Wylie Dufresne, known for his kitchen wizardry at Wd-50, claims that Alder, his new “neighborhood spot” offers “casual food.” While the room feels buzzy and comfortable in a modern way, the thought and execution behind dishes like the foie gras terrine ($18) are anything but casual.
This terrine features a circle of divinely silken foie nesting within an outer ring of poached apple, with a thin layer of chartreuse yogurt binding it onto a slim English muffin. The textural combination is crisp yet smooth; the flavors deep, rich, tart and brightened with flecks of sea salt. The playful and delicious result is something only a 2013 James Beard Best Chef New York City can pull off; definitely not a bite found in your average neighborhood pub (or even gastropub, for that matter).
The rest of the menu has the same sense of fun and reinvention: Chinese sausage with mustard and sweet chili sauce spiff up traditional pigs-in-a-blanket ($12), for example, while a New England clam chowder ($16) features oyster crackers — crackers literally made from Dufresne-transformed oysters.
The Alder is Dufresne’s first new restaurant in a decade (Wd-50 opened in 1993), with much gentler prices and a more accessible menu than its older sibling. Judging from the nightly throng inside, East Village diners have waited quite long enough for Dufresne’s encore, “casual” or otherwise.
157 Second Ave.