Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Fantastic meal at #6 restaurant in the world!
I really did not know what to expect when I booked Mugaritz at San Sebastian. It is rated number 6 on "The World's 50 Best Restaurants" by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. It is only rated as 2 Michelin stars which made me think something is wrong with this rating as how can this restaurant be top 10 in the world and yet only rated with 2 Michelin Stars? But from past experiences I also know that I don't always agree with Michelin Star ratings. Case and point, I had dinner at a well known restaurant in Las Vegas couple years ago. While food was fantastic, service was not even close to other 1 Michelin Star restaurants I've been to. How in the world they got 3 Michelin Stars with such poor service was mind boggling. But I digress.... back to Mugaritz.
Mugaritz is actually outside of San Sebastian...but not too far. It essentially look like a farm house in the countryside. There are few structures on the property and the decoration for main dining room was minimal and tastefully done. It was modern and understated.
The service was outstanding. Maitre D' Joserra Calvo was gracious and friendly. He made me feel at home instantly when I walked into the restaurant. The atmosphere is casual and easy; it's not a formal restaurant at all and if I live around there, I would have no problem of going there once a month (vs restaurants like French Laundry that feels more like a special event/ once a year type of thing).
I had Interestingly the first few dishes I had, there were no utensils. I ate all my food using my fingers. I like the concept except couple times the dishes were slightly hot to handle (I didn't burn myself if you were wondering). Each dish was meticulously done and very thoughtful. There were tons of food that I never had before such as tiger nuts, horse cheeks, hake, etc. I had the best teardrop shaped peas ever! It was sweet, crisp, fresh, and everything you want in a pea and then some. My mouth is watering just thinking about those peas. One of the dessert anis waffle was just glorious. The crunchy shell that held yuzu cream turned out to be fish skin that was deep fried. I love salty and sweet desserts! Oh and halfway through the dinner, they invited the guests at each table to see their kitchen in action. Apparently they have chefs from all over the world and the chef that came out and talked to me used to live in NYC. She was lovely and explained that why half of the dishes I had were different from all the other guests at other tables around me.... I was told each night they come up with 120+ dishes and they sprinkle dishes randomly throughout the dining room. Thus it's rare that the food you are having are the same ones that your neighbors are having!! I can't imagine the prep work going into that kind of menu but more power to them! Lastly the petite fours had a nice wit to it. It came in a form of 7 wooden compartment. Each compartment corresponds to a sin. The pictured one (above) correspond to Envy.... because there are two of us and only one gets the chocolate.
In short, I have no problem of recommending this restaurant to any foodies in the world. It is absolutely a destination restaurant and when I go back to San Sebastian, I am definitely going back to Mugaritz.