855 E St., NW
Washington, DC 20004


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.

100 Best Restaurants 2011: Minibar

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