One of the more contentious arguments in the world of cuisine today involves the value of what has been called molecular cuisine, or avant-garde cooking. Freezing things with liquid nitrogen, creating flavored foams and encasing liquids in gels made of sodium alginate and calcium chloride delights some of us and makes other food lovers apoplectic with rage.
I had a perfect opportunity to get some perspective on this from a diner's standpoint. This past Friday in Washington, D.C., I visited Minibar by José Andrés for a succession of 28 tiny servings that use these modern techniques liberally. The next night I tried Plume at the Jefferson, an impressive bastion of traditional French dining helmed by chef Damon Gordon.
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