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José Andrés' Minibar


John W.
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hello. this is katsuya from cafe atlantico and minibar. first of all, i wanted to say how excited i am to see so many resposes about the minibar on egullet. good or bad, forunately mostly good, i think we are making a statement. so thankyou for the forum to put us "out there". the photos are great. i am especially proud of one of our guys, edgar who's happy face is posted on the website. he is one of the guys who put in many hours of work to make the minibar happen. the other is joshua. it is a team of us, headed by of course jose andres,that put in many hours to make the magic of the minibar happen. i say magic because to me it is magic. if you haven't experienced it, i strongly reccomend coming here with an open mind before placing judgment on it. because if you haven't been here, this will the first time you will experience this approach to food. no one is crazy enough to do this except for jose. i mean, come on, almost forty items now to taste. the misenplace is incredible. lucky for me, i've been with jose for many years. he is my mentor and he is the reason i am here and i am the way i am. i was also lucky enough to go to el bulli and work for jose's mentor ferran adria. eveything that i learned beforehand began to make sense to me. it went full circle. and now, we have ruben garcia, the pastry chef of alberto adria for the last five years here with us. so, the team that we have assembled led by jose is only going to get better. so, i want to thank all the minibar fans and to let you all know that this is just the beginning, there's lot more to come!!

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i am especially proud of one of our guys, edgar who's happy face is posted on the website.

Welcome to eGullet Chef Kats.

When I went a few months ago, Edgar asked how I had heard of the Minibar and I mentioned reading about it here on eGullet and that, in fact his picture was posted on the site. I think he was a little taken aback by that, since it probably came off a little stalker-like.

Keep up the good work and we hope to hear more from you around here.

Bill Russell

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Bravo, Kats. It's great to hear that Minibar is as magical to those who make it happen as it is to so many of us who have experienced it as diners. Thanks for posting.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Somewhere about Course 24, after lots of conversation about restaurants in general, Jose Andres's cooking in particular, and pictures of Minibar dishes on the Internet, Andres turned to me and said: "Don't tell me you're an eGulleter too."

Our reputation precedes us.

Hidden inside Cafe Atlantico, up on the third level, is Jose Andres's personal entertainment section. They do two seatings a night, one at 6:00 and another at 8:30, six chairs each. Thirty-five or so courses, none more than a bite.

We had two chefs preparing our dishes full time, and a third that popped in once in a while. Jose Andres himself showed up at around Course 18, and stayed through to the end.

Probably the best way to think a meal like this is more like a carnival ride than an actual meal. It's fast: 33 dishes in two and a half hours means only five minutes between dishes. Some dishes are designed to be weird or surprising. Others are just designed to be different. Many reviews of this place don't bother listing the different dishes, writing more about the highlights of the experience. I think it's worth listing the dishes, because that's how to describe the ride. But because it's a ride, I took few notes. Assume I liked whatever it is unless I say otherwise.

1. Chicken curry popcorn. What it says. Savory spicy popcorn. Good for a few bites, which is what I got.

2. Mojito spritz. Think of a little spray bottle filled with mojito. Instructions: spray it directly into your mouth. Good harbinger of things to come.

3. Tropical chips. Kind of like Taro Chips, but much better. Thinner, more flavorful, less salt.

4. Passion fruit and coconut drink. Two layers. Yum.

5. Chocolate foie gras truffle. I'm not sure about the sweet chocolate coating, but the liquid tamerind center was very good.

6. Cone with tomato and basil. Yum.

7. Cone with salmon roe and cheese. Tasted like a bagel and lox for adults. Major yum.

8. Pineapple ravioli, cured salmon, avocado, and crispy quinoa. It was served with an orange slice, which I thought didn't go with the rest of the dish. The rest of the dish was delicious.

9. Jimica ravioli with guacamole, with tuna ceviche. Two pouches made with very thinly sliced jimica, one filled with guac and the other with coconut and tuna ceviche. Both of these were fine, fine, fine. To me, this is the point where the meal really started hitting its stride. The dishes to follow were all delicious.

10. Mango ravioli with trout roe and tomato. Thin-sliced mango wrapper, trout roe inside, and tomato seeds on top.

11. Deconstructed white wine. This requires a paragraph. Grape juice is let to sit overnight and ferment a little, and is then turned into gelee. This is layered onto a shallow plate. On the gelee are eight flavor components, flavors that you might find in white wine: lemon, orange, apple, mint, fig, pineapple, pomegranate, vanilla. Finally, white wine is sprayed on top to give it dish an aroma. Fascinating.

12. Jimica wraps with tuna and sesame, with apples and cabrales. Sushi rolls, with jimica as the wrapper. The first was European: apples, almond, and blue cheese. The second was Asian: avocado, tuna, seaweed, soy. Both came with a citrus oil dipping sauce. Major yum.

13. Caesar salad. Caesar salad, sort of. Two small jimica rolls filled with romaine lettuce, anchovy, and brioche. The first was topped with a quail egg, and the second with Parmesan. Kind of a mix-your-own salad dressing in your mouth.

14. Cauliflower in textures. Layered cup: whipped cauliflower on the bottom, black truffle gelee in the middle, and hard crumbled cauliflower on top.

15. Corn on the cob. One baby corn with corn puree, a corn sprout, and corn nuts. This dish absolutely rocked. Everything blended perfectly. Pity it was just a bite.

16. Sushi 2003. Raw tuna, crispy rice, nori, sushi rice foam. Another major wow.

17. Egg 147. An egg cooled at 147 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, then served with black truffle and a bit of powdered sugar.

18. Pear with balsamic and olive oil, with lemon, with parmesan. Three tiny squares of pear, one filled with vinegar and chives, another with lemon rind, and a third with parmesan.

19. Cotton candy foie gras. What else can you say?

20. Guacamole and tomato sorbet. Kind of a deconstructed guac: avocado, lime, cilantro, oil, tomato sorbet, and crumbled Frito's Corn Chips.

21. Sea urchin. Served with pomegranate foam. Wow.

22. Conch fritters. What it says; absolutely delicious.

23. Wild pink scallops. Scallops served with frozen beet soup.

24. Hot and cold foie gras soup. Served in a little cup with chives and more crumbled corn chips.

25. Lobster Americaine. A perfect piece of cooked lobster served on a tiny baster syringe thingy. You're supposed to bit the meat while at the same time squirting the lobster juice into your mouth. A preparation I could get seriously used to.

26. New England clam chowder. Well, sort of. A clam. Sweet onion jam. Potato puree. Onion oil. Chive oil. Crispy potato bits. Delicious.

27. Lightbulb of flavor. First the lights went out in the restaurant. "It's a power failure," one of the cooks said. Then we were each handed our dish. It was a square glass plate with a blue blinking LED on it, and a hollow transparent "bulb" of sugar. Bizarre and interesting. Pure theater.

28. Sardines in a crust. A breaded sardine. Not a sardine rolled in bread crumbs, but a sardine with a very thin slice of toasted bread on top. It was served with raspberries and macadamia nuts.

29. Meat and potatoes. This dish consisted of thinly sliced raw Kobe beef, and hot pureed potato with seared confit of porcini mushrooms. With it we also got a tissue infused with black truffle smell. We were supposed to smell the tissue while eating the dish. Super delicious.

30. Watermelon air. This is the first time I've eaten "air," and it's bizarre and amazing. It's like foam, but when you put it in your mouth it all disappears and all you have left is the flavor. Fascinating.

31. Pina colada. This is a layered drink. From bottom to top: vanilla run syrup, pineapple gelee, pineapple foam, pineapple ice, and coconut sorbet. They called it a "deconstructed pina colada," which is about right.

32. Apples with red wine "Freddy Girardet." Freddy is visiting the restaurant for a year. His dessert consists of small balls of apple soaked in red wine, cherry, and orange sorbet, served with red wine reduction.

33. Dessert snacks: saffron gummi, passion fruit marshmallow, chocolate covered corn nuts, fruit salad.

34. Chocolate lollypop with pop rocks, Halls lollypop.

The Halls lollypop was definitely the end of the meal.

Cost was under $100, including tax and tip and everything.

And boy, was it fun. The menu changes slowly, but regularly. I would definitely be up to going back in six months.

Bruce

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Yeah, you're limited to 6 peeps. We could do the Sunday brunch though. I think a few of the minibar dishes are available then. I know the foie gras soup with corn and chanterelles is on the regular menu.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Yeah, you're limited to 6 peeps. We could do the Sunday brunch though. I think a few of the minibar dishes are available then. I know the foie gras soup with corn and chanterelles is on the regular menu.

I didn't get foie gras soup :angry::sad:

Brunch sounds like a great idea, but you get to organize :biggrin:

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Yeah, you're limited to 6 peeps. We could do the Sunday brunch though. I think a few of the minibar dishes are available then. I know the foie gras soup with corn and chanterelles is on the regular menu.

I didn't get foie gras soup :angry::sad:

Brunch sounds like a great idea, but you get to organize :biggrin:

They do have a chef's menu for $45 a pop. The whole table must order it.

Chef's Menu

The Latino Dim Sum Brunch:

Brunch

The dinner menu:

Dinner

I'm not certain these menus are up to date.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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We got to go to Cafe Atlantico last night, though not to the minibar. The tuna and coconut ceviche was superb and the the bacon-wrapped pheasant with seared watermelon was intriguing, if not ultimately as supremely succulent as it sounded. But the best, best, best part was watching my better half innocently order and polish off the portobello mushrooms with huitlacoche and queso blanco while gleefully anticipating the moment she would get around to asking what that curiously earthy, but not unpleasant, taste actually was. When the golden moment came, I thought she was going to be the second egulletarian to publicly blow chunks in that particular venue. But she said she decided it would be a waste of several perfectly good mojitos. Tempers, and tummies, were soothed by some terrific tres leches cake.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. am finally getting to eat here!

what's the dress code here?

Depends on which part of the restaurant you're eating in. Minibar? Are you M or F?

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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*laughs* glad to know i am so memorable.

you met me at the pig pickin last year. i was an english girl last time i looked.

Sheesh. Clearly I'm losing my mind. We need to get some pig pickin local alumni to meet you and yours for a drink or something.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I'd be up for a cocktail, if it was late enough. (I don't get off of work until 6:30, and I work about 30 minutes from the downtown area.)

I like the bar at Cafe Atlantico, but it gets crowded early.

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I like the bar at Cafe Atlantico, but it gets crowded early.

I find that the bar there is one of the least crowded in the area generally. Though I haven't been there on a Fri or Sat night in a long time.

I'll try to stop by on the 5th before your minibar experience.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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  • 2 weeks later...

just to confirm, we'll be there tonight at about 7:00pm. i'd give people my mobile number but it doesn't appear to be working....

there's a photo of us on here Suzi and Jack: they both have red hair so you can recognise us.

we've both considerably fatter than we were then as we've just spent four days in new york eating for six.

hopefully catch up with some people later :-)

Edited by tarka (log)

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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