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The Best Tasting Menu in Baltimore or DC?

Inspired by watching Tony Bourdain's interview Ferran Adria of El Bulli, I am on a quest to find a tasting menu that will challenge me. Is there an (r)evolutionary chef in the Baltimore/DC area that serves a tasting menu that is on par with Ferran Adria?

What about Thomas Keller (French Laundry/Per Se)?

Okay, anyone recommend a tasting menu worth tasting?


P.S. As a clarification, I am new to the area and I am not saying that the Chef's down here aren't great.

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  1. I haven't been, but Minibar in DC appears to have the most innovative one of about 30 courses. I hope to go soon.
    CityZen in DC is very good, and the chef worked for Keller for years.
    In Baltimore, Charleston is the best.

    1. Challenge? Probably Minibar at Cafe Atlantico. Here is the gayot description which is a pretty good summary: "Upstairs, the ultimate in gastronomic indulgences comes at Andrés's Minibar, an eight-seat restaurant with its own staff urged to create whimsical, deconstructed dishes that are as much about science as about gastronomy. They push the envelope with a tasting menu that is inspired by their imaginations and what's really fresh and unique for a total of 30 to 35 dishes at a seating. Don't worry---the portions are bite-size. And its wine list is as unconventional as the menu, a great pairing! But don't tarry: you may face a two-month wait to get a reservation."

      1. Definitely Minibar - Andres is an Adria disciple. But I think it's already sold out for July, and closed in August.

        1. MiniBar is closed in August. It has six seats. Total. Charleston doesn't really have a "tasting" menu per se.

          Best tasting menus right now, IMO, would be the Chef Armstrong's Tasting Room at Restaurant Eve, and the weekend tasting menu at Chef Monis' Komi.

          I will put in the undoubtedly only dissent about Chef Kim and Saffron - I don't think they hold a dim candle to the aforementioned restaurants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: round hound

            Agree with Eve's tasting room. Otherwise, Komi and Obelisk are superb

          2. FWIW, the concept behind Charleston's new menu is supposed to be that diners can kind of build a tasting menu for themselves. Most of the dishes are on the small side so you can sample lots of different tastes. Here is the menu from last week: http://www.charlestonrestaurant.com/p...

            And as for Chef Kim, when I had his omakase at Soigne, I certainly would say that I enjoyed it as much as any meal I've ever had. Maybe there are better restaurants out there, but it was certainly a delightful experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: atls21231

              To me a tasting menu means following a menu and a progression set by the chef, often with a wine pairing option. Sometimes there are choices within each course.

              Charleston does offer smaller courses, and dessert is on the house, but the selections and the order are entirely the diner's decision, as are the wines. And FWIW, although I've never had anything but superlative dinners at Charleston, I wouldn't put it in the "challenging" category the OP was seeking.

            2. you know, i just had a memory impression of a degustation, 9 courses, at jean georges in 1997. i remember the truffled egg souffle, peeky toe crab salad, and a 88 y'quem for the table. thinking of this just makes me giggle.

              1. Minibar for sure, given the style you're looking for. My other favorites: Maestro, Restaurant Eve, Makoto.

                1. Thanks guys. Everything sounds great. Minibar is booked for July and closed in August. They will not be taking reservations for September until August. I think I'll go investigate some of your other suggestions.

                  1. Just for an Italian choice Roberto Donna's Labortorio in his Galileo restaurant. He only cooks on certain nights in the Lab and he sets the menu, whats fresh that day and usually around 12 courses.

                    1. Different types of places, Minibar is much like El Bulli that was on the show, as in very innovative and somewhat food science. Worth a seat at the bar for the long, long progression, but fantastic. The wine pairings with it can be a nice touch.

                      Komi on the other hand is more traditional, but fantastic and a bit more afforable. Everything is done really well and you have a little more choice in what you actually eat, which is a plus for some people.

                      Both are among the most memorable meals I've ever had.

                      1. The best meal I have ever had in DC was at Komi. And, it was not traditional if by traditional you mean combinations I have seen on some other menu before.

                        I haven't been to Makoto yet, but I hear the omakase there is really good.