Foodies, eat your hearts out: Epicurean adventure at Jose Andres' Minibar, D.C.

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My favorite course was the steamed brioche topped with beluga caviar and Meyer lemon foam. The steamed brioche was light, and more doughy than bready. A soft pillow of luxury. Lemon and salt are two of my favorite epicurean ingredients, and combined with the soft brioche, the two-bite course was incredible.


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Sea Urchin ceviche with Hibiscus was the biggest surprise of the evening. I had eaten sea urchin in the past at a sushi restaurant, and I did not like it at all. I took an advance swallow in fear when the sea urchin dish was passed across the bar to me. Eek.


I slowing took the first bite into my mouth expecting to hold back a gag, but instead, I was blown away by the delicate flavor of the urchin combined with the delicate flowers. This was completely unexpected, and delightful. This dish also quelled my fear of urchin, and I have eaten twice since, enjoying it both times. I have since likened sea urchin to mussels, I eat them only at restaurants at which I know the chef, or a friend who’s a chef knows the chef.


The meal at Minibar was from far from anything I had ever dreamed of experiencing. It was a theatre of extravagant, yet simple food. Sitting at the small bar with five other guests, all watching the creation of incredible dishes was otherworldly. I left to head back to my hotel with a glow on my face that was obvious to my fellow conference attendees upon my return. I felt enlightened, orgasmic, and I nearly stopped to purchase a cigar in celebration. Yes, it was that fantastic.


Here I will end my journey, and allow you to take a pictorial peek into my epicurean adventure at Minibar. I hope that one day you will be able to enjoy a meal there.


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The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

When the opportunity arose to present a paper in Washington, D.C. last fall, the first thought that popped into my food-lover head was “Minibar, I must eat at Minibar.” Minibar is the mystical, mythical six-seat dining experience from chef-extraordinaire Jose Andres located within his famed Cafe Atlántico restaurant. Jose Andres’ mentor is Ferran Adria of el bulli in Spain, the legendary birthplace of molecular gastronomy. At Minibar, the food is not only delicious and impeccable; it is art, beautiful, gorgeous, culinary art. You may have seen the restaurant featured on Bourdain’s No Reservations, D.C. episode, in which Bourdain was taken away by Andres' playful takes on classic dishes.

Reservations to Minibar are known to be extremely hard to get, and as I would be requesting a reservation for a party of one, I feared that I would not be able to get in. I researched the reservation guidelines and discovered that Minibar accepts reservations exactly 30 days prior to the dining date, beginning at 10 a.m. I would be in D.C. the final week of October, so I called on September 29th. I called and the line was busy, hung up, and quickly redialed to no avail. The reservations were full within five minutes. The next morning, determined to try again, I began calling at 9:56 am. A woman answered at 10:02 and put me on hold. I sat at my desk in a full state of panic, wondering if she would return to the line. She did, finally, and graciously awarded me with a reservation for one. My heart literally skipped a beat. In one month, I would be dining at Minibar.

The food was exquisite. There are no words that can aptly give deference to the wondrous meal that I had. Twenty-six courses of pure luxury and imagination.

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