100 Best Restaurants 2011: Minibar
Comments () | Published January 13, 2011
100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Minibar at Cafe Atlantico
Address: 405 Eighth St., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-393-0812
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Spanish/Portuguese, Modern
Opening Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday, seatings at 6 and 8:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial
Price Range: Very expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Required
Best Dishes Cotton-candy-swathed foie gras and the “cheesesteak.”
Price Details: $125 per person.

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

In this 27-to-30-course eating adventure, José Andrés makes culinary allusions to familiar dishes, but the creations make you second-guess past associations with, say, guacamole or corn on the cob.

Andrés’s understudy, Ruben Garcia, and a team of three cooks put on an epicurean circus act: Plumes of smoke rise from blenders, liquids are puffed into foams, and a cotton-candy machine makes for a delicious Thai-flavored cotton-candy ball. The experience is designed to be interactive: Want to know what holds that “Pisco sour” together or why that “frozen yogurt” tastes like Sweetgreen’s but looks like snow? Just ask.

Here’s the catch: Securing one of the six seats at the two seatings a night requires persistence—and a redial button. Call at 10 am exactly a month in advance.

Also good: The menu is predetermined, but you might see a cone with dill cream cheese and salmon roe that recalls bagels and lox; steamed pita with bottarga (compressed fish-roe shavings), leeks, and radish; spot prawns hiding in a foam of “brioche”; and the signature “Philly cheesesteak.”

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants


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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/13/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews