100 Best Restaurants 2012: Minibar

No. 4


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.