From January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants
THE SCENE. Culinary adventurers of all stripes huddle six at a time on high stools at a copper counter for one of the most intense, creative, and intimate dining experiences in the country. In this pocket-size corner of Café Atlántico--Minibar is a restaurant within a restaurant--José Andrés's team of chefs surprise, delight, and seduce with 30-some bite-size morsels crafted before your eyes, a sensory experience sure to get a rise out of even jaded foodies.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The creativity, the precise orchestration of every miniature, and the heady feeling that another thrill is a moment away.
WHAT YOU WON'T. Some experiments, like a tasteless green-pea caviar, don't come off, and the overall effect probably could be achieved with fewer courses. Once you've experienced this dazzling tour de force--which is less about eating than about tasting and more a performance than a meal--you're not likely to feel a need to return next week.