The Kitchin, Edinburgh, 9/21/17


The Kitchin is divided into several dining rooms with one having a large window into the very active kitchen.  Tables are good-sized and nicely spaced, which makes the noise level very tolerable despite being totally full of happily talking people.  The decor is very natural with lots of wood and stone and the menu strives to use only quality local products – they have a map showing where the various ingredients are from and many arrive within 16 hours of being harvested.  I’m wondering if some local sheep farm provided the fuzzy covers for the fun purse stools.  They have been open for 11 years, opening in 2006, and received their first Michelin star after just one year.  Service is attentive and friendly and willing to go into as much detail about the food as you want.   Continue reading

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


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.   Continue reading

Pineapple and Pearls, Washington D.C., 9/8/17


Pineapple and Pearls is a tough reservation to get right now and we were lucky to get a couple seats at the bar counter.  There is a regular dining room and kitchen counter seats that all receive the same tasting menu, but in those seats the only wine service available is through the pairings option.   At the bar you have the option of ordering your own bottle(s) or glass however be forewarned that the list is woefully small.  The seats are the same as the stools by the kitchen counter and you also get a smaller more intimate group to eat with, however with staggered seating times no one is on the same course at the same time.  The restaurant is a sandwich and coffee shop during the day but that service is to end soon and casual dining will be via the restaurant next door, while this location (which opened a year ago in April) will be dinner only.  We were greeted with a nice cold glass of bubbly until they were ready to seat us.  Once they checked about any dietary restrictions the menu began pretty quickly.  All the staff that served us were friendly and helpful with answering questions.   Continue reading

Dill Restaurant, Reykjavik, 7/27/17


Dill has been in business for 2 years and is the only Michelin starred restaurant in Iceland.  It was originally a barn and now has a small front room and 3 counter seats at the finishing kitchen as well as additional seating in another room, but that seemed to filled by a private party.  Windows to the street form one side of the main room and a large window looking out at a back garden is opposite that.  A bench seat lines one other wall with closely set tables as they also are on the main floor.  Walls are of concrete, the ceiling of wood,  a combination of candlelight and a skylight provide most of the low lighting and there was  subtle background music. The night we were there it was quite warm in the restaurant but I suspect this is not normally a problem. Continue reading

Aska, New York City, 5/20/17


Aska is a medium sized 2- star Michelin place with large well-spaced tables.  There is a main dining room, party room in back and patio out back.  An open kitchen is the focus of the main dining room and at times there were 9 chefs in it.  Chef and owner Fredrik Berselius took 2 years to find and re-do this space that opened in August 2016 in an old warehouse. His Scandinavian beginnings show in his cooking and the smells are a huge component in many courses. They offer a tasting menu only of 19 courses, however that includes bread, amuse and some really small bites.  Wine pairings are available however there is not a different wine for each course.   Continue reading

De Librije, Zwolle, 5/12/17

front entrance

De Librije has been located for 3 years in an old prison in Zwolle, a short train ride from Amsterdam. The dining area is downstairs and upstairs is a hotel.  They offer a tasting menu of 5 – 7 courses or a la carte options.  For the tasting there are  4 courses where you have a choice of dish and the additional ones are chosen by the chef.  For our 7 course tasting we both chose different dishes from the options but for the surprise courses we were served the same.  After a moment in the reception area we were moved to a pre-dining room lounge.  Drinks are offered and champagne was topped off as we enjoyed some snacks which were all pretty good.  Also Chef Jonnie Boer comes out to visit about the menu and you make your choices and decide the number of courses.   Continue reading

Bord’eau, Amsterdam, 5/11/17

restaurant windows

Bord’eau is located in the De L’Europe Hotel which overlooks a busy canal in Amsterdam.  One wall of the lovely restaurant is floor to ceiling windows overlooking this canal – a great seat for a show with your meal.  The tables are good sized and well spaced with faint pop music playing in the background.  Service is friendly and helpful but pacing was too slow leaving lots of time between courses which seemed deliberate since there was no crowd.  The food seemed to be going for more visual punch than flavor.  They offer an a la carte menu as well as tastings of 3 – 6 courses and it is well detailed what is added with each additional course.  There is also an optional duck liver course that could be added to any of the tastings.  (We chose to add that to our 4  course tasting). Continue reading