Minibar at America Eats
Chef José Andrés is a force to be reckoned with on the D.C. dining scene; the native Spaniard—a disciple of famed molecular gastronomer Ferrán Adría—operates five of the city's best restaurants. Three of them are, in fact, on the same block: Minibar, on the second floor of Andrés's "nuevo Latino" Café Atlántico, is just steps away from Jaleo, with its menu of reimagined tapas, and Zaytinya, which focuses on Middle Eastern mezes. While all offer distinctive, vivid eating experiences, Minibar is arguably the best place to sample Andrés's cuisine. For the six-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Andrés and his chef de cuisine, Katsuya Fukushima, have created a tasting menu of 33 "bites"—gustatory treasures like salmon-pineapple "ravioli," in which bites of rich salmon belly are wrapped in caramelized, paper-thin slices of the fruit; "zucchini in textures" (where the squash is prepared in three parfait-style layers, as a gelée, as "caviar," and as a rich, buttery purée); and, perhaps the most whimsical standout, a square of foie gras coated in crushed CornNuts and presented on a stick surrounded by a golden cloud of cotton candy.
Tip: Prepare to book your table a month in advance—and bring your sense of adventure: there's no ordering à la carte, so you'll be tasting all 33 bite-size courses.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.