157 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
b/t 10th St & 9th St East Village

August 20, 2015

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“Pigs in a blanket” – Chinese sausage, japanese mustard, sweet chili sauce

Alder is chef Wylie Dufresne’s pub-inspired restaurant. Visit here is a timely one, since it will be closing at the end of August.

Pigs in a blanket was a cute name. The chinese sausage was more playful in flavor than common sausages. Wrapped by fried compressed hot dog bun and enriched by mustard and chili sauce, these small bites almost resembled some typical sweet-and-sour chinese takeout food. While being interesting in concept, the taste was on a rather heavy side.

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Korean Fried Cauliflower – Squash, carrot, sesame

The cauliflower was deep fried naked to a degree that it’s browned all over. It succeeded in keeping the natural sweetness of the vegetable itself. However, after getting tossed in the “Korean” sauce, the taste suddenly became too overpowered. Accompaniment like squash and carrot also seemed a little far-fetched here, since they did not enhance flavor much. This dish was also comparatively less conceptual.

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Rye pasta – Shaved pastrami, scattered with jerky dusk

This plate is famous, for that the chef has taken familiar pastrami sandwiches and presents its flavor profile in a personalized style. I have to echo all the praise because it did tasted oddly of reuben. My friend thought it was one-note, but I kind of enjoyed that part for its temerity. One drawback: the portion was way too light.

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‘All in’ – Burger Beer cheese, half-sour pickles, onion soup rings

I had burger as my main course. The brimful beer cheese on the patty was utterly satisfying. And here was a well-paired ale to washed it all down.

As to the onion soup rings, which was the thing I came here especially for, turned out to be a bust. First, it lost any crispness it once had under the weight of a thick brown sauce. And the onion ring itself was in no way, taste or form conveying a spirit of french onion soup. I thought this could really be a boundary-pushing attempt, but sadly, didn’t deliver beyond its concept.

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Overall, Alder left a lot to be desired for me. Thank god its goal was not to replicate the ethos of wd~50, otherwise the mission would just be an epic failure.