As expected, Wylie Dufresne gives Alder a minor relaunch tonight, making his causal East Village restaurant a little less casual (at least in the dining room). Now, instead of an a la carte menu, he'll serve a five-course tasting, based in part on the "Test Kitchen Tuesdays" dinner series he started last month with chef de cuisine Ryan Henderson. Though the new menu had been described as a prix fixe, the menu for tonight, at least, doesn't offer any choices. Here's what it includes:
Scallops, red grape, coriander-brown butter
Black garlic potatoes, bravas consommé, chorizo, scallion
Okonomiyaki silver dollars, kewpie mayo, "syrup"
Lamb, ramp panisse, smoked yogurt, vadouvan
Brie ice cream, Triscuit, pickled cherry, port wine cashew
These are all dishes that haven't been seen on the regular menu, though some made appearances at Test Kitchen Tuesdays dinners. As to be expected from Dufresne, there are some modernist visual tricks here, like okonomiyaki that look exactly like pancakes. It definitely puts Alder one step closer to Dufresne's iconic and now-departed wd~50, but at $65 per person, is a much more affordable option. For now, this menu is set, but it could change at some point down the road.
Meanwhile, some of the old Alder favorites, like the pub cheese, the rye pasta, and the burger, are still available a la carte at the bar and at the restaurant's outdoor seating, and it will still continue to serve the same brunch it always has on weekends.