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Impressions from é by José Andrés

wnissen | Feb 2, 201112:22 PM

I was very happy at the end of the night. The blog I linked above (Kevin Eats) had the same menu as we did, and I agree with almost everything he said, so I won't mention all the courses unless I have something to say. There were a number of memorable dishes, but lately my fine dining has been limited to Manresa, so take that into consideration. There were some truly lovely presentations, such as the little cracker resting in the palm of José Andrés' hand:

A real favorite of mine was the "Apple 'Brazo de Gitano'" which was a light-as-air sponge cake filled with blue cheese espuma (a whipped cream consistency foam) and topped with dehydrated apple shavings. I felt that used the power of molecular gastronomy to add textural interest while keeping the interactions of flavors at the forefront.

There were also some more ingredient-focused dishes, like jamón ibérico de bellota wrapped in caviar, which was fantastic. The umami of the ham and the caviar together was really intense, I could eat a lot of it. That was accompanied by a crispy fried artichoke with a warm quail egg inside, a luxe Hot Pocket.

The next dish was also very strong, a "Bocata de 'Calamares'" which contained uni instead of calamari, in a banh-mi style mini sandwich:

I loved the "Cigala with Roses," a lobster-like crustacean served with rose foam, sauce from the head of the lobster and sauce Américaine. That was so good I asked for some bread to sop the remainder of the sauce.

There were some more out-there dishes, such as spherified oysters served with honey foam in a bowl filled with smoke:

The "catch of the day" was a sashimi-style presentation with "pearls" that I thought were white caviar at first bite but turned out to be citrus-flavored and crispy in texture. Really good.

The secreto of pork was beautiful both before carving:

and after:

It was as good as pork gets, coming from Ibérico pork shoulder, though I could have used quite a bit more truffle. A high-class problem, I know.

The 25 second bizcocho was light as air, and one of the prettiest things I've ever eaten. The picture doesn't do it justice:

Also, some cute little mignardises, served in a book:

The wines we were served were good, but not so distinctive to interfere with the food. Our sole dining companion (ironically from San Francisco) wasn't having alcohol, so they tried a variety of mocktails. I should have recorded more of them, but here's one:

For $250 inclusive of tax and tip, it's a bargain, especially when you consider the high-touch service (two servers taking care of a maximum of eight guests).

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