Jump to content


Photo

Minibar, Culinary Director José Andrés Reopen in the old Zola Wine and Kitchen Space

Penn Quarter Contemporary American Cheapest Available Wine Dinner For Two Is $845 José Andrés James Beard Award ThinkFoodGroup

  • Please log in to reply
85 replies to this topic

#1 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,199 posts

Posted 26 April 2005 - 10:22 AM

[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

The minibar at Café Atlantico is an amazing experience that anyone serious about food must try once (you folks may wish to get your reservations in now because this is going to be the biggest thing in DC since the Monument).

No matter what I say here, you owe it to yourself to go - this is something to experience, to learn from and to make up your own mind about.

Yes, some 34 tastes or thereabouts, beginning with a Binaca spray-can full of mojito, and ending with a spoonful of Listerine sorbet 90 minutes later. In between, you'll find rapid-fire courses full of all the audacity and verve that you could possibly imagine. Some work, some don't, and all are thought-provoking and whimsical.

There is no sense in breaking down each of these because the depth of each individual item is not the important thing here: the courses come at you too fast for reflection, for scrutiny, for analysis. This meal is a roller coaster, a surfboard riding the waves of flavor, texture and temperature without the time allowed to peak under the water to see what's happening. It's tres macro in that the big picture is what you should walk away with, not minute details of each 90-second course. This was a challenge for me because I like to think about what I'm eating, but this is the cuisine of first impact and slapdash analysis. Only at the end should you think back and reflect.

The actual dishes - and I suspect I'll take heat for saying this - are not important. Nor is the concept behind each individual dish important. The important thing here is the concept behind the meal as a whole. Not having been to El Bulli, I have never experienced anything like this before. Once you've done it, you won't want to do it again, at least not for a long while, but everyone needs to do it once. There are 270 million people in the United States, and it will take a good long time to fit each of them into this little six-seat minibar, so Café Atlantico should prepare themselves to be deluged.

You have to feel a twinge of pity for any first-time visitor to London that doesn't see the Tower of London, if not for the crown jewels and the contrived whimsy of the Beefeater tour guides, then for the sheer amazement of being there, and it's the same way with anyone serious about food: they simply have to have a meal at the minibar at Café Atlantico. But just as a London tourist wouldn't feel any need to return there (only a masochist would return a second time), I doubt I'll be back to the minibar anytime soon. It doesn't really matter what they're going to do with the harvest this autumn - I already know what the meal is going to be, and at this point, it's just a matter of filling in the proper details with the proper ingredients. And I don't feel the need to find out what strange ingredient will be combined with my squash this fall.

Regarding the wines with this meal, the restaurant desperately needs to turn towards Germany for Kabinett-level Riesling (hey guys, Terry Theise does live in this area, y'know!), and also for some lightweight red Bourgognes. Having four bottles open at once would highlight the little tasting game, say a Sauvignon Blanc, an Austrian Gruner Veltliner (preferably with some age), a Pinot Noir from Burgundy and a Riesling from Germany. Absent that, there are so many tastes, combinations, temperatures being hurled at you that you're probably best off drinking still bottled water at room temperature and just riding with the food.

So, did I like it? Well, that depends what 'it' is. I loved the dining experience in its entirety, I loved the novelty, I loved the back-and-forth between server-and-diner, I loved the sheer innovation and I loved that I was early in catching this destination meal that is going to be wildly popular, and there's no way it won't be (repeat: reserve now!).

Almost every dish brought forth a 'wow, this is really interesting' from me, but not-so-many dishes warmed my soul, or made me want to have them again. I was on my toes the entire meal, but it was a rare moment in the meal when I'd say to myself, 'Man I've just GOT to have another one of those!' Again, I stress that it's the meal itself - not the components - that is the important and radical thing (unless you consider foie gras wrapped in cotton candy important and radical. Well, okay, it may be radical, but it's certainly not important).

But did I like it? Put it this way: now that I know what it entails, I would look back two days ago and say to myself, 'yes, this is the one place you need to experience, more than any other place in the Washington area.' Now that I've had it, it would not be in my top 50 for visiting a second time (though I'm Jonesin' to try the weekend brunch). So, you should consider this posting to be a plug for the minibar at Café Atlantico. I urge you, gentle reader, to go, go with an open mind, and by all means make your own decisions which could easily be quite different than mine are. We're in uncharted territory with this place, and it cannot be "ranked" with the other restaurants in the city.

Oh and Steve Klc: your mango dessert was indeed brilliant - I felt like fireworks were going off inside my head. Given my advanced sagesse as a result of this experience, you may now call me PopRocks.

Cheers,
Rocks.

P.S. I can honestly say this was the first 34-course meal I've ever had that was followed by two Wendy's spicy chicken filet sandwiches on the way home. (Seriously.)


dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#2 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,199 posts

Posted 26 April 2005 - 10:24 AM

Is it fun?

Consider that one of the following is true:

1) Débec Fin - Kats serves us one of those large, white plastic soup spoons, and instructs us to 'walk with it to the bathroom, stick it all the way in the back of your throats, and ... gag yourselves!' "But why," I ask. At that point, I get backhanded by John Wabeck, who turns toward me with his head hung low, beet-red, ashamed to even look at the chef, and admonishes me in a raspy whisper, "Umami, you Philistine."

2) Cinq Sens Saint-Saens Sans Sens - Kats offers us a plate, then prompts his assistants to walk around behind us and place the headphones on. Sure enough, Saint-Saens' second piano concerto is now playing in our ears. We look at Kats who smiles and nods, and we begin nibbling our course. I look over at John, and he's counting to himself on the fingers of his left hand, and I can see him mouthing to himself, "Taste ... smell ... sight ...."

3) Serviette Truffée - Kats advises us to 'take a bite of this course and then ... smell your napkin! ' I reply, "But why?" "Because it's truffled!" So we're sitting there, whiffing our napkins after each bite of food, and JohnW turns to the chef and asks, "Are these white or black truffles?"

Now, you tell me whether or not it was fun!


dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#3 bilrus

bilrus

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,125 posts

Posted 11 May 2005 - 01:17 PM

Some Minibar discussion from Frank Bruni, NY Times whipping boy, er, restaurant critic. It is part of a larger discussion of avant garde dining in the US.
Bill Russell

#4 Tweaked

Tweaked

    Hungry

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 06 June 2005 - 04:39 PM

mini_ceasarsalad.jpeg
Deconstructed Cesar Salad

mini_potatomousse.jpeg
Potato Mousse

miniconch.jpeg
Conch Fritter
Meat is Murder...Tasty Tasty Murder

#5 jm chen

jm chen

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 821 posts

Posted 12 September 2005 - 08:28 AM

It... I... minibar is so.... ah.... WOW.

There is absolutely no other food experience like this. Basically, when the first thing they serve you is a little green teardrop of candy shell that has olive oil on the inside and vinegar powder on the outside, you know what you're in for. Experimentation. Surprise. Powerful, overwhelming flavor experiences. Shocking elegance. Things you can't do at home, wouldn't do at home, would never have thought of.

I don't want to go into the dishes in detail, because they will no doubt change, plus half of the fun is in watching them assemble little rolls and piles and cubes and squiggles, and trying to guess what the hell they're about to serve you. I have to admit I laughed a couple of times when they set dishes out -- I was giddy from the excitement, and plus, how can you not laugh at the idea of carmelized maple... pork rinds?

I had been concerned about wine choice, but the wine list was perfectly suited for the experience. I had a flight of three Champagnes and the birthday boy had a flight of three white wines, a Riesling, a Viognier, and a Pinot Gris. I think.

Worth every penny, that is for sure. Funny to note that three couples formed the 8:30 Saturday seating, and in every case, the lady of the couple was treating her male companion to the meal as a surprise.

Left the place feeling utterly fat and happy, and still a little giddy from the whole thing.

Can't recommend it more highly for adventurous foodies. (My parents, on the other hand, thought it just sounded really weird. Especially that olive oil candy thing.)

Jael

Jael
 


#6 DanielK

DanielK

    leviathan

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,663 posts

Posted 08 December 2005 - 10:42 PM

Jose gets good press for Minibar in this story in USA Today about "extreme cuisine".

#7 Pete

Pete

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 478 posts

Posted 08 April 2006 - 01:17 PM

If anybody is interested, Minibar had a cancellation, so they have an opening for 4 people on Saturday April 22. I cannot make it, so I figured I would let you all know about it. I doubt the opening will last long.

Lisa: Do we have any food that wasn't brutally slaughtered?
Homer: Well, I think the veal died of loneliness.


#8 Olivia255

Olivia255

    Gold

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 81 posts

Posted 10 April 2006 - 09:25 PM

I LOVED Mini bar......
It was a gift to myself & Mark when we realized we'd have to leave DC (my job, alas!)
Regardless -

I have no experience with food-writing/reviewing, but I will say that having an undergrad degree in Art and an MS in Art Education, this was a stunning, outstanding, artistic experience.

Baroque (wow how can the colors and flavors really work without being tacky? - "Fois Gras Cotton Candy")

Neo - Classicism (Classic, yet new - "Deconstructed Philly Steak & Cheese")

Impressionism (pretty, comforting, soft, yet artful - "Olive Oil Bonbon")

Surrealism (did I dream that? - "Sweet Pea Caviar" or did I really eat that? - "Sea Urchin with Pmegranate Air")

Minimalism (how simple can we get and get away with it? - "Deconstructed Glass of White Wine")

Dadaism (what the f$@*k was that? - "Beet Tumbleweed")

Cubism (layers of perspective & angle - "Zucchini in Textures")

Abstract Expressionism (drip painting - the art is the in the procedure - "Feta Linguini")


Anyway, I had such a ball - I hope you all have a chance to go - what a treat!

#9 Demvtr

Demvtr

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 131 posts

Posted 11 July 2006 - 09:50 AM

I had the dining experience of the year last month at minibar, which I have been meaning to post about since then. This post, however, is just to pass on information I received via e-mail. The e-mail is as follows:

July 11, 2006

Dear Guests,

We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest gratitude to each of you in choosing Cafe Atlantico & Minibar as one of the restaurants of your choice when dining in the D.C. Metropolitan area. Also, we would like to welcome all of our new guests and look forward to serving you!

As the summer progresses, schools are closed and everyone is arranging their schedules to fit in some time for rest and relaxation! We would like to take this opportunity to inform all of our guests that the Minibar will be closed for the month of August as our creative, dedicated, and talented chefs are on vacation. We will be accepting reservations for the Minibar during the month of August for reservations in the month of September. Reservations for the Minibar are taken during the non-dining hours of the restaurant:

MON - SUN
9:00 am - 11:30 am
2:30 pm - 5:00pm

Again - Welcome to our extended family here at Cafe Atlantico & Minibar and we look foward to your next visit with us!!

Cafe Atlantico is located at:

405 8th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202.393.0812
Fax: 202.393.0555



#10 shogun

shogun

    Ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 888 posts

Posted 11 July 2006 - 09:57 AM

Oh man, thanks for posting that...I wanted to hit there before I leave.

That said they were probably already booked for July anyway.
Matt Robinson

I'll have the beef car-patchio to start, and the braised lamb shank...........and a Yorkie. Buttered.

#11 qryan

qryan

    Elvin Hayes

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 12 posts

Posted 17 July 2006 - 08:37 AM

I just wanted to let everyone know that I canceled a minibar reservation for 2 on this Wednesday night at 6pm because I was called away on business. I know that they are completely booked until they close for the month of August, so if anyone has been meaning to go, call ASAP. They are also threatening to charge me for the cancellation if they don't fill the seats, so replacements would be nice for me too.

Thanks

#12 sunshine

sunshine

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 118 posts

Posted 21 July 2006 - 07:53 AM

Minibar is fabulous -- not just the 30 something courses, but the entire experience. Husband and I went for the first time this week, and it rocked! I loved the intimacy of seeing my food prepared by the chefs before my eyes, getting to know my neighbors and sharing the different reactions and responses to the courses. For several hours, you're part of a mini-community experiencing sensory shock and awe. It is truly one of the things one must do before they die (happy). $95 for the meal with options to pair with wine by the glass, flights of 3 ($20), pairings of 5 ($40) or bottles. We chose the pairings - choice of "light and fresh" or "luscious and sexy". Standout dishes: Jose's olives, the foie gras cotton candy, the foie gras and corn mousse in an espresso cup, the conch chowder fritter, maple pork rinds ('cause i love pork), mini corn on the cob, philly cheesesteak. There were moments where I felt giddy with pleasure and other times where I thought, "hmmm, interesting, what the?" (Smoked oyster with apple and smoke air and cocoa covered corn nuts were not my favorites.) It's already difficult to get reservations (we got in on a cancellation), but keep trying. Minibar continues to get more and more media coverage (PBS and Food Network coming soon). We are blessed to have it in D.C.

#13 Cooter

Cooter

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 163 posts

Posted 21 July 2006 - 08:47 AM

The wife and I did mini-bar for my birthday in December and loved it. It's amazing that over the course of ~30 exceedingly challenging and experimental dishes, there are only maybe a couple of straight up misses, IMHO.

I have little to add to what everyone has already said, but did want to mention a couple of things I hadn't see anyone yet say.

First, I didn't like the wine pairing that much. Were we to return, I think that I would stick with champagne for the entire meal.

Second, the chefs and the hostess/server are absolutely fantastic. Despite being in the middle of creating so many dishes, many of which are pretty detail oriented, each chef was happy to explain every ingredient that went into each course as well as the eclectic presentation (soap dishes!) and unique methods of preparation. Often the chefs seemed excited to let the diner in on their food magic secrets. I am anxious to make the olive oil drop that the meal begins with when the appropriate situation arises.

#14 cheezepowder

cheezepowder

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,851 posts

Posted 24 September 2006 - 09:15 AM

I finally went to minibar last night. I loved the experience. I had many of the dishes that people have described here and elsewhere so I won’t describe them in detail but I will list our menu below so you can see what was served.

My husband is vegetarian, and I haven’t seen any reports from vegetarians who went to minibar so I’ve listed his dishes in parentheses next to the regular dish. (Their website FAQ says they can accommodate vegetarians and certain other dietary restrictions). We noted on the reservation confirmation sheet under dietary restrictions that he's vegetarian with eggs & dairy ok. We really appreciated their willingness to accommodate. The chefs were great, and I was impressed by how many of the veggie substitutions maintained the style of the regular dish (for example, the tomato and mozzerella injection instead of the lobster injection, the cotton candy avocado dusted with corn nuts instead of the cotton candy foie gras, mushroom and cheese steak instead of the philly cheese steak, etc.).

Menu
olive oil bon bon
passion fruit whiskey sour
“mojito” – liquid ball
pork rinds with maple syrup (veg: carmelized pumpkin seeds)
salmon roe cone (veg: tomato seeds cone)
beet tumbleweed
saffron yogurt meringue
ferran adria “olives”
curry boneless chicken wing – with a charred flavor (veg: seared watermelon)
cotton candy foie gras (veg: cotton candy avocado)
salmon pineapple “ravioli” with crispy quinoa (veg: deep fried sweet potato with crispy quinoa)
deconstructed glass of white wine
“ajo blanco”
organized caesar salad (veg: a different kind of organized salad)
conch fritter (veg: guacamole wrapped in jicama package)
smoked oyster with apples (veg: watermelon three ways – with vinaigrette, tomato seeds, parmesan)
zucchini in textures
“guacamole” – avocado slices wrapped around a log of tomato sorbet
feta linguine
corn on the cob
egg 63 C with caviar (veg: same without caviar)
lobster americaine with injection (veg: peeled tomato with mozzarella injection)
sea urchin with passion fruit (veg: berries with something salty with passion fruit foam)
new england clam chowder (veg: tortilla espuma? had potato puree like the clam chowder)
breaded cigala with lemon (veg: breaded asparagus)
philly cheese steak (veg: mushroom and cheese steak)
japanese baby peaches with yogurt
pistachio, beets and berries – had a beet meringue and berry sorbet
thai dessert – coconut sorbet, peanut “paper”
saffron gumdrop in edible wrapper/fruit cocktail injection/maracuya
marshmallows/chocolate covered corn nuts
halls lollipop

#15 jiveturk21

jiveturk21

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 515 posts

Posted 13 February 2007 - 07:45 PM

Saturday night was the night, the night that I FINALLY got my Christmas present and the night that I FINALLY got to go to minibar.

Honestly, it was probably the first time that I was filled with anticipation to go to a restaurant since I visited Rain in Toronto this past summer. I mean, I have been happy to check out some of the new places in the past seven or eight months (PS7, Bebo Trattoria, Central), but I was giddy about going to minibar on Saturday night. Maybe it was because I had no idea what I was about to encounter, maybe it was because I knew that I couldn't make half of the stuff on the menu or maybe it was because my Christmas present was coming 6 weeks late! Whatever it was, I was psyched, and I am happy to report that it wasn't a disappointment.

Without boring everyone with the details, I will just toss out the dishes that I loved and the dishes that I didn't love as much.

The great ones...

Tumbleweed of Beet
Cotton Candy Foie Gras
Bagels and Lox
Curried Chicken Wing
Lobster Americaine
Feta Linguine
Egg 63 with Caviar
Philly Cheesesteak
Japanese Baby Peaches with Yogurt (the only dessert we really loved)

The not so great ones...

Salmon Pineapple Ravioli with Crispy Quinoa
Sea Urchin with Passion Fruit
Smoked Oyster and Apples
Maracuya Marshmallow (I could have put more desserts on here, but this was the worst)

Honestly, even the bad dishes were good, but with everything else being so great, they paled in comparison.

Some other notes...

1. The wine pairing that we got (Sexy and Lucsious) was good. It has to be hard to try to pair wine with this many courses, but they did a good job.
2. Everyone that worked there was just awesome. Very willing to chat about anything you wanted to, but also hands off enough so that you could have conversations on your own without feeling like they were butting in.
3. How do they make money? I am convinced that this is a money losing venture, but Jose Andres and company do it for the prestige. They have six seats twice a night, and they are only open five nights a week. So, how do they make money with 60 customers per week when A) the food costs are high (even though the amount of food is small, the ingredients are expensive), 2) the labor costs are high (we had three full-time chefs, one part-time chef and one waitress) and 3) the equipment costs are high (they have a slew of specialty equipment that most restaurants wouldn't have). Hey, maybe I am wrong on this one, but it just doesn't seem like they can make money on minibar (not that they don't make up for it with everyone that can't get in there going to Cafe Atlantico, Jaleo, Zaytinya, etc.).

So, all in all, an amazing experience, everyone should do it at least once.

#16 Al Dente

Al Dente

    Prescott Pharmaceuticals Rep

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,280 posts

Posted 30 April 2007 - 03:00 PM

Yikes...

As of May 15th, the price will be $120!

Wine, tax, and tip are not included.

#17 Meaghan

Meaghan

    Ambivalent

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,050 posts

Posted 01 May 2007 - 10:07 AM

Yikes...

As of May 15th, the price will be $120!

Wine, tax, and tip are not included.

Now going to Minibar is like having good seats at a show you've already seen and will only see again to entertain some curious guest. And whose not drinking with a 30-something course dinner? So, it went from like 90 bucks with everything to like 200? Why?

#18 Banco

Banco

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,209 posts

Posted 26 July 2007 - 09:42 AM

My wife and I had our first Minibar experience last night, in celebration of her %#th birthday. What Don said in his post at the head of this thread is all true; it wouldn't make sense to give a blow-by-blow description of all the dishes.

Still, there are two basic philosophies that seem to govern this type of cuisine: deconstruction and concentration. The former parses out all the flavors of a dish, sometimes a quite familiar one, so they can be tasted separately. The clearest example of this is the deconstructed glass of white wine, which arranges various flavor notes (vanilla, lemon, pineapple, apple, etc.) on a bed of grape gelatin. This is a fun but rather academic exercise, and has very little to do with eating. The latter approach, concentration, takes another familiar dish, like clam chowder or guacamole, and reduces it to its essential flavors and textures, often in a single, intense bite. These dishes are the ones I found most successful. The "guacamole" was composed of wafer thin slices of avocado, rolled sushi-like around a piping of spicy tomato purée, and topped with crumbled Fritos. Other examples of this approach last night were "Philly cheesesteak" (charred tenderloin wafers layered with truffle slices and wrapped around a delicate cone filled with an airy cheese mixture), "Caesar salad" (micro-romaine bundled with wispy shavings of Parmesan with anchovy cream). Eating these dishes, I constantly had to think, "This is the apotheosis of x."

A third approach, which is sometimes combined with the other two, is a highly refined use of artifice in order to replicate natural flavors and textures. The best example of this last night was also a new item on the menu: "Sun dried tomato" salad: The tomatoes were barely-firm gelatin bubbles filled with a reduction of Campbell's tomato soup. And they really were dead ringers for intense sun dried tomatoes, complete with the oily sheen. This is the kind of food that made me feel like Des Esseintes in "Ŕ Rebours" as I laughed somewhat wickedly at the witticism of the sorcerer behind the bar.

Regardless of the approach, all 30-odd courses were fun, delectable, revelatory experiences. An added joy was to watch the final preparation and presentation by the always informative and forthcoming chefs who served us, though it would be even more fun to watch the more involved preparation that goes into making the amazing components that we, for the most part, only saw being assembled.

Wines are a problem with this type of cuisine. We each opted for a flight, which occasionally shone with a dish or two but otherwise could not help but be sidelined. Rieslings and other Germanic wines would indeed make the best pairings, and Minibar should offer a broader selection of them. The idea someone had up-thread of just having Champagne throughout is also good.

All in all, a memorable evening--well worth repeating, but only after a "cooling down" period of at least a few months.



#19 bettyjoan

bettyjoan

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,070 posts

Posted 19 September 2007 - 10:21 AM

After much anticipation, my best gal pal and I dined at Minibar last night in celebration of her birthday. Actually, I'm not sure that "dined" is the proper verb to encapsulate the two-hour event. It's probably more accurate to say that we "experienced" Minibar and all of its wonderful, challenging zaniness.

The chefs were a delight (though they were probably sick of us by the end of the meal, as we were asking voluminous questions), and the food was nothing short of amazing (though there were a few misses, I'll admit). Here's the rundown, with some commentary:

MUNCHIES
Caipirinha "Nitro"--certainly better than the caipirinha that I had downstairs at Cafe Atlantico (the bartender there was awful, both in regards to making drinks AND making conversation)!
Parmesan "Pringles"
"Tumbleweed" of Beet
Olive Oil Bonbon
"Mojito"
"Bagels & Lox"
"Cornbread"--reminded me of the texture of the shrimp macaroons at wd-50, and I wasn't really a fan.
Cotton Candy Foie Gras--absolutely mind-blowingly delicious. I believe my exact words were, "This kicks the ass of every foie dish I've had before."
Curried Chicken Wing
Steamed Bun with Caviar

FLAVORS & TEXTURES
Salmon-Pineapple "Ravioli" with Crispy Quinoa
Zucchini "Risotto"--the seeds replaced the Arborio rice, with very nice results.
"Sun-Dried" Tomato Salad
"Caesar Salad"
Asparagus "Egg"--a brand-new dish about which our feedback was solicited. While I love white asparagus, I commented that the almond was quite overpowering.
Corn on the Cob
"Guacamole"--I don't usually love avocado, but if I could eat it like this every day, I would be a convert. Delicious, wrapped around some spicy tomato puree and topped with corn chip pieces.
Smoked Oyster and Apples--not my favorite flavor combination.
New England Clam Chowder
Breaded Cigala with Sea Salad--fantastic.
"Philly Cheesesteak"--this was incredible, with a crunchy hollow mini-baguette filled with aged white cheddar "cheez whiz" and topped with thinly sliced (and barely cooked!) Wagyu beef.

DESSERT
Pistachio-Beets and Mixed Berries--I liked the beet sorbet more than I thought I would, but the pistachio was a tad overwhelming.
Thai Dessert (due to my peanut allergy, I had Mango Soup with Strawberries--and the strawberries were actually Pop-Rocks, which I found to be clever and actually quite tasty)

SWEET ENDING
Matcha Ball
Saffron Gumdrop in Edible Wrapper--my favorite sweet of the evening.
Passionfruit Marshmallow
Pina Colada Injection

I echo a previous poster who commented that he/she would have liked to have seen some of the prep work being done--while the assembly of the dishes was cool to watch, it was obviously the end of the process and I would have enjoyed seeing some of the beginning and middle.

I got the sparkling/champagne flight, and it was a good choice--most of the selections were light enough to let the flavors of the food shine through (with the exception of the sparkling shiraz, for which I did not care).

With food, wine, tax, and tip, my total was $210. Steep? Certainly. But Minibar is a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of place, and I felt that it certainly lived up to its hype. I would say that it was worth the hefty price tag, as it was a culinary journey that I will not soon forget.



#20 LaurenJ

LaurenJ

    實發

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:53 PM

Wow, I've been wanting to go to Minibar for a long time and have always been daunted by getting reservations. What are recommended strategies to get reservations there?

Thanks!

#21 Pool Boy

Pool Boy

    DC Crüdite

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,182 posts

Posted 20 September 2007 - 08:02 AM

Wow, I've been wanting to go to Minibar for a long time and have always been daunted by getting reservations. What are recommended strategies to get reservations there?

Thanks!

Pick up the phone... :angry:

Food.Wine.Cats.Music.Travel.Hawaiian Shirts.Art.Hiking.Photography.Movie Quotes.Impressions-Humor-Voices For My Cats. :)


#22 Beto

Beto

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 120 posts

Posted 20 September 2007 - 09:12 AM

Call at exactly 9:00 a.m., thirty days out.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

#23 hm212

hm212

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 644 posts

Posted 29 June 2008 - 11:50 PM

Still around?

Still Hot?

I always wanted to go but never made it. Still worth it?

#24 agm

agm

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 556 posts

Posted 24 August 2008 - 10:21 AM

Here's the Minibar menu as of 8/15 (mdt asked on another thread). Surprisingly similar to the menu posted here from last September.

Munchies
"Nitro" Raspberry Daiquiri
Parmesan "Pringles"
Beet "Tumbleweed"
Olive Oil "Bon-bon"
"Mojito"
"Bagels & Lox"
Blue Cheese and Almond
"Dragon's Breath" Popcorn
Boneless Chicken Wing
Steamed Brioche Bun with Caviar
Cotton Candy Eel

Flavors & Textures
"Sun Dried" Tomato Salad
Zucchini in Textures
"Caesar Salad"
Parmesan "Egg" with Migas
Corn on the Cob
Sea Urchin "Ceviche" with Hibiscus
"Guacamole" (NQD can't eat avocado, so she got "gazpacho")
Salmon-Pineapple "Ravioli" with Crispy Quinoa
Smoked Oysters with Apples and Juniper
New England Clam Chowder
Breaded Cigala with Sea Salad
"Philly Cheesesteak"

Pre-Dessert
Kumquats and Pumpkin Seed Oil

Dessert
Frozen Yogurt and Honey
Thai Dessert

Sweet Endings
Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts
White Chocolate, Black Olive and Mango Box
Saffron Gumdrop

agm - it's my name, not my job.


#25 Ericandblueboy

Ericandblueboy

    Boo Boo

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,211 posts

Posted 04 October 2008 - 12:57 PM

Went by last weekend. Changes are highlighted.

Munchies
"Nitro" Raspberry Daiquiri => Pisco Sour
Parmesan "Pringles" = gone
Beet "Tumbleweed"
Olive Oil "Bon-bon"
"Mojito"
"Bagels & Lox"
Blue Cheese and Almond
"Dragon's Breath" Popcorn
new item => "corn bread"
Boneless Chicken Wing
Steamed Brioche Bun with Caviar
Cotton Candy Eel

Flavors & Textures
"Sun Dried" Tomato Salad
Zucchini in Textures
"Caesar Salad"
Parmesan "Egg" with Migas
Corn on the Cob
Sea Urchin "Ceviche" with Hibiscus = gone
"Guacamole"
Salmon-Pineapple "Ravioli" with Crispy Quinoa
Smoked Oysters with Apples and Juniper
New England Clam Chowder
Breaded Cigala with Sea Salad
"Philly Cheesesteak"

Pre-Dessert
Kumquats and Pumpkin Seed Oil = gone

Dessert
Frozen Yogurt and Honey
Thai Dessert

Sweet Endings
Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts
White Chocolate, Black Olive and Mango Box
Saffron Gumdrop

Alot of fun and very interesting.

#26 Erigion

Erigion

    Adrian Dantley

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 10 December 2008 - 05:30 PM

What're peoples' experiences with Minibar's waitlist? How often do people drop these coveted reservations?

Even though I'm first and second on two waitlists, is it futile to hope seats will open up?

#27 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,199 posts

Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:34 PM

Even though I'm first and second on two waitlists, is it futile to hope seats will open up?


It has been for me!

(Although I may not be on the waitlist so much as I am on the shitlist.)

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#28 mdt

mdt

    @#$%#^&*!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,077 posts

Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:22 AM

It has been for me!

(Although I may not be on the waitlist so much as I am on the shitlist.)


I am surprised that you want to return.

#29 Erigion

Erigion

    Adrian Dantley

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 12 December 2008 - 06:43 PM

It has been for me!

(Although I may not be on the waitlist so much as I am on the shitlist.)


Well then, I guess we go to Komi.

#30 mtureck

mtureck

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts

Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

Don posted about the re-opening in the Zola thread, but I thought I'd bring this one back to discuss the new price. As the Post pointed out, the price of a meal at Minibar is now up to $225. Optional wine pairings froom $75-$200.
Ouch.

http://www.washingto...b7057_blog.html

#31 zoramargolis

zoramargolis

    leviathan

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,967 posts

Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:32 PM

$225? It was $65 when I went. For 36 "bites." I thought then that it was an incredible deal. Granted, it's been a few years. But, wow. Just wow.

#32 B.A.R.

B.A.R.

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,014 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:03 AM

does anyone know the price of Alinea? Eleven Madison Park? Per Se?

This has to be close (and insures I will never go there)

Brian Reymann
I'm in the business but content here solely my own and is not associated with my employer at all.

Sometimes, I try to disassociate myself from my own opinions.


#33 weinoo

weinoo

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 450 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:11 AM

does anyone know the price of Alinea? Eleven Madison Park? Per Se?

This has to be close (and insures I will never go there)


Eleven Mad = $195 (lunch or dinner)

Per Se = $295

Alinea = $210 - $265

Brooklyn Fare = $225

#34 mdt

mdt

    @#$%#^&*!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,077 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:43 AM

Don posted about the re-opening in the Zola thread, but I thought I'd bring this one back to discuss the new price. As the Post pointed out, the price of a meal at Minibar is now up to $225. Optional wine pairings froom $75-$200.
Ouch.

http://www.washingto...b7057_blog.html


I am sure it will be sold out for months. I am interested to see how the menu has changed in relation to the price.

#35 mtureck

mtureck

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:33 AM

Eleven Mad = $195 (lunch or dinner)

Per Se = $295

Alinea = $210 - $265

Brooklyn Fare = $225


The difference, of course, is that those four are pretty universally acknowledged as some of the best restaurants in the world*. I know that Jose Andres star has risen in the past years, but I can't imagine paying that much until I'm confident that he's serving one of the world's best meals as well.

*I admit, I'd never heard of Brooklyn Fare until today, but they apparently have three Michelin stars. Who knew?

#36 bettyjoan

bettyjoan

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,070 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 11:29 AM

Wow, $225??? The French Laundry is currently priced at $270, with gratuity included, and it was the best frickin' meal of my entire life, hands down.

When I took one of my best gal pals to minibar for her birthday - which was, admittedly, a long time ago (probably around 2006 or 2007) - it was more like $150, and I still thought it was quite pricey. Some of the courses were whimsical and delicious, but nothing was truly satisfying. In fact, after we left, my girlfriend said - and I didn't fault her at all - "I'm hungry. Where are we going for dinner?"

I understand that they will be packed, and the market will bear what the market will bear and whatnot, but I feel like that may be a little too big for the ol' britches.

#37 Adam23

Adam23

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 275 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:46 PM

There has been a lot of upward movement in the price of the top restaurants over the past year or so. Vetri and Le Bec Fin 2.0 are up to $155 in Philly. When we went to "e" in vegas last year it was $195, so this isn't hugely surprising this is clocking in at $225 a person. I will say "e" was one of the best meals i've ever had and was a very fun experience so im inclined to try the new minibar to see how it compares. I really have no doubt minibar will be packed with diners for some time.

#38 bettyjoan

bettyjoan

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,070 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:03 PM

Wow, realized I posted about my 2007 meal above - reads like I enjoyed it a lot more than I remember enjoying it. Nonetheless, $210 for meal + bubbly pairings + tax + tip is quite different from $225 for meal alone. I guess what I am saying is that, knowing what I know and having dined where I have dined since, I wouldn't pay $225 for minibar at this point. Many will, and good for Jose Andres - I like many of his other restaurants and wish him nothing but success.

#39 Joe H

Joe H

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,845 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:36 PM

225 prix fixe + 75 for the "cheaper" wine pairing X 2 = 600 +9.5% sales tax = 657 X 18% tip = US $762 for dinner for two.

Perhaps I am wrong but for $762 I am not going to spend a lot of time redialing a phone number.

#40 deangold

deangold

    leviathan

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,079 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:20 PM

Sales tax is 10% <_<
Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto
1914 Ninth Street NW
Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo
Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th
Dino's Grotto In Shaw
Dino's Grotto on Twitter
Dino's Grotto on Facebook
Dino's Grotto Reservations

#41 qwertyy

qwertyy

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:51 PM

I loved Minibar when I went... gosh, is it 10 years ago? It was transcendental--I was with the right people, we got the right wine pairing, we were forward enough to ask the chef anything we wanted. It was awesome, made me rethink the way I percieve food and broadened my perspective immeasurably. I don't think I would have appreciated Arzak (or Cyrus or Per Se or, heck, Cashion's or Zaytinya or El Chucho or anything else) as much had I not had that slap to my culinary outlook. It was like dinner theater for food nerds. It cost half a month's rent at the time, but damn it was worth it.

But I'm not necessarily sure I'd go again.

#42 Tujague

Tujague

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 655 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 11:31 PM

I wonder how outrageous that price is considering that he has only 24 seats per night to turn over in a separately leased space with a dedicated staff. The old Minibar turned over, what, 12, 18? seats per night within a larger, more moderately priced restaurant, and, as I recall, shared some wait staff with Cafe Atlantico. That is to say, it may not be simply what the market will bear, but what is necessary to break even or turn a profit, given the different circumstances.

(And, like Zora, I also went to Minibar when it was $65, and it's still one of my most memorable meals ever.)

Gin boldly--that grace may abound!


#43 hm212

hm212

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 644 posts

Posted 03 October 2012 - 04:45 PM

I don't think I will be going at this price. I went once about seven years ago and it was fun, but not in the BEST MEAL EVER for that price catagory.

#44 mdt

mdt

    @#$%#^&*!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,077 posts

Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:47 AM

225 prix fixe + 75 for the "cheaper" wine pairing X 2 = 600 +9.5% sales tax = 657 X 18% tip = US $762 for dinner for two.

Perhaps I am wrong but for $762 I am not going to spend a lot of time redialing a phone number.


No you wont, as they are only doing reservations via email.

#45 mtureck

mtureck

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

Tom Sietsema's two-star review...

http://www.washingto...wpisrc=nl_gogdd

Key line, "If this represents the future, I’m going to start stockpiling roast chicken."
Price for four? $1800.

#46 Tweaked

Tweaked

    Hungry

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

So glad I went during the $65 days.
  • Gary Tanigawa likes this
Meat is Murder...Tasty Tasty Murder

#47 Ericandblueboy

Ericandblueboy

    Boo Boo

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,211 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

I think I paid $130 and wasn't impressed. I doubt I'll ever go back to Minibar.

#48 mtureck

mtureck

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:28 PM

Obviously, one review is just that...one review, based on one visit.
But in order to spend that kind of money on dinner, I pretty much need unanimous, utterly glowing opinions from every source.

#49 Tujague

Tujague

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 655 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:38 PM

Clearly, Andres is unhappy with the review and the single visit on which it was based. Fair or unfair to Minibar?

Gin boldly--that grace may abound!


#50 Choirgirl21

Choirgirl21

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,192 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:53 PM

Clearly, Andres is unhappy with the review and the single visit on which it was based. Fair or unfair to Minibar?


Very confused. I see this "Clearly the choice displeased Andrés, who fired back at the critic with the response above." but don't see Andres' actual comments "above". :huh:

Regardless, I think it's fair. The concept is the same even if the dishes have changed. It wouldn't be fair to ask Tom to return to Rogue 24 3 more times every time they released a new menu, would it? I may be biased though as the new prices seem ridiculous to me. I'm glad I crossed Minibar off of my list when it was just very expensive instead of exorbitantly so.

Jen, part time pourer at Black Ankle Vineyards

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Penn Quarter, Contemporary American, Cheapest Available Wine Dinner For Two Is $845, José Andrés, James Beard Award, ThinkFoodGroup

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users