Degustation is a polarizing place. You either love it, or you hate it like it said something mean about your sister. That's usually a bad sign when it comes to restaurants - an indication of inconsistency or fickle concept. But the concept at Degustation is pretty straightforward. It's an inventive, high-end Spanish food experience in the vein of what's made José Andrés a famous man, despite the fact that he sounds like a cartoon bull fighter when he talks.
So then logic would follow that inconsistency is what's causing all those differing opinions on Degustation. And from our perspective, that's absolutely true. That and the fact that the ten course tasting menu ($75) is the only way you get treated with any respect in this place. The five course tasting ($50) is an exercise in eating all of the cheapest things on the menu, and ordering a la carte will pretty much get you thrown out of the restaurant. Add in a staff that's cold and inattentive, and you end up with a scenario where the food better be incredible or you're gonna be pissed. Unfortunately, it's not. Or maybe the food is incredible, but the execution is so poor that you don't even notice. On our last visit we sat at the open kitchen watching the staff go from bored to completely frenzied every four minutes or so. You shouldn't pace a tasting menu by firing my next course just in time for me to forget the one I just ate.
For us, it really comes down to the fact that spending this kind of money should mean consistency. I either want a celebrity chef with broken English cooking my food, or I want to roll into Casa Mono and drop dollars on a meal that I know is going to be incredible. And if I'm really dying to hit a serious tasting menu, I'll leave it to two dudes behind the counter at Momofuku Ko to make my head spin. This place I can do without.
Squab with Dirty Rice
Some nicely cooked pieces of bird, atop a skillet of decent dirty rice, or not-so-crunchy paella. We liked, but we didn't love.Some Kind of White Fish
I honestly can't remember what this fish was, but it very well could have been bass. The reason I can't remember is that I had to wait fifteen minutes between courses to get it, and then the girl at the counter put it in front of us like we didn't deserve it. There were some tapioca balls in there, which made it unique, but not more delicious.Pork Belly
A fan favorite, and one that you won't get unless you order the ten course tasting menu. Choose wisely.Carmelized Torija
The best thing we've had at Degustation comes during dessert. This thing is like the perfect marriage of crème brulee and bread pudding, and we'd eat it by the wheelbarrow if we could. Amazing.
A tasty plate of sardines, but you better be down with sardines. If you're averse to any fishy taste on your fish, you're gonna need to pass on this one.