My friend was in town last night so of course we ate out. He's currently enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and is thinking of doing his externship at Jaleo, so I took him on the grand tour of Jose Andres's restaurants. We started at Jaleo, had dinner at the Minibar, and ended things off at Zaytinya. Needless to say I'm still full. Since Jaleo and Zaytinya have been covered extensively on this board I focus on the Minibar.
First of all the setup is really cool, 6 comfy, backed bar stools set up at the second floor bar at Cafe Atlantico. There are 2 chefs who prepare all the food in front of you and they have a long ice tray with lots of the ingredients front and center. They each alternate preparations so you see about half the dish made in front of you. Plus you can sneak a peak down the bar to see what else is being made. the chefs are first of all young, ours was 22! they also are very friendly and will tell you everything about how the dishes are made, the ingredients, and the steps to make the dish. So ask questions and lots of them!
You start off with flights of similar foods, rolls, cones, wraps, raviolis, all with different interpretations and "stuffings." Then you move onto one off dishes. In general I thought the one off dishes were better with a lot more imagination, technique, different flavors etc. evolved. Some of the early dishes involving Jicama were just ok, still good, but not quite as Wow! as the later dishes.
Here's the menu, in some what approximate order:
Things started off with a small bowl of chicken curry flavored popcorn. Then a small spritzer bottle with mojitos. Next came the flights. Each dish was about one bite.
Cones (Think mini ice cream cones)
with tomato and basil
trout roe and cream cheese
with salmon and orange powder
with tomato and altoids
tuna, sesame and soy gelatin
apples and cabarales blue cheese
ceasar salad (deconstructed)
Ravioli of Mango (the "pasta" is thinly sliced mango)
with anchovy mousee
with avocado and tabassco oil
Ravioli of Jicama
with tuna ceviche
Ravioli of Pineapple
with cured salmon and crispy quinoa
with trout roe
This was 4 squares of watermelon, hollowed out and each with a different filling
with balsamic and olive oil
with tomato seeds
with balsamic and trout roe
These were foods that came with a small squeeze tube with which you injected liquids in to your mouth
tomato with mozzarella soup and basil (a poached cherry tomato with a tube of liquid mozzarella and basil. pop the tomato in your mouth and then squeeze the liquid in after)
Hudson Valley Foie Gras
foie gras on a stick wrapped in cotton candy
cold and hot foie gras and corn
chocolate truffle, foie gras and tamarindo
Next came the series of one off dishes and this is when the meal really took off
Corn on the cob: baby corn, with a corn puree, and corn shoots
Wild pink scallop with frozen mango soup
Sardine in a crust of bread
Conch fritters with a liquid center
Potato mousse with American caviar and vanilla
Tuna with a rice mousee, crispy rice and soy sauce
Guacamole with tomato sorbet
Deconstructed New England clam chowder
Meat and Potates, potato mousse with lamb and a truffle scented napkin!
Mango soup with pop rocks
Some of the winners: Foie gras and cotton candy, the injections, conch fritters, potato mousse with caviar, deconstructed clam chowder, meat and potatoes.
Minibar isn't going to be for everyone, but if you like to think outside the box and play with food on different conceptional levels, this is the place for you.
The cost is $65 but for some reason there were a couple supplemental charges and we bought a bottle of wine ($32)...I think all told it came to about $100 each.