405 8th St. NW
HOURS: Tues.-Sat. seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
COST: Most entrées more than $20
To make a reservation at MiniBar, diners must pick up the phone at precisely 10 a.m. a month before they want to go and be prepared to hit the redial until they get through. If they’re lucky, they will secure one or two of the six seats at the two sittings per night for the chance to sample 27 to 30 courses from chef José Andrés’s imagination.
What they get for their fixed price of $120 is the culinary equivalent of Mr. Wonka’s chocolate factory—a romp with a group of golden ticket holders through the thermosphere of culinary space: prawns that swim on a wave of brioche-flavored foam, a Philadelphia cheesesteak (wafer-thin slices of beef hugging a cheddar-filled pita), a dessert that is made of sweet ingredients—coconut milk ice cream and frozen peanut powder—but tastes like pad thai.
MiniBar is an event; guests interact with the chefs and are encouraged to ask questions.
Despite the number of portions, big eaters should understand that they might not leave full. Like many tasting menus, this one consists basically of 27 bites—all flavorful, all delicious, but individualized and small.