Finally ready to review this anniversary trip from the beginning of October. With food this good, its almost difficult to write about. I've been dying to eat at Minibar for a couple years now, and after a few days of frantic 10 am calling, scored a res for Sat night.
After sifting through reviews here, I settled on Komi as our other dinner option. After our trip plans had to be altered, I could no longer make it for our Komi res, however, they were VERY accommodating and found a way to squeeze us in on Friday night- much appreciated!
Arriving a good fifteen minutes late, we were greeted warmly and sat at a table in the middle of a very sparse but intimate dining room. The dozen or so tables were filled, and the room was nice, but there was virtually no decoration or anything pleasing to the eye. We ordered the Degustazione menu with pairings, my gf going with 3 wines and I with 5.
Almost immediately, the parade of Mezzethakia began. My short notes from the meal were lost with my blackberry, but I remember most of it clearly. First came a few light crudos, of kampachi and then japanese fluke, very simply dressed. In interests of full disclosure, raw seafood is really not my thing but I kept an open mind and ate everything. The crudos were very light and tasty, super fresh. More mezze included duo of scallop- a ridiculous carpaccio with shaved truffles and a too-gummy super-fine tartare (like a scallop paste almost), an akushi (sp) oyster with fennel sabayon, a king salmon tartare with shiso sorbet and pine nuts, and a delicious tiny baby brioche with lemon creme fraiche and salmon roe. There was also a tasty one bite sandwich with homemade mortadella, a thin slice of radish on a tiny roll. The famous exploding Caesar cube was soooooo good, one big bite of exploding, melting romaine. The date with mascarpone was very nice but could've used a pinch or two more of salt as it was a bit sweet. Then, a few delicious larger mezze... (yes they keep going). The absolutely most amazing baby octopus ever, cork-braised and then very nicely charred, with padron peppers and cippolini onions, also charred. SO GOOD! Then, a delicious plate of san daniele prosciutto with figs, arugula, compressed melon, and amazing little cubes of fried haloumi. I think thats it for the mezze.
For pasta course, they brought me the Boulettas w/ chanterelles, blueberries, and guanciale, and for my gf, the pappardelle w/ braised rabbit and olives. My gf absolutely loved hers and barely parted with a bite. The boulettas were very light, with an unorthadox but flavor packed combo of cubed little fried bits of the guanciale, fresh blueberries, and delicious shrooms. Would've liked a touch of salt and for the dish to be served at a higher temp, but still nice. It was at this point that she looked over at me and asked if we were done yet... lol NO!
The highlight of the meal was easily the roasted Katsikaki (goat), served with hot, spongey, pancake-ish pita bread, oregano seasoned salt, habanero sauce, tzatiziki, eggplant spread, and pickled cabbage. My gf was full before it got there, and I was near breaking point myself. The degustazione is a HUGE amount of food when its all said and done. The goat was beyond succulent, crispy skin and edges, very moist, tender meat bursting with flavor. Best. Goat. Ever. A very memorable meat experience- and i'm a huge meat eater!! Likewise, the pita was best ever status... got seconds on that one. The worst part was the diminishing capacity in my stomach. I savored the goat slowly, and even got up and took a walk around outside for 5 mins to see if I could find some more space somewhere- anything for some more of that goat. After a bit, ashamed, I had the waiter clear the table. He laughed.
Desserts were ok but really there was no more room. They brought me some too-hard greek donuts, with a mini mexican spiced chocolate shake, and my gf a play on an after dinner mint, it was a chocolate and mint creme cake, with a curried caramel and caramelized banana on top. Very good.
Wine pairings were great, went very well with the cuisine, and included many greek wines which I had never had before. Service was very nice also. Overall, the meal was interesting and innovative, and included three best evers- the Octopus, Goat, and Pita.
I voluntarily missed my UM-OKLA game for this one! And it was worth it. I was concerned that after having lusted after this meal for so long, reading about the cuisine and looking at pictures, that there was no way the meal could live up to the hype- but IT DID. What food! What creativity! The food is amazing but that doesn't begin to tell the whole story. Our very talented chefs, Brad and Ryan, were awesome and very comfortable talking about all of the dishes, techniques, components, etc... pretty much everything. They put us at ease and elevated the experience. One of the coolest parts about the experience was how the chefs are constantly toying with the diners' preconceived notions about food- especially textures!
My gf and I each went with the wine flights, I went with the Spanish flight and she with the bubbly. They were nice and worked relatively well with the meal.
The menu was broken down as such:
Pisco Sour / Beet "Tumbleweed" / "Cornbread" / "Bagels and Lox" / Olive Oil "Bon-Bon" / "Mojito" / Blue Cheese and Almond / Boneless Chicken Wing / Steamed Brioche Bun w Caviar / Cotton Candy Eel / Dragon's Breath Popcorn
Flavors & Textures:
"Guacamole" / Zucchini in Textures / Smoked Oyster w Green Apple / Corn w Huitlacoche / Sea Urchin Ceviche w Hibiscus / Salmon-Pineapple "Ravioli" w Crispy Quinoa / "Tzatziki" / New England Clam Chowder / Parmesan "Egg" w Migas / Breaded Cigala w Sea Salad / "Philly Cheesesteak"
Frozen Yogurt and Honey / Thai Dessert
With so many dishes there was a surprise around every corner. Everything was delicious and there were several amazings. My favorite dishes (not in order, that would be too hard) include: the brioche bun w caviar, the boneless chicken wing, "cornbread", corn w huitlacoche, guac, tzatziki, the parmesan egg w migas, and the philly cheesesteak. Chef Brad was right when he said the desserts would knock my socks off... I still have a hard time deciding which i preferred, but either way they are #1a and 1b on the all time dessert list... The steamed brioche bun with creme fraiche and caviar was the most delicious bite of caviar I have ever had, the super soft brioche a perfect vehicle for it. The chicken wing was super tender, made with thai seasonings, i'll have an order, please. Both corn dishes were super-delicious, if I were to describe them I would likely do them an injustice. The guac was very clever, thin sliced avocado wrapped around a "log" of tomato sorbet, with crumbled fritos and little segments of lime- it tasted great! The parmesan egg with migas was likewise very clever, with a raw egg yolk wrapped in a gelatinous parmesan exterior, with some toasted bread crumbs. The tzatziki was awesome, greek yogurt dropped in liquid nitrogen to develop a hard exterior, some cucumber flowers filled w a drop of balsamic syrup, cucumber, olive oil, and little croutons. The much discussed cheesesteak lived up to the hype- and some. I would take a six pack of these in a second.
All in all, an incredible meal. In fact labeling this as just "a meal" would be marginalizing it- its an experience, and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a special occasion spot.
LATINO DIM SUM
With no resos and a limited amount of time on Sunday between a morning visit to the museum and early afternoon flight, we decided to check out the brunch at Cafe Atlantico which I had read about here previously. I started with a Salt & Lime Air Margarita, which was awesome! We both went with the chef's tasting option, where they just bring you 14 plates of their choosing, which allowed us to sample a nice chunk of the menu. Everything was pretty good. My favorites that meal were the Pork Belly confit, the hot and cold Foie Gras soup, and the egg 63 with shrooms. Real nice play on the dim sum concept.
What a great trip! Minibar and Komi rank among my best food experiences ever. Both meals were quite expensive, but for what you got, it was worth it. Komi's roasted goat with pita may have been one of the most delicious bites of meat EVER. Minibar had one amazing plate of food after another which just made you ask yourself WHAT?! I have never enjoyed a meal so much, nor have I ever laughed so many times. It was an unparalleled dining experience that I hope to experience again soon.
405 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004
1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036