While he already has an impressive portfolio of restaurants (that includes the two-Michelin-starred Minibar in D.C.), José Andrés's latest opening just might be his most ambitious project of all.
Somni, which translates to "dream" in Catalan, is a concept that's been five years in the making for both Andrés and the creative director of Think Food Group, Aitor Zabala. The duo are describing the space inside the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills as a "stimulating culinary journey" versus a normal restaurant.
It's why guests will instead walk into a 10-seat exhibition kitchen (spearheaded by Zabala), where they'll encounter just as many chefs as there are place settings. Throughout the 20-plus-course meal, diners will be encouraged to interact with the cooks plating each dish, which can range from "uni and Parmesan papyrus" to a modernist take on pan con tomate. Both wine (ranging from "unique" to "prized" to "vintage" varietals) and nonalcoholic pairings (house-made tinctures designed to mimic the flavor profiles and experiences of real wines) are also available.
"We want to explore, to honor tradition, but also to break the rules," Andrés says. "Somni will be a space where guests will want to linger and explore along with the chefs—really anything can happen here!”
But even guests staying in the hotel will have a difficult time just walking in during a Saturday service. A $235 seat can be grabbed only through Tock, with May's round of tickets going on sale April 2.
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