Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

José Andrés' Minibar


John W.
 Share

Recommended Posts

how many years have to pass after the Herve This/Christian Conticini article first appeared in English more than a decade ago in Scientific American, extolling the virtues of using liquid nitrogen to make ice creams and sorbets, before it becomes just another technique allowed to be put in service of taste or palate--and no longer has to be viewed as proprietary?

I first saw liquid nitrogen used to make ice cream in 1986... in freshmen chemistry lab. The professor, who was certainly not the originator, had been doing this "trick" for decades. It's popularity is right up there with using a liquid nitrogen-frozen banana to hammer nails into a board or throwing a bucket full of liquid nitrogen on the floor to "sweep" up the dirt and dust-bunnies.

It is interesting that something seen as a pedestrian amusement in one environment is cutting-edge in another.

Kudos to This/Conticini for having the insight to recognize there is an audience outside of the scientific world hungry for this type of thing. (And I, along with hundreds of other scientists, cannot help thinking: "Why, oh why, didn't I plublish it first?!?" :laugh:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re: the environment for dissenters, has anyone else noticed the negative meal reports on Citronelle over at chowhound?  Not much of that here at all... coincidence perhaps.

Ummm...... I sure did. Nice to know that I have a fan or two after 25 years, though.

Edited by Mark Sommelier (log)

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re: the environment for dissenters, has anyone else noticed the negative meal reports on Citronelle over at chowhound?  Not much of that here at all... coincidence perhaps.

Ummm...... I sure did. Nice to know that I have a fan or two after 25 years, though.

I bet you have more than one or two. At least four or five :wink:

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is Walt Disney more than it is Albert Einstein.  Both men were brilliant at what they did, by the way, but make no mistake who matters more.

It's interesting that you bring up Einstein when speaking of Jose, Feran et al... because to me Einstein is old school. He's Escoffier, he's a beginning but he sure isn't the end. (And he knew this all to well.) His General Theory of Relativity works only when working with that in the very large scale, ie... planets and the ripples, groves and tracts that gravity provides to carry them through space. This theory fall apart when talking about about the minute, read quarks and smaller and when speaking of blackholes and the Big Bang. Enter Quantum Mechanics, this would be your culinary equivalent to Senor Adria. Now this does the exact opposite in that it deals with what is know in the scientific world as "the tiny shit." We're not talking the ocean here but one little shrimp in that ocean. Alas, same problem, it all breaks down when you get to blackholes and the Big Bang. Both theories have served to push the envelope but neither can answer the whole question and complete the loop. Enter Superstring Theory which seeks to modify but unite the two. This is crazy stuff and there's are reasons why they throw around words like chaos. It takes a lot the bending and twisting to make these guys jive. String Theory demands that there are at least 9 probably 10 and currently up to 11 different planes or dimensions.

Stay with me I'm about to bring this one home.

Jose, Heston, Grant, Mr.Klc, Me and every whiny CIA grad with a foamer I've ever meet act in the culinary version of string theory. It's the application of new ideas and techniques rooted in an aready established arena with set perimeters, some of which a flexable. Those which are not, well, you create new ones to circumnavigate the old.

Einstein made huge contributions to the scientific world as did David Gross, Brain Greene, Steven Weinberg, Syvester James Gates, and blah blah blah. String Theory is still young and has it's many detractors, it's also the way of the future. It is new and fresh but at the same time and make no mistake it is derivative of that which came before . 3 would not exist without 1+2. To disagree would be wrong.

The same holds true for us. Jose and the rest are an extension of our past and our peers. Steve I'm sure you know better than I, but if I was to ask Jose "Are you derivative of Ferran?" His answer would be to the affect of: (In Spanish) "Of course, but not just him but of everything. What I do is a culmination of all that I have seen and tasted. How could my time at this wonderful place not be reflected in my own style." At least that's what I hope he would say as anything less would come from an arrogant person. And Jose is not that person. The same is true for us all. I was and am profoundly influenced by my time with Gianfranco Vissani and Gordon Ramasy. Is what I do derivative? Sure, to some extent, but they alone do not make up what I produce in the end.

Food For Though,

Jarad

P.S. Rocks, when speaking of String Theory there are what is called W+/- force particles and these force particles have superpartner particles named WINO+/. Now although in this day and age it can not be proven, it is my hypothesis that through thermal manipulation these WINO particles could heated or cooled to a temperature suited to you ingesting them.

P.P.S. Steve after reading your last few posts I would like to hire you for any future damage control/fallout PR Nectar may have.

Jarad C. Slipp, One third of ???

He was a sweet and tender hooligan and he swore that he'd never, never do it again. And of course he won't (not until the next time.) -Stephen Patrick Morrissey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice to have a fellow physics addict around, HOOLIGAN.

2 additional points to further the analogy.

1) Quantum mechanics, like the food of Ferran and Jose and those inspired by them, is full of "weird" particles and particles acting "weirdly". This is at the least what particle physicists have labeled them so that they make sense to outsiders (aka other physicists).

2) In physics, as in top-level cheffing, there are often theoretical paths taken that turn out to be poor choices. My dad spent years in the late 60s and early 70s working on "Atomic Theory" which completely fell apart under experimental scrutiny.

Just my 2 cents.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Back to Mini-Bar...

Anyway, I went there on Saturday at 6 and had a blast. I've never been to Trio, The Fat Duck, or Spain, so I can't say much about innovation other than that they served something (passionfruit marshmellow petit fours) that was literally straight out of the El Bulli cookbook.

Anyway, the service was casual and good, the timing was totally enviable, any many of the dishes were fantastic. Highlights included:

The snacks: caramelized pork rinds with Vermont maple syrup, crispy rice with nori, passion fruit cocktail, mojito spritz. All were fantastic, and all were the kind of thing I would eat every day if I could.

Pinapple & salmon ravioli with avocado & crispy quinoa: Probably the most traditionally-good dish of the night, and the first of many, many, fish-fruit pairings.

Jicama Wraps: with tuna & sesame, with apples & cabrales: Other than the jicama wrap, a simple dish with great ingedients that worked brilliantly with each other.

Watermelon with balsamic & olive oil: Brilliant. Who would have guessed?

Cottom candy foie gras: One of the few items that was as tasty as it was fun.

Baby peach with yogurt: Extremely high-quality ingredients (great balsamic, a great Japanese baby peach, and amazingly tangy Greek yogurt) coming together to create something very tasty.

Conch fritter: A fried ball of liquid that was a totall flavor-blast of New England and probably the best single taste in a night that had a ton of them.

"Corn on the cob:" Basically corn four ways, all of which were amazing nad particularly good at highlighting perhaps non-obvious elements of the flavor of corn.

Hot & cold foie gras soup: Hot foie gras soup with a cold corn foam on top. Very good.

Lobster americaine: The pipette shish-kebab is a gimmicky-looking innovation that's very worth holding on to.

Fresh sardines in a crust: Fresh sardines prepared well are always magical -- Mini-Bar's not-too-avant-garde rendition was no exception.

Meat & potatoes: A dish of very well-prepared rare kobe beef and potato foam where the potato foam was the highlight of the dish. It's that good -- it should be served everywhere. Also the dish with the (notorious?) truffled kleenex.

Pina Colada: I'm not much of a drinker, but after this, I kinda wished that I was.

I can't believe they only charge $65 for this -- a 1:2 chef-to-diner ratio, decent chunks of foie gras, a generous amount of osteria caviar and salmon roe, and a dining experience that's totally unique (if the food isn't). I had a meal that was more memorable, if not quite as good, as my one at Jean-Georges for literally less than half of the price.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oooh yum, pork rinds with VT maple syrup! Can hardly wait til my Minibar date next week. :wub:

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My mother heard a rumor, probably over on the other board, that Minibar was closing down to expand. Is she right?

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still too full to move, let alone write a review of last night's dinner...(ok I was a very bad girl and preceded the meal with drinks at Ginger Cove and Rosa Mexicana and guac too...bad bad girl :wacko: AT least my partner in crime isn't feeling too great today either!)

but wanted to be sure people had seen the new website:

MiniBar

More to come...

Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but wanted to be sure people had seen the new website:

MiniBar

Gorgeous photography, but whoever did their interface design needs to be slapped soundly. Once you get to the menu, or the fact sheet (both open as PDFs), you can't get back to anything else because you're stuck in Acrobat. Which doesn't change the fact that the photography's gorgeous - it's just annoying.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother heard a rumor, probably over on the other board, that Minibar was closing down to expand. Is she right?

I remember reading somewhere that he was talking about possibly expanding to 12 seats at the minibar. It would be nice to know if it is going to be closed for a bit as I wanted to take some friends there.

Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's going to be closed for three weeks in August (though I only overheard this, and didn't get any details as to when or why).

And Joshua, one of our fine hosts, gets the prize for Amazing Memory, having remembered the exact seat where I sat last summer (he doesn't know who I am, but had somehow visually recalled that i was there with John "Organ pee known noir" Wabeck).

They seemed to like my suggestion of a hummus foam being offered as Air Jordan.

It's killing Jarad and Jamison that this thread has more Views than theirs, I just know it is. But Minibar and Nectar are mere pretenders to the Wegman's throne (for the time being).

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. I still say that if you're coming in from out of town, Minibar should be first on your list of dining experiences. However, there is now a one-month waiting list, so call early.

[Edit: I just got this bizarre, uproarious and arguably drunken Email, which I include for your reading pleasure:]

Rocks minibar

1.  Lamb Heir Jordan

shot of vino

2. Ludicrous Quail Egg w/ Billion Island Dress

shot of vino

3.  Crispy Fried Duck Maki, Sesame-Avacado Relish

shot vino

4.  Boudin Blanc on a Stick with Saffron Cream Mist (that some prick sprays

on you) aka "SEALTHE DEAL"

shot vino

5. Purple Heirloom Tomatoes in a Box (box made of basil espuma and salt

crystals)

shot vino

6. Canape of Popeye's Popcorn Chicken in a mini cardboard box with

mustard-mayo squirt

shot of rum

7. Yellow Watermelon Caviar Waterfall

"Do not pass go, advance to the nearest utility, pay four times what you

rolled on the dice."  Shot of vino

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

minibar will be closed until 24 August

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The minibar ministaff needs a minibreak!

Seriously, recharging the batteries.

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Was at the Minibar on Tuesday. After the break, most of the dishes seem to be the same (It was my first time there-- I'm basing this assessment on posts here and the experience of one of my dining companions).

One very interesting new dish was a 'science experiment' with melon. Three trays of liquid are set out on the counter, one orange and the other two clear. The orange liquid is a cantalope puree mixed with some sort of gelatin. Spoonfuls of it are dropped into the next liquid (a clear calcium solution) and form what look exactly like egg yolks. After a few minutes, the 'yolks' are rinsed in the third bowl (simply water). The 'yolks' are then placed on a spoon with mint puree. Pop it in your mouth and after a split second of resistance, you get a burst of flavorful melon liquid.

I think the cucumber roll with tomato sorbet was new as well. This was one of my favorite dishes: very thin overlapped slices of cucumer are rolled around a line of tomato sorbet. Startling (I didn't hear the 'sorbet' description) and refreshing.

I was pretty skeptical about some of the more outlandish ingredient pairings and was busy parodying them in my mind this week (Braised pork belly rolled in orange pixy stix dust, anyone?) Have to admit, though-- that foie gras with cotton candy was surprisingly delicious.

Really enjoyed the experience, but I think Don summed it up perfectly: "Now that I've had it, it would not be in my top 50 for visiting a second time"

And many thanks to the three chefs that night, who were happy to answer all our questions about the food.

Edited by cjsadler (log)

Chris Sadler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

One very interesting new dish was a 'science experiment' with melon.  Three trays of liquid are set out on the counter, one orange and the other two clear.  The orange liquid is a cantalope puree mixed with some sort of gelatin.  Spoonfuls of it are dropped into the next liquid (a clear calcium solution) and form what look exactly like egg yolks.  After a few minutes, the 'yolks' are rinsed in the third bowl (simply water).  The 'yolks' are then placed on a spoon with mint puree.  Pop it in your mouth and after a split second of resistance, you get a burst of flavorful melon liquid.

<snip>

Really enjoyed the experience, but I think Don summed it up perfectly: "Now that I've had it, it would not be in my top 50 for visiting a second time"

Wow, cool! :shock:

Why not? Because the line-up of the dishes stays mostly constant over time, except for the occasional new course? Good, but not amazing? One of these days I'm going to get over there, but I think I need to hit a few other places first. Minibar kind of strikes me as something you need to build up to!

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not?

I believe I was there for the first (and, so far, only) time almost a year ago. For me, it's time to return. The menu on the website looks like the "signature" dishes have been kept (e.g., mojito spritz, foie gras in chocolate or cotton candy, meat & potatoes, tomato/basil cone, jicama wraps, lobster on a pipet, deconstructed clam chowder) as well as some significant turnover of the rest of the menu. Personally, most of my enjoyment was the discovery and surprise of eating at the miniBar. It would not be the same if I ate there monthly.

The factsheet on the website lists two sous chefs. Are they the replacements for Kats' assistants from last year?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not? Because the line-up of the dishes stays mostly constant over time, except for the occasional new course?  Good, but not amazing?  One of these days I'm going to get over there, but I think I need to hit a few other places first.  Minibar kind of strikes me as something you need to build up to!

I think alot of the enjoyment of the Minibar experience rests on novelty. A few of the dishes were just plain delicious and I'd definitely enjoy eating them again, but for many of the courses, the enjoyment was more in thinking about food in a new and different way. Take the melon experiment-- intriguing and creative, but I don't see any reason to experience it again.

Edit: I forgot to mention the fresh sea urchin, flown in from CA and served with a banana espuma. Wow-- this was a crazy combination that just totally worked.

Edited by cjsadler (log)

Chris Sadler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  I forgot to mention the fresh sea urchin, flown in from CA and served with a banana espuma.  Wow-- this was a crazy combination that just totally worked.

Your killing me here...it sounds brilliant. I need more details. Was the uni whole? How was it presented. Did the banana bring out the uni flavor as I am imagining it would? It sounds completely divine.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think alot of the enjoyment of the Minibar experience rests on novelty.    A few of the dishes were just plain delicious and I'd definitely enjoy eating them again, but for many of the courses, the enjoyment was more in thinking about food in a new and different way. 

I did the mini bar experience in May and it was unbelievable. The novelty of it is exactly right. After eating there, and a few other places, over 3 days in DC, it really impacted my thinking about food and what is possible, it also gave me a much better impression of the DC dining scene (I'm from out of town, but regularly come to the DC area). The mini bar was the first real experience I have had of this type of cuisine and it was also very accessible, the 1 chef to 2 people ratio makes the experience extremely interactive and informative. There are some dishes that, if bigger, I would be back there all the time for, like the meat and potatos, but there were also those dishes that just aren't rave worthy, that looked pretty, tasted good, offered a different perspective, but just didn't do it for me (I guess one example would be the corn 3 ways). If there is significant change in the menu (and it does sound like a number of new things were added) maybe I would go back, but until then, I'd just go to Cafe Atlantico for the regular food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Anonymous Modernist 16589
      I'm looking to buy some new pots and pans and would like to tap into your knowledege and experiance with them. Which pans tend to yield the best and most consistant results. Same for pots. Any and all recommendations would be greatly appriciated, thank you in advance.
      Herman 8D
    • By Doodad
      Has anybody tried making a dark roux in a pressure cooker? Can this be done without scortching do you think? I have made roux in the oven before and started wondering about this topic.
    • By kostbill
      I really want to improve the flavor of my chicken breast so I want to try to inject brine with fat and flavors.
       
      I would like to try brining with some hydrocolloids. The one example I found is this: https://torontofoodlab.com/2013/08/20/meat-tenderizing-with-a-carrageenan-brine/.
       
      However I cannot apply that to my chicken breast because I am cooking it sous vide, so the chicken will not reach the temperature needed for the carrageenan to gel.
       
      I am thinking of using Methyl cellulose, first disperse in hot water, then leave it for 24 hours in the fridge, then add salt, fat and flavors and inject it.
      I am afraid that until it reaches the 50C or 60C that the Methyl cellulose needs in order to gel, the liquid will escape.
      Any ideas?
      Thanks.
    • By Anonymous Modernist 760
      Thanks for putting up this forum 🙂
      I would like to bake using a combination of sous vide and a conventional oven. Would it be possible to put the dough in a vacuum bag cook it sous vide at 37C for the dough to raise optimal and then put it in a conventional oven?
      Thanks
    • By Chef Hermes Blog
      Warm Onion Bavarois
      * 300g Sweet Onion purée
      * 250g Whole milk
      * 150g Whipping cream
      * 150g Chicken stock (or fresh vegetable nage, not stock cubes)
      * 3.5g Gellan gum
      * Seasoning
      Lightly grease with vegetable oil the moulds you intend to use (darioles, ramekins etc) and set to one side.
      In a pan (but not on the heat), whisk together all the ingredients.
      Place on a medium heat and whisk continuously, the mix will start to thicken slightly. Carry on whisking for a further 3-4 minutes when it has started to bubble. Then quickly pour into the greased moulds & chill.
      To reheat for serving, just place the ramekin in a pan of water and simmer gently for 8-10 mins.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...