Thursday, August 4, 2011


After watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation about El Bulli, J and I decided we needed to go to Spain one day and sit through the amazing 50 course meal that Ferran Andria put together. Small tapas dishes which taste absolutely over the top. Sadly to know that El Bulli is now closed and our hope of going there has been teared apart.

But, totally not bummed. I found a place right here in NYC that comes just as close to El Bulli as possible and I took my boyfriend their for his birthday. Degustation is literally a tapas bar that serves small but extremely flavorful dishes. The flavors that are incorporated into a dish is enough to surprise you.

We both chose to do the 10-course tasting menu (yes, I know we're pigs). Actually,  we are extremely greedy when it comes to food. The following will be photos of the 10-courses and a special add-on surprise. I'll try to explain the most that I can since half the dishes from the 10-course wasn't on the menu. And let me tell you this, each dish has so many components it would make your head spin.

A small menu with spectacular dishes.

The appetizer dish. I really don't remember what was the item on the left but it sure does look like an oreo and taste nothing like it. The middle is a Spanish Tortilla with quail egg, total bliss right there. On the right is a ball, which is fried and the interior was really soft, the texture tasted like mashed taro.

Course #1 - Oyster, Egg White Foam
So light and amazing. The egg white brought out the flavor of the oyster.

Course #2
As you can tell, I don't recall the name or what was in this dish. Shame on me! One thing I can tell you, the red/pinkish balls in the middle taste a lot like cream cheese.

Course #3 - Coconut, garlic broth, sweetened cherry
A really nice soup. I actually ate my cherry too fast but it tasted so good with the milky soup. If I ever encounter this again, I'm dunking that cherry in the soup and mixing it because the flavor is superb.

Course #4 - Fried squid, egg whip, brioche toast, pepper flakes
One of my favorite dishes. I love anything fried and J wouldn't have agreed more. This was a crazy tease because the dish was so perfect.

Course #5 - Spinach ravioli, fava beans, shallots and razor clams
I was actually scouting around for the razor clams, I love seafood! But all I find was diced little pieces of it. I mean, I'm not totally disappointed. The ravioli were good, I just wished the fava beans were cooked a bit longer...

Course #6 - Egg mousse, crushed bacon
I've seen this dish everywhere. Always wonder what it was, apparently there's no egg in this egg mousse. It's a garlic infused cream with a stock broth underneath. I can't recall exactly what kind of broth but it was so good. And the spoon was just so cute with the egg shell!

Course #7 - Sturgeon, tapioca pearls, sea beans
Oh lord. I've never love fish this much before. The sturgeon was poached and served in its own broth! I didn't want this to end. The texture of the sturgeon was meaty and bouncy at the same time, heaven!

Course #8 - Flank, grilled vegetables, mustard sauce
It always make me do a double take when I see such a small piece of meat. I mean, I ask myself is it really good? It better be good since it's just a small piece! And of course, it tasted so darn good. Oh, I also never seen such a small eggplant before. Cuteness x100!

Interlude - Rabbit loin, cod belly risotto
Because we're greedy and after seeing dishes before served, and knowing the 8th course was our savory course, we quickly put down one more dish for ourselves. J saw this and was totally intrigued by it. The risotto was absolutely decadent and filled with immense flavor.

Interlude - Dogfish, red cabbage yogurt, corn
I wondered what dogfish was, and plus it was fried so why not?! I was thinking to myself, dogfish eh? Is it anything like catfish? What's with these weird names for fishes...
The fish was really good. Lightly fried and not oily at all. It was also nicely seasoned with lemon.

Course #9 - Yogurt, shaved ice
Our pre-dessert, I liked how the yogurt was just room temperature and the red top part counter-acted that. Amazing.

Course #10 - Caramelized Torija
This officially became my most loved dessert of all times!
A crispy sweet shell on top that was caramelized with a blow torch, and the interior was just unexplainable. It was light, fluffy, chewy, soft, sweet, bouncy... so many different textures. So stinking good!

So, I've developed a passion with this place. I mean, it is good. If you watch Anthony Bourdain and understand the gastronomy in food, then you ought to come here. It's definitely a quality over quantity kind of food and you need to appreciate food to be able to appreciate a place like Degustation.

239 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-1012

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