Science And Food: New York's Restaurants Embrace The Future

by Sara Schnackel · July 11, 2011

    Molecular Gastronomy, sounds like some horrible class you took in high school, right? It's actually a technique employed by some of New York's trendiest restaurants.  It uses the chemical composition of foods and the body's reaction to these chemicals to make new and innovative combinations of ingredients.  New to the idea? Make a reservation at any of these innovative restaurants, and make sure to keep an open mind.

    Some chefs actually hire scientists to help assemble the dishes at these unique restaurants, which often include unconventional combinations of ingredients and enigmatic cooking methods. This cutting-edge concept has started quite the worldwide craze.


    Located on the lower east side, the location, like the food, is unusual. Described by Zagat as eclectic and trendy, this is place for people who think food is fun. If you're cautious or prefer conventional food, you wont like it. Plain and simple.

    The food is always more interesting than it sounds on the menu, and the chefs pack a surprise into each course. Ranked as the 7th best overall restaurant in the area, it's definitely worth the trip.  WD-50 received a Michelin Star in 2006 and has retained it every year since. Shown is WD-50's everything bagel with smoked salmon threads and crispy cream cheese. If that doesn't sound weird enough for you already, you should know you need a spoon to eat the bagel; it's actually ice cream!

    Price: $140 tasting menu

    Eleven Madison Park

    Eleven Madison Park is located by Madison Square Park (obviously) and is listed as the second best restaurant in the flatiron district. A meal at Eleven Madison Park is an experience you won't soon forget. The food is divine and is not overly fussy or pretentious, just great, clean flavors.  The decor is unique and stunning and the food is slightly more conventional than that of WD-50.  Eleven Madison Park also boasts a somewhat personalized menu, "Dishes are listed solely by their principal ingredients, and guests are invited to make their selections, share any thoughts or preferences, including any ingredient dislikes, and allow us to design their meal from there." Eleven Madison Park has a 5 star rating from Forbes Travel Guide, and hey, if the people at Forbes like it, we're guessing it cant be half bad. Shown is the foie gras perrine with golden pineapple.

    Price: $190 tasting menu


    Corton is on the forefront of the New York molecular gastronomy cuisine scene. With two Michelin Stars, the inventiveness, boldness, and attention to detail in the food makes Corton a true game changer. Located in  Tribeca, Corton often experiments with texture and density of their dishes, as well as creative flavor combinations, to create a menu that's sure to hold your attention.  The decor and ambiance is very clean and zen like, and it's a guaranteed OMG experience all the way through. Corton boasts that Chef Liebrandt’s modern French menu melds the tradition of classical cuisine with a contemporary approach to ingredients and technique. The flavors are clean, precise and intense. Shown is brioche toast served at Corton.

    Price: $155 tasting menu

    Dirt Candy

    We promise the food is more appetizing than the name, this innovative vegetarian restaurant is located in the East Village.  With dishes like fried jalapenos with maple butter, and caramel popcorn pudding for desert, you're sure to  try something you've never had before.   Often praised for the creative nature of the food, Dirt Candy's slogan is "Anyone can cook a hamburger, but leave the vegetables to the professionals." And professionals they are. The cutting edge techniques used here are truly impressive and surprising. You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy Dirt Candy, and your taste buds are sure to get a shock. All menu items are vegetarian, but can be made vegan upon request. Shown is a tofu dish served at Dirt Candy.

    Price: About $60 for 4 course dinner, no tasting menu