"I got really bored with cooking because it's been the same forever," Cantu says. "Put a pan on a burner and cook something inside of it. So who says I can't use a laser?"
"A small group (of chefs) is saying, 'Hey, look at what we can do with this stuff,' " adds Achatz, 31. "These chefs are looking at the dining experience on a broader scale with the objective of crafting an experience rather than crafting a dinner. While dishes are supposed to taste good, a larger part of their enjoyment comes from emotional triggers like humor or surprise or intimidation."
USA Today covers the newly popular science dining, and mentions DC's own MiniBar several times. I tried MiniBar's weirdly juxtaposed flavors last May, and it was far and away my favorite dining experience. I have a thing for food adventure, but was additionally delighted each time a new choreographed course arrived and turned out more delicious than average food. Gastronomic theatre gets a thumbs up from this camp. Eating out has always been as much about entertainment as food quality, and the more innovative the chefs get, the better for me to try them out.
From the article, it looks like Chicago is paving the way with Moto, Alinea, and Avenues sharing the Windy City's extreme eaters.
We're lucky to have a taste of this here in DC, but the name is more than appropriate because MiniBar has only 6 seats. This detail makes it feel special while you're there, but making a reservation can try your patience. I've seen Sietsema encouraging them in his AskTom chats to serve more at a time.