Food critic

The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2019 Fall Dining Guide.


Included in Barmini’s cocktail flight from Brazil is a caipirinha made with liquid nitrogen. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

(Excellent)

Drinks? Drinks! is more like it at the mod lounge adjacent to the four-star, avant-garde Minibar. Sure, you can order a la carte, but for serious fun, reserve the two-hour cocktail flight, a series that goes down like a trip around the world. The journey commences with a welcome of ever-changing punch (cherry heering on my visit) and pivots to a daiquiri elevated with an absinthe rinse and a float of whipped passion fruit.

Bar manager Ismael Barreto says it takes up to a year to train staff to become full-fledged bartenders. Given the science behind the drinks — the fog that dissipates to reveal a sorbet with the profile of a Brazilian caipirinha, the cedar burned tableside to flavor a glass of tequila and orange peel — a customer can understand. And marvel. When’s the last time you had a drink segue from blue to purple? That happens when lime is added to shochu tinted with butterfly pea flower for the Japanese-inspired cocktail Divine Wind. Coolest of all, the drinks taste as great as they look.


Salmon tartare with Skuna Bay salmon, "classic" tartare sauce and Parker House buns with a Carmen Miranda cocktail. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

The Divine Wind, part of a cocktail flight from Japan, changes color from cobalt blue to deep pink. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

It helps to eat something with the parade of liquids. The kitchen obliges with lush salmon tartare cradled in glossy parkerhouse buns and impossibly light miniature waffles that crack open to reveal foie gras — also peanut butter and honey. PB&J for discerning hipsters.

3 stars (Excellent)

Barmini by José Andrés: 501 Ninth St. NW. 202-393-4451. minibarbyjoseandres/com/barmini.

Open: Dinner and late night Tuesday through Saturday.

Prices: Cocktails $18, flight $95.

Sound check: 72 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.