minibar by José Andrés, Washington D.C., 9/9/17

IMG_0073
Entrance

Minibar offers only a tasting menu which is presented around an open kitchen.  It appeared that the menu is done in shifts for groups of 6 people. The multiple staff assemble your 25+ courses while you watch and are happy to interact and answer questions.  Pairings are offered in three levels of pricing or you can order your own bottles of wine.  Cocktails are also available through the next door barmini, which is physically connected to minibar.  The food is modern and beautiful and often not what the eye thinks it is.  There were no choices to make or supplements to contemplate.  At the end of the meal they do give you a menu and staff list, but descriptions are not a part of the menu.  At the end I’ve included a photo of our menu that evening but it changes regularly.  All the staff are super friendly, helpful and pacing moves along at a nice pace but do expect to be there at least 2-3 hours.  

IMG_0077
walls of entry room match the door

When we arrived we waited briefly in room and then someone came out and ushered us into the strikingly decorated waiting area with stuffed furniture and low tables.  It wasn’t long before someone brought out snacks of a very crisp and light “Pizza Margherita” and a small bag of fun puffed wild rice along with a glass of Gramona Cava.  Next was a Lemon and Verbena Slushie which was refreshingly delightful.

IMG_0080
reception room peaks into kitchen
IMG_0085
Frankie looked around
IMG_0087
warm rocks with herbs to cleanse your hands
snacks
Pizza Margherita, puffed rice and slushie
IMG_0100
Lemon verbena slushie
IMG_0103
puffed wild rice
IMG_0104
wall clock

 

Before we finished the cava it was time to move into the dining area which was a “L” shaped counter of which our group had one side and another group had the other piece. Another drink was first on the agenda, “Wax and Wane” which was made from Caledonia Spirits Wax and drizzled with honey.  It was different and not my favorite.  It was served with “Butterfly” which was a crisp made from beets and stuffed with yogurt underneath.  They were very tasty.  A Pineapple Shortbread was dusted with olive tapenade and was not strongly flavored.  The real star was the Coca Dolce and Burgundy Truffle which had a lovely hint of anise and a sweetness.  It was crisp with a strong aroma of truffle and was delicious.

IMG_0106
making welcome drinks
IMG_0108
supplies
IMG_0132
Frankie checked out the snacks
IMG_0115
Caledonia Spirits Wax and Honey
IMG_0120
Coco Dolce and Burgandy Truffle
IMG_0129
Pineapple Shortbread
IMG_0135
Caledonia Spirits Wax and Honey ingredients
IMG_0123
Butterfly

 

Watermelon Margarita was watermelon infused with mescal garlic.  It was served on a salt block which you were to rub it in before eating it.  It was nice.

IMG_0146
Watermelon Margarita
IMG_0152
interior
IMG_0157
kitchen at work

 

Fresh wasabi was grated on a shark skin grater and then placed on Hokkaido Uni that was served on a droplet of Iberico ham.  It was warm and to be eaten in one bite.  This is absolutely the best uni and doesn’t have the funky taste many do, so it was lovely and the slight hint of wasabi was the perfect enhancement.

IMG_0156
grating fresh wasabi
IMG_0160
assembling uni course
IMG_0166
Hokkaido Uni in an Iberico Droplet
IMG_0172
closer
IMG_0673
Assistant General Manager Eric Jeffay and Frankie

 

Spoons made from Parmesan were topped with caviar and a bit of balsamic vinegar.  You used these edible spoons to enjoy a bowl of parmesan cheese and basil air.  It was a very good combination.   Afterward gin & tonic handtowels were given to clean your hands but not to be eaten.

IMG_0179
Parmesan Spoons
IMG_0183
Parmesan cheese and basil air
IMG_0191
Gin and Tonic hand towel
IMG_0260
wine
IMG_0267
wine
IMG_0720
Head Sommelier Karl Kuhn and Frankie

 

Liquid nitrogen was poured into a bowl and then a metal tart mold was dipped in pumpkin seed oil and dipped in the freezing liquid. The tart shell is then gently removed and dotted with mandarin and sea salt gel.  It is fed to you as it is so quick to dissolve.   It was tasty.

IMG_0200
preparation
IMG_0206
making tart shell
IMG_0208
making tart shell
IMG_0209
add the pumpkin seed oil
IMG_0213
Pumpkin Tart
IMG_0316
Frankie thought the cork rest looked like a paw

 

Langoustines were flown in from Norway and served with a skewer of their claw meat.  They were opened and accented with a dollop of parsley and garlic foam.  These were yummy fresh, perfectly cooked langoustines and the foam was a great accompaniment.

IMG_0219
Langoustine
IMG_0225
plating begins
IMG_0240
add foam
IMG_0247
Scottish Langoustine
IMG_0253
closer

 

Lummi Island Dungeness Crab was served with broccoli and cheddar gnocchi in a beurre moutarde sauce.  The gnocchi were amazingly tender and light and blended perfectly with the fresh and wonderful crab.  It was rich and delicious.

IMG_0285
assembling
IMG_9937
it takes many
IMG_0291
Lummi Island Crab, Broccoli and Cheddar
closer
closer
IMG_0312
Frankie stalked the crab

 

Skate wing was grilled with a brown butter sauce and served with faux yolks that were droplets of lemon.  The fish was cooked perfectly and either the butter in the sauce or the ‘yolks’ really enhanced the dish.  It was further enriched with dots of black garlic that held some grilled onion pieces.  Sous Chef Luke Feltz then gave an explanation and demonstration of how the delicate ‘yolks’ were made.

IMG_0321
next assembly
Skate and Lemon Yolks
Skate and Lemon Yolks
IMG_0355
closer
IMG_0361
explanation of how the yolks are made

 

The next dish was called Snail Caviar: Fast and Slow and it was served with no further explanation so we could guess what it was.  The eggs were from snails and the sauce was from rabbit.  The ‘snail’ in the middle was made of Iberico ham gel.  This dish was full of amazing flavors and they all blended perfectly.  A little anise taste in the flowers made it even better.

IMG_0393
next assembling
IMG_0395
Snail Caviar: Fast and Slow
IMG_0405
closer
IMG_0411
inside
IMG_0328
planning wall artwork
IMG_0332
wall illustrations

 

Squab Salmis was a squab breast covered with slices of hearts of palm and enhanced with Marcona almonds.  It was cooked a nice rare but it was a tad tough however the flavors were intense and good, so it didn’t matter.

IMG_0424
assembling
IMG_0426
Squab Salmis
IMG_0436
closer
IMG_0443
other side
IMG_0444
inside
IMG_0549
Frankie offered to help with preparations

 

Corn in Sequence was 4 different preparations of corn.  They included crispy chicken skin with barbecue sauce and corn, corn chowder, ‘fried chicken’ which was corn meringue filled with smoked corn juice, and corn on the cob ice cream.  The ice cream was very creamy and all had wonderful variations of corn flavor and textures.  Visually interesting and tasty – a rare and great combo.

IMG_0454
Start of Corn in Sequence
IMG_0460
Crispy Chicken
IMG_0475
Corn-chata
IMG_0483
Meringue
IMG_0497
from the side
IMG_0499
inside
Paletta
Paletta

 

Mojito Supreme was like a jello shot served in a lime skin.   You just ate the ‘fruit’ portion for an intense shot of flavor.

IMG_0523
Mojito Suprême
IMG_0526
closer

 

Gorgonzola Dolce with apple was freeze dried apple in a creamy format.  You ate it off a paper.  Nice.

IMG_0533
Gorgonzola Dolce
IMG_0544
Frankie wondered where it went

 

Honey and lavender were components of Beeswax ice cream served with inedible wax spoons.  The ice cream was enhanced with bits of salt and was very good.

IMG_0551
preparations
Beeswax Ice Cream
Beeswax Ice Cream
IMG_0568
closer

 

Little Piggy was bacon ice cream covered in chocolate from a pig head mold.  It tasted almost like ham – very smokey.

IMG_0583
Little Piggy
IMG_0586
Frankie checked it out
IMG_0588
mold

 

This ended the time at the minibar and the group was then moved to barmini to finish the meal.  Dragon’s Breath were to be eaten while breathing through your nose.  They were filled with a gas that made it appear that you were the smoke breathing dragon.

IMG_9941
bar mini
IMG_9940
bar mini
IMG_0610
Dragon’s Breath
IMG_0617
closer
IMG_0604
Frankie and the hand holder

Next a small assortment of goodies was served.  It included passion fruit meringues, Key lime pie bon bons, white chocolate shiso leaves,  and chocolate empanada with coriander.  They were all fine and I especially liked the white chocolate shiso leaf.

IMG_0624
presentation
IMG_0629
from the top: Hoshi-Kiwi, Key Lime Pie Bon Bon, White Chocolate Shiso Leaf, Coriander Abanico,
IMG_0632
white chocolate coating
Frankie made a friend
Frankie made a friend

 

Next was pina colada cotton candy.  We had 2 birthday celebrations in our group so they each got theirs in the shape of a cake with a candle where ours was a more traditional oval on a stick.  It was tasty and fun.

IMG_0648
Cotton candy birthday cake
IMG_0656
Cotton Candy
IMG_0591
Frankie was amazed at the choice of toilet paper colors

 

Last was the Golden Egg which was a plastic gold egg covered in chocolate and wrapped in gold foil.  Inside was the bill and a small toy chef that needed to be assembled.  It was time to relax and play.

IMG_0692
Golden Egg
IMG_0716
golden egg
inside
inside
IMG_1383
Menu cover
IMG_1381
Menu
IMG_0682
Head Chef Josh Hermias and Frankie

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s