It may be all about farm-to-table and organic eats in the U.S. but in Latin America, where wholesome ingredients aren’t a similar novelty, the focus of fine dining is different. Presentation and pomp take on greater significance and places such as Elcielo, a Colombian import that specializes in molecular gastronomy and over-the-top dishes designed to trigger the senses. Meals here are coursed by moments, because not everything that reaches your table is edible—some courses are intended to arouse the palate while others are meant to spark curiosity. One of Elcielo’s most talked about moments is the chocolate course: each person is given an oversize bowl and instructed to wash their hands in chocolate (licking your fingers is encouraged). Instead of a regular basket, bread is served atop a fake bark—the bulbous yuca bread baked to resemble a flourishing tree, while coffee is filtered at the table as dry ice blows to look like the fog of Colombia’s mountain ranges. While showy to some, dinner at Elcielo makes the triple-digit tab worth the splurge.
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