This restaurant might be a newcomer to New York’s dining scene, having opened in March 2013, but the man behind it, chef Wylie Dufresne, certainly isn’t. Dufresne opened WD-50 (now closed) more than 10 years ago and it’s still a destination in its own right; remaining one of the finest – and earliest – restaurants to sing the virtues of molecular gastronomy. His newest creation takes his experimental and supremely creative approach and applies it to the most accessible style of cuisine around: bar food.
Located smack dab in the heart of the young and bustling East Village, Alder takes the familiar and turns it on its head, with delicious results. French onion soup is transformed into "rings" with beef gravy and Gruyère, jalapeño poppers are made with uni cream cheese and trout roe, pigs in a blanket are made with Chinese sausage and compressed hot dog buns, and rye pasta with shaved pastrami that takes all the flavors of New York’s unofficial sandwich and turns them into a world-class pasta dish. And don’t skip the cocktails. Standouts include The Sanctimonious Kid, with Pimm’s, tequila, bay leaf, and blood orange; and the Burnt Reynolds, with rye, smoked vermouth, and Campari.