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Alder

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twoshovelAlder was not exactly what I expected. The food was fairly straightforward, at least in comparison to WD-50, which wasn’t a detriment for the dishes since most are memorable close to a month later. I couldn’t conjure up a single detail about the room if I tried, though. Perhaps that wasn’t the point.

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Even though I’ve been trying to work my way through two pounds of Chinese sausage picked up at Costco, I still ordered the pigs in a blanket that wrap flattened hot dog buns around the sweet fatty links of lap cheong. The emphasis here is more on the link than the normally puffy coating. Served with sweet chile sauce and Japanese mustard, these are the perfect cross-cultural snacks. They will not be forgotten come Super Bowl.

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The quail scotch eggs, whose shrunken size provides a good coating to innards ratio, also tread in bar snack territory.

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Grilled octopus combined the most unusual flavors and it was also the most successful composed dish. Octopus and chorizo, I could buy in that Portuguese-y pork and seafood way. Sweet potato–why not? Banana, though, seemed, well, bananas, one step too far. It was not. Oily sausage, paprika and octopus coins are strong enough for a sweet, starchy accent.

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Instagram works. I might not have considered the goat if I hadn’t seen the whole animal being prepped before service. I’m not sure what else went into this take on Jamaican goat curry and coco bread, but based on taste it was less a riff than a rendition, just presented spilling out of a wedge of acorn squash.

Alder * 157 Second Ave., New York, NY

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