When I was a kid, my mum’s friend Judy Pinn made an old pair of scissors disappear. On reflection I realise she made us turn around and close our eyes plenty long enough to slip them under the rug, or drop them in a pot plant, but at the time it felt like magic. Yeats once said, ‘the world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.’ True story. Like anchovies and choko and okra and oysters. GOB Bluth once said, ‘What’s this? A stuffy office meeting? Perhaps it’s time for some Office Magic.’ And what’s Office Magic? ‘Sometimes it’s as simple as turning 10:30 in the morning into… lunch time!’ True story. And, as Yeats and Bluth would no doubt agree, some things are undeniably magical: tempering chocolate, cacio e pepe, popping candy and poached eggs. On a still NYC evening we wander from Ave B to dinner at WD-50, on Clinton Street. The dining room is unassuming, relaxed and comfortable; we sit at a table by the kitchen and each order the seven-course tasting menu, ‘From the Vault’ ($90). Between the amuse bouche and our first course of beef tongue with cherry-miso, quinoa fries and king oyster (the tongue is sliced fine; rich and livery) conversation swings from dumplings being made of stolen dead bodies, to a passenger dying mid-way through a long-haul flight, and something to do with opera singer Rita Hunter and a deep fryer. Edamame gazpacho with peekytoe crab, pomegranate and pickled ramp is sweet, cool and mellow. David Bowie croons his Space Oddity, we hum along. Service is paced to let us relish and rave after each dish, the next appearing before we have time to wonder. Monkfish with red pepper oatmeal, black olive mochi and turnip silences the table – the fish perfectly seasoned, the mochi a sticky, fried, twisted tater-tot. The smoked duck with parsnip ‘ricotta’, cocoa nibs and black vinegar is full-caps fantastic. I can’t remember why, but my notes read: DUCK!! We savour the unimaginable passionfruit ‘tart’ with sesame, Argan oil and meringue and it’s clear that Wylie Dufresne is some kind of crazy conjurer and WD-50 heady under his spell. Our waiter, originally from Namibia, enthusiastically describes each course. He is warm and interested and when we ask his favourite dish he rattles off a list before offering, matter-of-factly and without bitterness, ‘I try to make up for the many days I went hungry’. Then he beams again and shows us to the door, wishing us a good evening and fun vacation. Out on the street, debating a hot dog chaser, it occurs that I’m beyond lucky to have never gone without food – and what’s beyond luck? Magic.
Beautiful….. Disneyland is magic too you know…..
i hear Chrisneyland is even more magical. I enjoyed this, Nath Scandal – particularly the dinnertime chit chat.
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