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$3000 minimum per couple at Minibar.

cfoodie Jan 12, 2014 06:08 PM

Having unsuccessfully tried to go to Minibar for the last few years (but not really trying too hard), I finally smelled the opportunity after the renovation and tried to book Minibar. We were surprised that it had multiple availabilities. So we took one and looked at the fine print. It's $3000 minimum for a dinner for two at Jose table. Yes, the food can set you back maybe a thousand for two, but there is the site fee which I never knew about. Then if you don't want the wine pairing, the site fee goes up to meet the $3000 minimum. While I understand that Jose is a very successful entrepreneur, and a great chef. Also, there are lots of rich people here thanks to the tax dollars and economy, I am trying to make sense of the minimum or perhaps I should get my eyes/brain checked for the mis-interpretation. I guess if I was starting out, I would make that an interesting challenge and pay the $3000. But having been "around the block" a couple of times and had my share of Michellin and other higher end (or maybe low end compared to this) places, I fail to see the value in that. Can someone familiar with Minibar explain how this works? Is this a new concept that I have somehow missed, having not checked my Chowhound discussions in a while? Thanks.

  1. m
    mwhitmore Jan 12, 2014 06:27 PM

    BOINNNGG! (Eyeballs shooting out of their sockets) Look, I don't know this place, but I can't conceive of this being any sort of acceptable value. Unless the value is ostentatiously spending the maximum amount of money. Are you saying government employees are spending taxpayer money at this joint? Or are lobbyists bribing them with this sort of expenditure? Are dope and hookers included? Inquiring minds want to know.

    7 Replies
    1. re: mwhitmore
      Virginian Jan 13, 2014 09:48 AM

      I've been to many places in the DC area where $500 per person was a very acceptable value.

      1. re: Virginian
        Doh Jan 13, 2014 09:26 PM

        Many? I'd be curious where.

        1. re: Doh
          law_doc89 Jan 14, 2014 02:35 PM

          Plume has one for $1776 per.

          1. re: law_doc89
            eweiss Jan 17, 2014 05:33 PM

            I ate at Plume recently and even at the regular dining room was not impressed. The sea bass was just not good. The octopus tartare was tough.

            Jaleo or Ozymel or the Inn at Little Washington re better

            1. re: eweiss
              law_doc89 Jan 17, 2014 05:39 PM

              I was reporting the cost.

              You should have sent back the food if substandard.

          2. re: Doh
            drsmoke Jan 14, 2014 02:35 PM


        2. re: mwhitmore
          kara2006 Jan 14, 2014 02:34 PM

          Recognizing government workers are the loathsome easy targets. Minibar is some place like Oz for this government worker. Sounds wonderful and I love watching him on tv showing his amazing talent -- it would be a treat. Jaleo is more in tune with my wallet.

        3. ipsedixit Jan 12, 2014 06:35 PM

          Are you sure it's just for 2?

          I've always understood that José's Table was $3000 minimum for a table of up to 6 people, and it includes beverage pairing, tax and gratuity. So essentially you're paying $500/person for an all inclusive (stress "all") meal.

          Not bad. Not a bargain. But not outrageous.

          Compare this with, say, Eleven Madison Park in NYC. The tasting menu is 225, wine pairing is 145, so just for food for one person, you're going to pay 370. Add in tax and tip and you're just right up against $500/person. And for that price you're forced to dine with the hoi polloi in the EMP dining room. At José's Table, you've got exclusivity and privacy. You can pick your nose and no one will know except your closest 5 friends.

          Still, I suppose you could dine solo at José's Table and still pay, gulp, three nice crisp bills for the privilege ...

          10 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit
            cookie monster Jan 12, 2014 06:52 PM

            I think ipse is correct. I don't live in or near DC and I've never been to Minibar but I was curious so I went to the website which says this:

            José's Table is an exclusive experience inside of minibar. The experience is located inside of his private dining room and can accommodate up to 6 guests. José's table is available at $3,000. The price includes the menu, José's selection beverage pairing, tax and gratuity. To request a reservation for José's Table, please email reserve@minibarbyjoseandres.com or call 202-638-0202.

            1. re: cookie monster
              cfoodie Jan 12, 2014 09:05 PM

              So, looking at it a different way, the cab ride costs $3000, the cab sits 6 people. If you want to go as a pair, it would be $1500 each, so the only way to lower it down to $500 is to find four others who will pony up $500 each, or you divide it by however many people willing to share the table. Interesting concept. I wish there are "regular tables" for two, but didn't see that on the email. Anyway, this option is out for me. As I recall, Gordon Ramsey in NYC (when it was Michellin 2 stars and ran by Ramsey) were offering chef's table for way more than 6 people (very large table with U shaped bench in the kitchen)for 1800 dollars. I guess things are just way cheaper in NYC.

              1. re: cfoodie
                Steve Jan 13, 2014 04:54 AM

                I think it's more like chartering a small aircraft.

                1. re: cfoodie
                  dinwiddie Jan 13, 2014 01:33 PM

                  They do have tables for two at Minibar (the only way I ate there several years ago) but you are looking at the José's Table, which is kind of like a Minibar within Minibar. Of course, even at the regular tables, if you can get one, after wine you are probably spending close to $500 per person, presuming you order wine that is on a par with the food.

                  1. re: dinwiddie
                    Just Visiting Jan 13, 2014 02:12 PM



                    For its 10-year anniversary, José Andrés' tasting menu-only DC Minibar will be introducing José's Table, a new "up to" six-person private dining room concept within the restaurant. The table, "positioned behind a white curtain," will cost $3,000 for the table. The price tag includes food and beverage pairings, and in what is surely a Ryan Sutton-approved move: tax and gratuity are included as well.

                    1. re: dinwiddie
                      cfoodie Jan 14, 2014 04:43 AM

                      I believe the problem is that they never offered us the regular tables when we e-mailed them a request for two. $500 per person is fine if you can get another four to go along. But I think they know we are going to be $1500 per person. If you don't drink wine, you still will have to pay the $3000. Maybe their regular clients are in that private jet category.

                      1. re: cfoodie
                        dinwiddie Jan 14, 2014 05:52 AM

                        They may have not offered the regular tables because those were not available, and they were not offering a promotion on them. At Minibar, you have to make the reservation 30 days in advance and they "sell out" in a couple of hours.

                        1. re: dinwiddie
                          Doh Jan 14, 2014 06:35 AM

                          That was the old system-- the new system is they take reservations for 3 months at a time by email (and they say you need to specify Jose's table if that's what you are interested in).

                          1. re: Doh
                            dinwiddie Jan 14, 2014 02:18 PM

                            Progress I guess, but I would still bet that even with the new system, you have to get in the first day or it is gone.

                  2. re: cookie monster
                    Elyssa Jan 15, 2014 09:13 AM

                    Exclusivity on top of exclusivity! Never will I be able to have that type of money to get into the inner room. But I've been perfectly satisfied dining at Jaleo and Bazaar in Miami instead.

                    I know people who would pay that happily (members of my own family practically). But I feel like at $3000 your expectations could never be properly reached.

                2. sal_acid Jan 12, 2014 09:10 PM

                  This is an intelligence test.

                  You passed.


                  1. s
                    Steve Jan 13, 2014 07:07 PM

                    You could try to reserve at Barmini instead. Much less of a financial commitment, and maybe easier to get a seat?

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