Restaurateur Wylie Dufresne, or someone who ought to be him, responds to criticism on Lockhart Steele's blog of the Lower East Side, and by extension, his new restaurant on Clinton Street, WD-50: "To Mr Negative and his supporters - I am so terribly sorry that my restaurant is of no value to you. You've lived here since 1997 - wow, that's old-skool. You must be the chairman of the community board. I must have forgotten to get your hancock before I single-handedly turned a piece-of-shit nail-salon and bodega alley into the hottest little street in NY. You don't like it? Obviously you don't own your apartment. I also apologize for my robbing you of cheap chicken. If you come around back at closing time, I'll feed you the leftover goose liver gnocchi, or whatever the hell it is I serve. And writing stuff like this on poor Lockhart's blog? If he has any more of my oysters, he's gonna get frisky enough to mount you, wherever you are. Then he'll make you scream not only his name, but the names of all the hot, new 'Below 14th' establishments that you can't afford to go to."
WD-50 review comments [Lockhart Steele]

Full text:

To Mr Negative and his supporters - I am so terribly sorry that my restaurant is of no value to you. You've lived here since 1997 - wow, that's old-skool. You must be the chairman of the community board. I must have forgotten to get your hancock before I single-handedly turned a piece-of-shit nail-salon and bodega alley into the hottest little street in NY. You don't like it? Obviously you don't own your apartment. I also apologize for my robbing you of cheap chicken. If you come around back at closing time, I'll feed you the leftover goose liver gnocchi, or whatever the hell it is I serve. And writing stuff like this on poor Lockhart's blog? If he has any more of my oysters, he's gonna get frisky enough to mount you, wherever you are. Then he'll make you scream not only his name, but the names of all the hot, new 'Below 14th' establishments that you can't afford to go to.

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Posted by: Wylie Dufresne at April 30, 2003 10:35 AM


I live in upstate N.Y. and work as a line cook in a restaurant making 11.00 dollers a hour.
So as you see I'm far from well off.
My family and myself have drove down and ate at 71 clinton fresh food many times and even my kids loved it,12 and 10.
And I just don't spend my money at Wylies but also in other stores on Clinton St..
Is that not a good thing?
Wylie as the talent to work in any place in N.Y.
but stayed in his neighborhood.
Again is that a bad thing?
Robert R

Posted by: Robert Rymarz at April 30, 2003 10:44 AM


Oh by the way,I will be having dinner at wd50 in two weeks and any opinions on where I should have lunch?
Robert R

Posted by: Robert Rymarz at April 30, 2003 10:52 AM


Robert - man, you make $11 an hour and you eat at my restaurants? Jeez man - I'm sorry. Next time you come by, let me comp you a gooseberry tart or something.

Posted by: Wylie Dufresne at April 30, 2003 11:01 AM


d, my new favorite "cheap chicken" place is the Clinton Restaurant right on the corner of Clinton and Houston. I think their beans are the best and I like how they serve the chicken with a lime. Cibao is OK — their egg and cheese sandwiches kick ass though.

Here's a tip for all of you who like it un-pretentious but not ghetto. Azul on Stanton & Suffolk has a fantastic brunch. Went there Sunday, it was gorgeous, and drank delicious white sangria and I had the breaded piece of chicken with mashed potatoes. Nice change of pace from the typical omelette-and-home-fries. There were maybe only 2 other occupied tables in the whole place. It was a shame, because we had tried to eat at Essex for their brunch and had been told the wait was over an hour. Ridiculous!

Some other Clinton Street notes — what's the deal with that fried spanish food place right near Delancey? It's always packed and the food in the window looks totally disgusting. What is everyone ordering there. And the pizza place a few doors up from there — has anyone noticed there's always a chicken cutlet or something in the window with lettuce and tomato on top of it. It looks like it's been there for years.

Posted by: MrNegative at April 30, 2003 11:10 AM


Chef,
Thats ok chef, You have already comped me desserts and the last time I was at 71 CFF you sent out your white gazpacho and clams.[Loved it] on the house.
Don't no if you remember me most times we were seated right next to the kitchen door and your staff got a real kick out of my son's palate.
He even wrote a school report once on your shrimp stuffed squid.
We have a new baby now so your reservation's said you had no highchairs and likely could not accommodate a baby at this time which is understandable.
But a friend and I will be there on the 13th and would love a kitchen tour if your not too busy.
Thanks Chef
Robert Rymarz

Posted by: Robert Rymarz at April 30, 2003 11:44 AM


Ah yes, I now remember that I have comped you several times.

I am a generous and largely benevolent chef who makes dishes that will blow your fucking mind.

As for this continuing discussion of "un-pretentious but not ghetto" establishments - no no, that's not pretentious one bit. Isn't it obvious that most of these medium-price places wouldn't exist if it weren't for the more expensive ones, like my kickass restaurant? It's not an either-or proposition. You want the neighborhood to have the things you enjoy without the necessary accompanying things that others will enjoy. Things never stay frozen in time at exactly that sweet spot that you personally enjoy. The next step is somebody else's sweet spot.

And does this white girl who walks into a Hispanic place want a medal, or what? Yes, people who come to this street for a nice meal do not come for the breaded chicken. Can you believe these jerks?

Posted by: Wylie Dufresne at April 30, 2003 01:11 PM


Does anyone remember sohoba's roti and jamaican food shack that existed where the jamaican braids-and-dreadlocks place is?

Posted by: MrNegative at April 30, 2003 02:29 PM


I think the issue that people are having in this whole yuppies vs. the hood debate is that it seems as tho we are losing at least some of the flavor that we moved in here for. There are plenty of places that are neat-o/chic/fun and not "ghetto," but at the moment there are an overwhelming amount of people and establishments that are sucking the soul out of the LES.

I've never eaten at 71 (however I agree with 1492's tapas, oh sweet meatballs!), but it bothers me to see droves of sheep standing in velvet-roped lines to Be A Part Of Something Hip. That's, for me at least, where the frustration lies. I moved to the LES for the people and the character and the atmosphere of the hood, and I see it vaporizing as time goes by. At the same time, I don't pretend to be Older-Than-Thou, and I get just as irritated with people who say things like, "I've been here since xxxx," unless it's something like... 1974. I've only lived here a few years, but even in say, the last six months, it's gotten really out of hand.

Can I get a gooseberry tart anyways? :-)

Posted by: deanna at April 30, 2003 03:06 PM


just thought that it should be said that the person posting under "wylie dufresne" is likely not the chef at wd50. i could be wrong, in which case, i think you should go easy on the fois gras for a couple of weeks, wylie.

Posted by: oyster goo at April 30, 2003 04:22 PM


Hey Lock, any chance of setting up a "Below 14" forum?

lots of topics to discuss that aren't really focused on newish eateries/bars/places, but are of interest to lower east side residents...

I've alwas wondered about this tremendous, long-abandoned theatres in the neighborhood. There's one on Delancey Street that butts onto Suffolk. Used to be one on Clinton, backside onto Attorney.
Nothing makes me sadder than old theatres...

Posted by: MrNegative at April 30, 2003 04:27 PM


Well if it's not Mr Dufrusne we will soon find out. As I just phoned the restaurant to verify it.
Robert Rymarz

Posted by: Robert Rymarz at April 30, 2003 04:43 PM


We're going Hollywood, baby!

To paraphrase Bill Simmons, there's comedy, there's high comedy, there's transcendent comedy, and then there's "Wylie Dufresne", message board poster.

MrN: A forum would be fun. I'll ponder it.

Posted by: Lock at April 30, 2003 05:16 PM


Just wanted to reiterate my main point. I am a kickass chef, who seriously takes no prisoners. The streets will run red with the blood of other chefs, and I will probably make a delicious broth out of it. I invented the spatula. I paid the cost to be the boss, and I didn't get this far by comping gooseberry tarts to anyone who asks.

It doesn't really matter where you choose to eat - I even own all the spanish fried-food places for hedging purposes - you eat on Clinton Street, your ass is mine. I even have power to reverse the traffic on the street at will.

However, if you call me, I'm probably gonna play this game where I pretend to not know about you, this website, and probably the internet altogether. If you want to be "down" with a celebrity chef such as myself, I invite you to play along, and do the following. When you come to eat, ask to see me personally. Then ask me for a piece of 'yowahif', and tell me that price is no object. This is a delicious trout and chestnut quiche I whipped up for my special homies. Ordering it is a secret code that let's me know you iz down wit Wylie.

Posted by: Wylie Dufresne at April 30, 2003 05:56 PM


Love Willies shtick! He's got to do two sets a night in his new WD50. Maybe he can get karaoke too. His food may rock, but does he sell them little bottles of Matus like the corner joint? I think the reason the chucfritos place is crowded is people like to eat crappy fried food.
Look, there are two types of people. 1 type would check out the local dives and treat poor people with respect. 2 type would always do the "one-up" routine and play the class war.
type one's would go to both resturants on a given week. Don't get me started on other types.

Posted by: calvin hobbs at May 1, 2003 10:21 AM


oh yeah— as long as we're on Clinton St., here, and they're no forum (yet, ahemahemahem), does anyone know what movie was being filmed there last night? it was bright and startled me. i accidentally cut through a shot, completely oblivious with the headphones on...

Posted by: deanna at May 1, 2003 10:58 AM