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100 Best Restaurants 2012: Minibar
No. 4
At Minibar, “bagels and lox” is a cream-cheese-filled cone with salmon roe. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Comments () | Published January 12, 2012
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.

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When was the last time you picked up a mezcal-spiked cocktail and ate it like a snowball? José Andrés's 27-course modernist menu kicks off with just that and follows up with other mind-bending surprises.

With just six seats, two shifts a night, and reservations taken exactly one month in advance, this is the toughest reservation in town. We spent three months trying to get in. But once you're there--at the bar on the third floor of what was once Café Atlántico--settle in for two hours of choreographed gastro-nerd fun, with smoke-filled cloches, swirls of liquid nitrogen, and very little turning out to be what it seems. What looks like an egg reveals itself to be made with Parmesan cheese.

What to get: The preset menu changes frequently, but recent hits have included a foie-gras-and-apple sandwich; a slab of boozy mojito ice; lettuce-wrapped shawarma with frothy yogurt; Thai peanut soup with lardo broth; and the Vermont specialty known as sugar on snow--maple syrup drizzled over ice.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/12/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews