Friday, October 8, 2010

deconstructing minibar - part 2

As we were walking down 8th Street, on our way to the restaurant, I had a premonition. I thought we were going to see Jose Andres at minibar. I know how stupid that sounds. Everyone knows that these famous chefs don't cook at their restaurants and they certainly don't hang out at their fully established, well-run machines, when they are busy opening up a new restaurant in Beverly Hills. Even so, I told Mark that I thought we'd probably see him and Mark laughed. As we walked up to the door, I just about fainted dead away. Who was standing there, blocking our path, intently dressing down some unsuspecting host in Spanish? Jose Andres! I could not believe my eyes! I was totally starstruck. I stood behind him for a minute (sheesh, the dude was blocking my way in) and then I gingerly shuffled by him. Then I turned around and gave him the biggest, cheesiest grin ever. He probably thought I was a total freak. Then Mark, very coolly, strode past and said hey with a knowing nod. Jose nodded back, "Hey." UGH. Why was Mark so cool and I acted like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert? I need a drink to soothe away the pain...

Zucchini in Textures. This was such a party in my mouth. The zucchini seeds were suspended in a zucchini water gelee and under that was caramelized zucchini puree. This was a serious winner and the picture is not doing it justice. We lapped this up with gusto.
The "Guacamole" was crazy, crazy good. Thin slices of avocado, wrapped around a log of spicy tomato sorbet, topped with crushed Fritos. My taste buds were in heaven with this one. Seemingly simple, but seriously fantastic.
Smoked Oyster with Apple was simple perfection. I didn't know that you could smoke oyster liquor and make a foam out of it. I also don't think that I will be trying this at home without the DC Fire Department on standby. The oyster melted in my mouth and the smokey foam with sweet apple compote was perfection.
Sea Urchin Ceviche with Hibiscus was my least favorite dish. Uni is maybe my favorite ingredient so I was very excited, but the hibiscus foam was really sweet, tart, and flowery and I thought it overpowered the delicate Uni flavors. Bad. But 26-27 is still a really good batting average.
The Organic Carrots with Coconut freaked my mouth out big time. I put one in my mouth and it melted. They weren't actually carrots! It was an "intense carrot puree" wrapped with some edible starch to make it look like a carrot. The sauce was delicate as were the "carrots." This was the most unique, simple tasting dish on the menu, but it was a sensation.
Spot Prawns "En Brioche" made Make almost giggle with happiness. The prawns were (obviously) cooked to perfection. The flavor of the prawns was fantastic, beyond anything in the shrimp family I've ever eaten. Then the brioche foam really complimented the sweet prawn beautifully. Two bites of silky bliss.
Corn "On the Cob" cracked me up. It look exactly like those little cocktail baby corns. Obviously it was some kind of crazy corn puree made into little tapioca-esque balls of corn goodness and then places just so to resemble a baby corn. The sweetness was combated perfectly with the dark chili (I forget what kind, but it was smoky and spicy) puree. Glorious.
"New" England Clam Chowder was another hit for the chefs. Potato foam, crispy potato shavings, sweet onion reduction and a bacon chutney under each perfectly placed clam. The clams were cooked to retain their natural membrane (who even knew about this?) so that they burst in your mouth with briny flavor and tasted like the ocean just punched you in the face. Amazing.
Tortilla Espanola was the vegetarian version of the previous dish. Did I mention that two of our dining companions were vegetarians? I was nervous that this was going to mess everything up for me and my carnivore friend. No way. The meat dishes were seamlessly transformed into vegetarian delights. So many similar components, just sans meat. There was a whole, poached quail egg in there too.
Charcoal Salmon with Black Garlic was very, very good. My first encounter with black garlic, which was very sweet to combat the velvet salmon. The charcoal flavor was a nice touch.
With eggplant for the vegetarians. Since I didn't know them, I didn't ask to eat off of there very expensive plates. Even so, the veg versions got rave reviews from the vegetarians.
The Parmesan Quail Egg was stunning. The yolk of a quail egg and the white was a Parmesan flavored water that was set around the yolk to mimic the egg white. Who thinks this stuff up? My goodness.
I was in gastro heaven over this dish. Salty Parmesan and the beautiful quail egg yolk were meant to be together. The said that they experimented with a number of other flavors (jamon iberico being one) before deciding on Parmesan. Can I please be their Guinea pig. No seriously. Please!
Of course they had a "Philly Cheesesteak" for us. We did miss Roy Halladay throw a no-hitter for this. Thank goodness for DVR and turning off your cell phone. Ribeye carpachio draped over a crispy shell that burst open with an extra sharp, aged Cheddar cheese "wiz" sauce that made me want to slap my momma (sorry mom). This was a shinning star and the most perfect way imaginable to end our savory portion of the meal.
It was like the food gods were smiling down on me. I wanted to lick my plate-thing. I didn't. I regret it.
After this comes dessert...


  1. i need to confess. i teared up a little bit reading this.

  2. INSANE!!! I want to go so bad. I've emailed to Luis multiple times, he'll be thanking Mark later, ha. ;) I demand CSK and associates take a trip to San Sebastian!

  3. That egg is giving me quailbumps.