The other progenitor of la nueva cocina vasca, Juan Mari Arzak, is based at this modernized family restaurant launched by his grandparents. Arzak grew up in the kitchen, and he has raised co-chef Elena, his daughter, the same way. He and Elena spend at least 1 day a week in their laboratory literally cooking up new dishes and experimenting with novel techniques and presentations. The market dictates the dishes any given day, but apart from chilled raw oysters, don’t expect anything to look like any other food you’ve ever eaten. At our last meal here, we were delighted by a dish where a red liquid was spooned into a tangy clear liquid and spread in fractal patterns. Another dish was enveloped in smoke once the sauce was added. A main dish called “low tide” featured a monkfish fillet in the shape of a monkfish (a bottom-dweller) along with other fish cast as scallop and clam shells, little blue starfish of agar-agar, and “caviar” of spherified pureed red pepper. In other words, you get a lot of gastronomic theater with the meal.
- Frommer's Staff