comes highly recommended in the social-media world. A no brainer for a foie gras lover like me. It’s as subtle as subtle foie gras can get, which is nice considering the pretty substantial half-discs that come in every bite. It’s served atop a Ritz cracker for that casual bar-food feel and under a thin slice of watermelon as its twist.
I’ll write my indifference to this one off on my distaste for watermelon. But beyond the taste, I wasn’t a fan of the texture either. Would you want your foie gras drenched in water? I would have loved this with a heartier fruit, say, a nectarine.
The fried squash blossoms helped me move on though. Beautifully executed, just enough grease to make it bar food, just enough shrimp to class it up a notch. The dill, among my top 5 herbs, added a perfect punch.
The rye pasta was my favorite, a blatant deconstruction of the pastrami sandwich. The pasta is plump, nesting over a pile of shaved pastrami. It’s the boldest in flavor of our selections, with the rye really shining through.
Then there’s the root beer pudding. I’m repulsed by root beer floats, and I love this pudding. I’m having a hard time explaining why this is, because it replicates the flavor so perfectly. Maybe it’s the foaminess in a normal root beer float that I hate, and how sometimes you get spoonfuls of just root beer soda–yuck. But the pudding form soothes out all those inconsistencies with the added crunch of toasted almonds.
Mark this one under the to-revisit list.