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May 18, 2008 08:59 AM


I have plans to eat at minibar for a couple of birthday celebrations coming up.
I have read both good and bad posts about it but was wondering if anyone has been there recently and had any comments to share

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  1. Minibar was included in the restaurants featured in WETA's program about fine dining in the DC area. Something Andres said may help you put the posts here in context. He said he was trying to achieve an "oh!" moment. A moment when each diner is startled by some aspect of the dish. He even said that some diners wouldn't like all the dishes, but that he wanted them to experience a bit of surprise with each course. So, here's my recommendation: If you'd like to experience innovative cuisine that uses new technology to push the boundaries of food... If you're willing to eat a single bite of approximately 26 different dishes in contrast to eating regular-sized portions... If you're willing to be disappointed by a couple of the dishes... If you're willing to treat the act of eating each course as something of an adventure as you get instructions on how to consume many of the courses or figure out unfamiliar utensils... then you ought to follow through with your plans to eat at Minibar.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Indy 67

      I went in January and thought it was amazing. You need to be adventurous - very little meat beyond fish, unfamiliar ingredients, etc. But I thought the experience was so much fun and so unique, and liked almost every dish. It's probably the most memorable meal I've ever had.

      1. re: Indy 67

        Indy's 67's comment is perfect. Minibar is spectacular, but the surprise and the newness is as exciting as the food. All the showmanship serves the food -- for example, an edible wrapped candy -- a sweet wrapped in clear sheet that looks like plastic but melts in your mouth. Also, talk to the chefs. When we asked, they were happy to explain how things were made. They even emphasized that some things were doable at home.

      2. I've read that at the time of your reservation you can tell them of any food foibles that they should know about too and they will accomodate. Haven't had the pleasure though, but someone else may be able to confirm this.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MsDiPesto

          I don't know how picky you can be, but you are correct--when we made our reservation they sent a form to confirm any food allergies/aversions and also to check whether we're celebrating a special occasion (which we are--our 2 year anniversary). My husband and I are going next Wednesday so I'll definitely report back.

        2. It's a total food "experience." That being said, everything I had wasn't the "best" thing I've ever eaten, but they all made us say "How did they think of that?" It was like dinner and a show. Lots and lots of fun. Truly an experience!

          1. Ok so Fiance told me to get a reservation (after my bar exam) and we will go, so my question is how far in advance did you start trying to get a reservation and how difficult was it?

            5 Replies
            1. re: ktmoomau

              Incredibly hard to get a reservation - there are only a handful of seats, only 2 seatings each night, and it's not open 7 days a week.

              From their website:
              "Reservations for minibar are taken a month in advance. That is to say, if you want a seat for the 15th of March, you would need to start calling on February 15. Please be advised that the demand for minibar by josé andrés is very high and seats are often booked up the day they are opened for reservation.

              The reservation phone line for minibar opens at 10 am. For greatest chance of success, we recommend calling as close to 10 am as possible.

              You will require a credit card to guarantee your reservation. To reserve, please call Café Atlantico at (202) 393-0812."

              1. re: DanielK

                Thanks for the info. I knew it was hard I am hoping though I have phone line luck. I can't start calling till there is a month till the bar exam is open, so it will be a study break :)

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  I believe it took my boyfriend a month and a half of daily calling.

                  1. re: bylinemjf

                    call the very minute of 10 AM.

                    I got in once before it became so acclaimed by calling at about 10:10 AM and had to take the early seating for either Friday or Saturday (can't recall) in the absolute dead of August and that was about 4 years ago. I can only imagine what booking is like now.

                    I eat late, but given the lengthy parade, my usu. dinnertime came by a little past the halfway point. I actually preferred the early seating in retrospect. Chefs were still fresh as were my tastebuds.

                  2. re: ktmoomau

                    I made reservations a year ago and started calling immediately at ten. I made it through the first day I tried (maybe because I was trying for a Tuesday?), but didn't have my choice of seatings.
                    The meal was worth the effort and the money.
                    good luck

              2. Does anyone have any sense of how often the minibar menu is updated and/or how current the online menu is? This report from nearly a year ago looks pretty similar to the current online menu ->

                1 Reply
                1. re: Frodnesor

                  I asked this question when we were there for our anniversary (May 28). The chefs wouldn't give me a clear answer but said "it is constantly evolving". Apparently they use their days off (Sunday and Monday) to experiment with new menu items. I did ask how soon they would recommend coming back...while they have a few "regulars" (i.e., many times a year) they suggested once a year, and mentioned that a majority of the items will be new at that point in time.