WastED at Blue Hill
I'm so back logged with posts from our trip to Philadelphia, Florida and even the hot new Javelina but I'm pushing them all back because the one place you must go now is WastED, the pop up inside Blue Hill. This is a collaboration with local farmers, fishermen, plant breeders, restaurants and retailers all about food waste and reuse. The idea is to create something delicious from ignored or uncoveted food items. A perfect example is this wondrous nutty bread baked with leftover grain mash (spent grain) from Kelso Brewing. It arrived in a simple scrap of burlap with whipped lardo and pork cracklings on the side. I was instructed to enjoy it on its own or add a dash of beef tallow from the very candle I had just used to peruse the menu. It turns out beef fat has incredible use both as a light source and garnish.
WastED hosts a different guest chef each night and I was lucky enough to have the great Alex Stupak when I dined. His cured mackerel with tepache, cilantro stem and salsa verde was a stunning medley of aquatic herbs and spices. Diners were encouraged to pick up the bowl and sip the broth at the end...a delicious way to ensure nothing goes to waste.
A must order from the regular menu was the Pasta Trimmings created with pasta scraps from century-old neighborhood pasta maker Raffetto's.
Everything from whole wheat parpadelle to squid ink linguine and spinach spaghetti are somehow cooked perfectly uniform and then tossed in an incredible sauce of preserved monkfish tripe, smoked fish head and cracklings. It was so crazy delicious I couldn't even wrap my head around all the wonderful flavors.
I was extra lucky to have King Cocktail himself Dale Degroff as the guest mixologist. He created a Bitter Orange Sour made with leftover orange peels and pimento bitters just for the restaurant. It was so smooth and balanced...plus he used the beef fat candle to add a touch of smoke at the end which was just delightful to watch.
WastED was a bit pricey at $15 a plate (about three to feed the average diner) but it was also one of the most innovative, exciting and just plain fun experiences I've had at a restaurant in a long time. Bonus points for only allowing a handful of reservations from 5-9 each night so the chances of getting a spot are actually quite high, but go soon it all ends on March 31st when the regular Blue Hill returns.
75 Washington Place
New York, NY 10011