Sunday, August 22, 2010

minibar = BIG TASTE

Well I’ve been MIA for a while….and it’s not due to a lack of eating or drinking!  In fact, I’ve been doing more than my fair share – from Las Vegas to Cape Cod, not to mention minibar ( right here in DC.  If you’ve never been, start saving your pennies (more like dollars) now, because believe me, it’s worth every one you’ll spend.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, minibar is the 6 seat “restaurant” within CafĂ© Atlantico, one of Jose Andres’ many DC restaurants.   It’s actually more of a sushi-bar where you and the 5 other guests sit in front of the chefs and watch as they prepare each dish.  This is where chefs get to play with food.  It’s a meal of around 30 courses (the night we went it was exactly 30) each of which are about 1-2 bites.  While you do leave full, you aren’t disgustingly so.  The chefs get super creative, using techniques such as chilling ingredients with liquid nitrogen so they practically disappear in your mouth rather than melt.  They render ingredients down until they can be molded or shaped or piped onto a plate in any way shape or form they choose.  They spin fresh cotton candy right in front of you then serve it with something like eel or spider shrimp – certainly not something you’ll pick up on the boardwalk this summer!

Here are a few shots of the dishes….





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A few things to know if you plan to go:

1)     1)   You must call to reserve a table 30 days in advance – so exactly 30 days from when you would like to go.
2)     2)   There are two seatings a night, one at 6:00 and one at 8:30.
3)     3)   The cost is $120 per person and there are several wine pairing options available, or you can just order by the glass.
4)     4)   They will alter their menu if you have any food restrictions (such as my allergy to shellfish).  Don’t worry, it doesn’t affect what the other guests eat – everyone around me enjoyed plenty of shrimp, crab, oysters, etc.
5)     5)   Be adventurous!  Remember, you are sitting right in front of the people who prepared the food – if you’re not willing to try new things, this may not be the place for you.  I say BUCK UP, its quite the experience!