Minibar at Cafe Atlantico
A thrilling 30-plus course carnival of culinary surprises.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published October 18, 2006
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Address: 855 E St., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-393-0812
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown
Cuisines: Spanish/Portuguese, Modern
Opening Hours: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Required
Best Dishes Oaxacan marshmallow; pig-tail-curry panini; chicken shawarma; Thai soup; carrots with coconut; beech-mushroom risotto; oysters with escabeche; squab with oysters and seaweed; “pine snow” with honey; sticky rice with mango.

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.

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Posted at 03:46 PM/ET, 10/18/2006 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews