Barmini By Jose Andres is a cocktail bar without the flashing lights and stripper poles. There’s no shots being delivered and no keg stands, which was kind of disappointing in my opinion.
It brings back the golden age of libations and a staircase above your local self-proclaimed libation bar. It’s right next door to minibar with lounge sitting around the room and bar seating to view all the creations. The decor was very vibrant like the majority of Jose Andres’ restaurants. It’s like staring at bright lights after consuming an eighth of shrooms. I wanted to get trash, make bad decisions and wake up next to someone who might have robbed me of all my belongings. However, that wasn’t the case.
The avant-garde style cocktails had an element of class, which left me uncomfortable because I am no where near classy. The closest thing to class I can display is being in high school detention. It stands in the same category of cocktail bars like Grant Achatz’s Aviary in Chicago, Gen Yamamoto in Tokyo, and Alchemy in Taipei. The only difference between Barmini and Gen Yamamoto/Alchemy is Barmini has snacks. It’s not your typical bar food but creative and imaginative dishes like a Foie-affle, Adrias’ Liquid Olive and Australian Wagyu/Uni Tartare. I was frown upon when I asked for wings, fries and a pitcher of Bud Light.
My mixologist was fantastic and he paced my drinks very well for the experience. Mixologist is nothing more than an inflated job title for a bartender. I always try to sit at the bar or chef’s table for these types of experiences cause you get to marvel in the spectacle of the evening. It’s like watching the United States Presidential Debates as Donald Trump delivers personal insults after insults without proposing any real substance. In other words, it’s good TV.
Barmini has a tasting menu or you could go with ordering a la carte per se. I decided to go with the tasting menu cause my goal was to get trashed. The tasting menu consisted of 7 drinks and excludes any additional snacks. Those are sold separately like Apple’s Airpods.
Here are my favorites;
- Bourbon – The glass was smoked in a wood right before it was served. It was done with a blow torch in front of you. Once the smoke comes up, the cup was placed over it. The Bourbon had a very oak flavor to it and the smoked glass added another earthy element to it. It didn’t disappoint like how Jeb disappointed his Super PAC.
- Dark Side of the Moon – The ode to Pink Floyd and psychedelic party favors. It was Old Tom Gin with Creme de Violette, Lemon, Egg White, and Citric Ash. The mixologist’s ability to extract the egg whites directly from the egg was impressive. In addition, grating the outside of a lemon to add a citric flavor to the drink. It was a sweet drink without the psychedelic effect, which was a bit disappointing. I would have replaced the Creme de Violette with a few drops of acid.
- Adrias’ Liquid Olive – This snack draws its inspiration from Ferran Adria and el Bulli team in Spain, which I had the opportunity to try when I was at Tickets. The texture and presentation of the dish was exactly the same but it wasn’t as bitter or ripe as the one I had at Tickets. The Tickets one had a crisp bite to the flavor. It was a decent attempt like when someone tries to mentioned a restaurant they think is really good and you’re just sitting there thinking it’s complete garbage.
- Foieffel – The dish was a waffle injected with foie gras, topped with peanuts, glazed with peanut butter and sprayed with decadence. The texture of the waffle was perfect and it was fluffy like a cloud of weed. The sweet toppings were integrated well with the light waffle but unfortunately the injected foie gras was a bit salty and sour like someone who gets called out for their bullshit.
- Australian Wagyu/Uni Tartare – The tartare was served with white Asian buns like the ones you find with your typical pork buns. The texture of the wagyu blended well with the uni. The uni provided a silky element to the tartare bun like lingerie on your mom.
Overall, I thought Barmini was a fun experience. The creative preparations of the drinks and imaginative dishes made it worth while even though I sat there begging for shots and to do keg stands. They weren’t having it and it kind of ruin my night. It’s like doing a few lines of blow off a prostitute’s right butt cheek hoping she doesn’t fart cause it would be a waste of blow and hard to sniff through your nostrils. That would totally stink. Pun intended.
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- Service - 7.5/107.5/10
- Presentation - 8.5/108.5/10
- Flavors - 7.5/107.5/10
- Decor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 7/107/10
Barmini provides an escape for DC locals, which doesn’t include keg stands and shots. It’s a guaranteed good time for anyone who enjoys a lounge environment. However, don’t expect to wake up with regrets the next day. It’s not that type of place unfortunately.