We had wanted to go to Dos Palillos for a long time. The idea of one of the chefs from the legendary “El Bulli” running a place around the corner from where we live was exciting, to say the least.
Friendly is the word that comes to mind. The waitress had an easy smile and quickly dashed back to the kitchen to fix a hot rock that wasn’t hot enough. Unfortunately, they heated the mussels on the stove, instead of simply reheating the rock, overcooking them.
Very cool. The mussels were especially well presented, with their little crockery pitcher with hot green coconut juice and the hot rock dish sitting in rock salt. The miniature burger (why do so many chefs favor this gimmicky, unappetizing dish?) was cute, but uninspiring and disappeared in one bite. The dim sum looked like, well, dim sum. The postcard with the details of the preparation given at the door is more interesting to see and should be presented with the dish.
Industrial chic. This place is probably fun if you are in town alone and sit at the counter. Otherwise, it left me a bit cold.
Not bad. The shrimp and pancetta dim sum as well as the mussels with Thai spices served in that cool rock bowl were both very tasty. “Close but no cigar” comes to mind. If Dos Palillos did not have the stiff competition of places like Tim Raue and Reinstoff, it might stand out more. You certainly cannot argue with a 22 euro lunch menu that includes coffee. Nonetheless, unlike Tim Raue’s 38 euro lunch menu, it leaves you saying yes to the offer of adding a dish, which adds a bit to the tab. There are no “amuse bouches” and few of the trappings of the high level restaurant this place clearly wants to be. The ingredients are fresh and good quality, the Asian-fusion approach is consistent and clear, and yet it seems to lack that “je ne sais quoi” that makes a restaurant truly original. Perhaps the chef should take out his chemistry set from “El Bulli”.
Spend a little extra and have lunch at Tim Raue or dinner at Reinstoff. They are both significantly better than Dos Palillos. Former El Bulli chefs have done far better at places like Alinea in Chicago, where they have taken the genius of the legendary place one step further rather than abandoning their roots.
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