January, 2004: Cafe Atlantico

Although José Andrés no longer does the day-to-day cooking at this popular Nuevo Latino restaurant–that's now the job of chef Katsuya Fukushima–his spirit still hovers. His latest innovation is a six-seat minibar with its own prix fixe menu of about 30 tiny courses, prepared in the style of Andrés's friend and mentor Ferran Adria, owner and chef of the restaurant El Bulli near Barcelona. At the minibar you'll find some of the most interesting, and most unexpectedly delicious, food in Washington: a skewer of foie gras surrounded by cotton candy; a cherry tomato pierced by an ampule of mozzarella cream to be shot into your mouth at the moment you bite the tomato; pineapple ravioli; jicama rolls with tomato and Altoids.

If you don't snag a seat at the minibar, the Café Atlántico experience is still a pleasure. The bar serves the best mojitos and caipirinhas in town, guacamole is freshly prepared at the table, and the kitchen's deconstructed feijoada is a delicious take on this traditional Brazilian dish.

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