100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 2 Minibar

"Bagels and Lox" at Minibar. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

José Andrés wants to blow your mind.

Not with the fact that you’ll be eating 25 courses (many of them bite-size) or that you’ll pay dearly for the privilege ($250 per person, just for food). This is the ultimate ride through a culinary funhouse.

Twelve seats at a cool, white bar face the open kitchen, and the brigade of tweezer-wielding cooks—led by drolly charming executive sous chef Johnny Spero—are there to chat, explain, and direct. (You’ll be told, say, to eat your canapés in a certain order, starting not with the mildest flavor but with the most “time-sensitive.”)

The menu is dotted with winking allusions, such as a paper plate with a translucent piece of pizza. “Jumbo slice,” one of the cooks says. Translation: edible potato-starch “paper” baked with Parmesan and finished with freeze-dried tomato powder, burrata, and walnut oil.

If there’s a dinner that’s more brilliantly creative, interactive, and downright fun, we haven’t found it.

Consider our minds blown.

Don’t miss:

  • Pineapple “shortbread” (freeze-dried pineapple powder with shaved butter)
  • Vietnamese pig ear
  • Ice-cream doughnuts

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.