Mixology and the food sciences, collectively known as molecular gastronomy, are quickly taking the world by storm. Pair them with exhibition cooking and the popularization of gourmet cooking, and it’s no surprise that the food sciences are one of the fastest growing fine cuisine interests in the world. Members of this avant-garde style of contemporary cooking serve dishes that uniquely blend flavor, texture and appearance in ways that come off as nothing less than works of art.
These bars and restaurants serve elegant 30+ course tasting menus that aim to redefine the way you think about food. Many meals include dishes complete with vapor infused ingredients, flaming spices, and even frozen olive oil. Here’s a list of restaurants and mixology bars that do great things with their cuisine:
1) El Bulli – Ferran Adria – Spain – Michelin Three Star Restaurant
El Bulli’s reservations for an entire season sell out in a matter of days. El Bulli is known to present an enchanting and surprising experience with modern cuisine. Order the tasting menu and you’ll see grilled strawberries, spherical orbs of rosemary infused olive oil, and elbulliare, a dish made of frozen air. Culinary vaporizers also used in a variety of dishes both to flavor, as well as garnish dishes and drinks. This restaurant is closing its doors in July, 2011 to renovate before reopening as a culinary creative arts center, where chefs can explore new avenues of creation without the restrictions of restaurant cooking.
2) Alinea – Grant Achatz – Chicago
Grant Achatz is one of the brightest stars in modern food science. He serves a diverse range of meals complete with intricate plating design and unbelievable flavors. Alinea has some very interesting tools at their disposal, including the anti-griddle, which freezes liquids that are typically hard to freeze, as in Achatz’s olive oil lollipop. He also experiments with vapors that are not typically found in edible food. He told NPR that they have “…done firewood ashes, we’ve done leather, we’ve done grass.” The point is to allow you to enjoy a flavor which might be enjoyable, but is not necessarily edible.
3) WD-50 – Wylie Dufresne – New York City
Wylie Dufresne is in the center of the lime light when it comes to the food science movement. He has been featured on Top Chef: Masters, and Iron Chef: America. Chef Dufresne uses vacuum sealers for his sous-vide, and thermal circulators to make flavored noodles. Needless to say, the cuisine you will find at WD-50 is nothing short of fine art.
4) Aviary – Grant Achatz – Chicago
Grant Achatz tweeted the opening of his long anticipated project known as The Aviary. It opened Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 and had people queing up almost 6 hours before opening. By the time the doors opened, the line went down the block and around a corner. Early reviews indicated that the experience was unlike anything that could be done at home.
5) Death & Co. – David Kaplan and Ravi DeRossi – New York City
Death & Company is a cozy restaurant and mixology bar that serves creative cocktails like the Prima China, which incorporates earl grey infused vermouth, top shelf tequila, Cynar, and white cream de cacao. Try the Oaxaca old-fashioneds for a flamed orange twist, or stick to your guns with a classic martini. Any way you mix it, Death & Co. is a strikingly good time, and a few new takes on some classic cocktails.
Have you eaten at any of the above restaurants? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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