Across America, alumni of Spain's inventive restaurant El Bulli are spreading the culinary gospel of Catalonian chef-scientist Ferrán Adría. Most noteworthy is Minibar, newly opened on the second floor of Café Atlántico in Washington, D.C.'s Penn Quarter. At this six-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant, executive chef José Andrés and his chef de cuisine, Katsuya Fukushima, have created a menu of 33 "bites," such as the caprese (a skinless cherry tomato sprinkled with sea salt and a scrap of basil and speared by a pipette filled with mozzarella soup). "The most important thing I learned at El Bulli was a different way of approaching food," Fukushima says. Two sous-chefs perform delicate operations behind the glass counter while Fukushima or Andrés provides a personal explanation of each nibble. One standout, a square of foie gras coated in crushed CornNuts and presented on a stick surrounded by a golden cloud of cotton candy, gives new meaning to the term melts in your mouth. Minibar at Café Atlántico, 405 Eighth St. NW, Washington, D.C.; 202/393-0812; www.cafeatlanticodc.com; dinner for two $130.
Minibar is the avant-garde, award-winning jewel of celebrity chef José Andrés’ restaurant empire. This tasting-menu-only restaurant offers a look inside a culinary laboratory experimenting with the latest techniques and ingredients. As its name suggests, minibar is very mini—and very popular. Be sure to make reservations way in advance.