Friday, July 14, 2017

Epic Doesn't Even Begin to Describe It

Where do I even begin with this recap? For years Dan and I have been wanting to try out Jose Andres' famous MiniBar. The concept of the restaurant is simple: many, many courses of tiny, yummy bites. It is notoriously difficult to get reservations, and it is outrageously expensive. But, for as much as Dan and I love food, we knew it would be worth it. And you know what? It definitely was!

Ostensibly this dinner was in honor of Dan's 35th birthday. But let's be honest, it was as much for me as it was for him. Everything about this dinner was amazing--even from the very first impression, which was a man standing outside a very poorly marked tiny entrance to the restaurant asking if we had reservations. Once confirming that we did, he then ushered us into the "White Room," which was a foyer that was completely white from floor to ceiling. The man in that room asked whether we were there for dinner or drinks, then opened another door to reveal the next waiting area. Appropriately enough, the next room is decked out to make you feel like Alice in Wonderland. The clock on the wall only has ten numbers (one of which is a question mark), and it runs backwards. That pretty much sums up how I felt at this point. Curiouser and curiouser.

Another man welcomed us and offered us a thyme hand spritzer--a natural hand sanitizer made from herbs--as well as a glass of sparkling wine. Then a slew of waiters brought out our first nibbles: a pizza margherita, puffed rice, and a lemon verbena slushie. The "pizza" might have been the best thing we ate all night. It tasted exactly like biting in to a great NY slice.

Once we were done with our nibbles, we were ushered in to the dining room, along with the two other couples at our seating. There are four seatings each night, each with only six guests at a time. We sat in the kitchen, watching all the talented chefs put our food together in front of our eyes. It was spectacular.

All the food came pretty quickly, one after another. It never felt rushed though.
  • Beet and Yogurt Butterflies
    • Delicious! Crunchy and sweet.
  • Wax and Honey Cocktail
    • Awesome that it all came from the same beehive (wax, honey, distilled vodka), but not really to my taste,
  • Hibiscus Crackling (not pictured)
    • Hibiscus essence trapped in a tea leaf. Smoky, sticky, and crunchy.
  • Harry's Berries al-Andalus
    • Infused strawberries served on a Himalayan salt tab. Fun, but not very memorable.
  • Magnolia Dew Drop
    • Loved this presentation! The dew drop was encased in a gel that burst in my mouth.

  • Avocado Toast
    • Everyone else at the table had uni with fresh wasabi grated over shark skin. Our toast was amazing. I have no idea what it was made of, but it was sweet and fluffy. It melted in my mouth.
  • Corn Chip with Horchata
    • The chip was a bit too chewy, and the Horchata was just OK, but the corn and BBQ sauce combo was awesome!
  • Parmesan Spoons
    • LOVED this! The Parmesan spoons were so fun, and the basil foam was terrific. The balsamic vinegar caviar was such a fun surprise.

  • Gin and Tonic Hand Refresher
    • So fun! Smelled amazing!
  • Pumpkin Tart
    • This was crazy. One of the chefs took a metal mold, dipped it in liquid nitrogen, then in melted chocolate. Another chef then filled the tart with a pumpkin and kumquat gel, and fed it to us individually on a spatula. I didn't love the taste, but the technique was totally novel.
  • Tuna Tartare
    • I could not get enough of this! So good! Especially the creamy egg yolk!

This is getting really long and I still have 12 courses to go!! I'm going to continue this in another post. Stay tuned for more.

Read Part 2 of this dinner here.

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