Food as Art: La Terraza

Restaurant: La Terraza

Location: Madrid Spain

Date: June 29, 2010

Cuisine: Molecular Spanish Gastronomy

Rating: Fantastic!

 

We spent the month of June in Spain and this included a legion of fantastic meals. Recently I covered a traditional Spanish place (REVIEW HERE), but La Terraza is radical modern Molecular Gastronomy, similar to the stellar Calima (REVIEW HERE), or LA’s — believe it or not — more restrained Bazaar (REVIEW HERE). Modern Spanish was reinvented at El Bulli in the Northeast corner of Spain. As we weren’t exactly in the vicinity, and didn’t have the impossible to get reservation, we had to make due with La Terraza whose chef, Paco Roncero, cooked at El Bulli for years. In fact, there is still some form of association.

A special cart prepares signature liquid nitrogen cocktails.

“Passion, mint, and coffee, nitro.” The frozen drink is shoved back into the passionfruit. The combo sounds weird, but it was delicious. I love passionfruit.


The menu. This is the “regular” tasting menu. They also customized a vegetarian and fish version for my wife.

Parker gives this 94. “Clos Mogador is produced by the esteemed Rene Barbier who has hit homeruns in both 2003 and 2004. For starters, the 2003 Clos Mogador, a dark ruby/purple-colored wine, offers an impressive nose of toast and smoke, earth, charcoal, and blue fruits. It is dense, layered, and very concentrated with the structure for 6-8 years of additional bottle age.”

The all white decor was pretty cool — shoved in here in a 19th century casino.

We begin with a whole series of amuses. This is “Olive Oil Butter.” A little crisp is filled with clover.

Then the butter is squeezed out of the little tube and then enjoyed.

“Polenta crisps.” A little like corn puffs.

“Popcorn nutty cake” and “Meringued Peanut.”  The cake had a texture like dust, but it tasted like popcorn! The peanut tasted like peanut butter, but the texture was… well… meringue.

“Cut of Parmesan.” The outside was light and crunchy, the center had texture like ice cream, but the flavor of Parmesan. Fun and delicious. As you can tell from  these playful amuses, a common characteristic of this cuisine is the playful interplay of unexpected textures and flavors.

“Cod Kokotxas in pil-pil.”

“Liquid ham croquet.” The ham and cheese croquet is a classic Spanish dish. This deconstructed version is a ham and cheese sphere with bready crumbles. The cheese popped in the mouth.

This is one of vegetarian substitutions. “Deconstructed Waldorf Salad.”

Check out the insides.

“Scallops, beetroot, and yogurt.” The beet is in sorbet form.

“Salmon marinated in miso with cucumber, pineapple, and fennel salad.” This has a relationship perhaps to the Nobu “miso marinated cod.”

One of the special substitutions, a fish with mushrooms.

“Oyster tartar.” Raw marinated oyster bits with a little pile of foam.”

The substitution. A bit of fish with a vegetable risotto.

“Extruded fois gras ‘noodles’ with green apple sorbet.” As fois gras is typically served with apples this is a rather unusual variant. The fois seems to have been deep frozen with nitro and extruded into little noodle like shapes. Fois is always tasty.

“Pesto Gnocchis and baby squids.” Very interesting mix of textures and flavors.

Afterward, it resembles modern art.

“Asparagus tips, almond soup, crayfish, and summer truffle.”

The almond soup. The soup is traditional. You can see the white asparagus tips. This was a really nice dish.

“Grouper with green bean cream.”

A different fish with cucumber “noodles.”

“Waygu with Iberian pork ravioli.” Rich and meaty!

“Violet, ‘madrorflo,’ strawberries and aniseed.” The red dust like stuff was like frozen sweet strawberry dust.

“Olive and citric ravioli with frozen chocolate dust.”

“Liquid bailies bombo.”

“Peach Palet,” “Alter eight tile,” and “Air biscuit.”

Spain won the world cup semi-final and the streets went crazy with honking cars.

9 comments on “Food as Art: La Terraza

  1. […] you are interested in this kind of cuisine, also check out my reviews of La Terraza or The […]

  2. kevinEats says:

    In your work of “modern art,” what were those three little cuboids that you left behind?

    • agavin says:

      Just some chunks of regular raw tomato. I can’t eat tomato if it’s totally raw, one of the few things in the world I don’t eat. There is some protein that denatures on cooking in tomato that I have a very strong aversion too. I love it cooked. Go figure.

  3. […] eaten molecular a number of times in Spain, for example at Calima and La Terraza. The Bazaar and Saam brought molecular style to LA, and now Jose also has a new and very tempting […]

  4. […] Vu is a new place in Marina Del Rey. While I lived there in 1997-1998 MDR was a bit of a culinary wasteland. It hasn’t exactly had a renaissance, but it is improving, and Vu is certainly an example of that. This place is nicely situated along the Marina with good views — sort of oddly tucked into the ground floor of some apartment or office building — and it’s got very novel and even somewhat molecular food. There’s a lot of ambition here on the menu, and I give them an A for effort. But they need to tune it up a bit to rich the heights possible with this sort of cuisine. In LA, the current molecular champ (and there aren’t many contenders) is The Bazaar, and it’s tasting room Saam. This type of cuisine originated in Spain, and you can see some native examples HERE or HERE. […]

  5. […] This was a fantastic dinner. I happen to love the playful nature of modern molecular cuisine, which you can also see at my reviews of Calima, Saam, and La Terraza. […]

  6. […] Then turbot and veggies in butter sauce. It is also worth illustrating the example of finished plate art in concert with one of last years at La Terrazza. […]

  7. […] of modern Spanish cooking. But you can find some other examples here and in Spain. Calima, La Terraza, his own The Bazaar, Trés, […]

  8. […] eaten molecular a number of times in Spain, for example at Calima and La Terraza. The Bazaar and Saam brought molecular style to […]

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