December 8, 2010

The Bazaar by José Andrés, Los Angeles

When Bazaar by José Andrés opened in 2008, it immediately made it to my list of restaurants to try. Two years later, I finally made it to the SLS Hotel to experience the much raved about Bazaar. Like many have wrote about, the restaurant has a very heterogeneous feel. With large art works of monkeys throughout the restaurant and a glass case filled with multicolored teddy bears, diners will be surprised at they might see at the restaurant.

There are several themed dining areas in the restaurant and our host seated us in the Rojo Y Blanca room. A very good looking waiter arrived shortly after we sat down to take our drink orders. My dining companion does not drink alcohol and I decided to pass on the cocktails. He left to give us a few minutes to look at the menu and decide. The menu is broken up into two section: traditional and modern tapas. We both decided to order from the modern portion of the menu.

Cotton Candy Foie Gras
5 per person

We started with the much talked about cotton candy foie gras and it did not disappoint. The fluffy cotton candy melted on contact and the sweetness provided a nice contrast to the saltiness and fatness of the foie gras.

Olives modern and traditional

A well dressed gentleman arrived with a glass jar filled with modern olives. He set the jar on our table and scooped out four delicate olive spheres. The modern olives had a soft shell when broken released an intense olive juice that was tasty and playful. The traditional olives were firm and slightly salty. A nice reminder of the texture and flavor of olives in its original form.

Sea Urchin avocado, steamed buns

Each order contained three tiny steamed buns filled with thin slices of avocado and a piece of sea urchin. Unfortunately, the flavor of the sea urchin was lost in the dense and generous portion of steamed buns.

Bunuelos codfish fritters, honey aioli

These cod fritters were light, flavorful and did not taste greasy at all. The honey aioli provided a welcomed sweetness to the fish.

Not your everyday caprese cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella

Definitely not the every day caprese salad and one of the most delicious dishes of the evening. After taking a bite with everyone component of the salad I realized why this restaurant was so beloved. Each ingredient shined and the liquid mozzarella tied everything together.

Japanese Taco grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron

These small tacos were very disappointing and the most regrettable dish of the evening. The flavors were muddled and eel tasted flat. The textures and flavors of this dish just did not work well together.

"Philly Cheesesteak" Air bread, cheddar, waygu beef
8 each

Luckily, we ended the evening on a high note with the restaurant's creative version of a Philly cheesesteak. The crispy air bread is filled with cheddar cheese that flows like lava after the first bite. Surprisingly the beef flavor was not lost in this dish. Tender, flavorful, juicy, crispy, rich, creative and fun are just a few words to describe this amazing dish.

Overall, the food at Bazaar was an entertaining adventure with a few distractions along the way. The highlights were the cotton candy foie gras, caprese salad and Philly cheesesteak all of which I would gladly order again on my next visit. The huge downfall of Bazaar is the service. The staff appears to be stretched thin and the kitchen seems to be short of serving plates. For restaurants like Bazaar, service is part of the dining experience and lack there of can really take away from the great food. Several people have since told me that dinner is not the best time to go for good service. It seems that others are experiencing the issue of poor service and hopefully the management at Bazaar can address this. If the stars were based on food alone, it would be much higher.

The Bazaar
Inside the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Valet is available for $12 and can be added to the check.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Caution! - Petty theft is thriving here!!

I actually used to enjoy coming here mostly for great food. Until the
night my purse was stolen from my table, by someone who was sitting
next to us with his group of friends. The security camera was right
above us. However, management refused to show me the tape, call the
police asap and try to track this person down via the credit card that
his table paid with. They were uncooperative and plainly uninterested
in resolving this issue and in helping me getting my property back --
my phone with all my contacts, different ID's, some cash and the keys
to my place. you can imagine of time and money I now have to spend to
try and renew all those things, however most of the business contacts
and information are forever lost. In 30-40 minutes after my property
was stolen I was forced to raise my voice several times to try to get
their attention, BEGGING them to call the police so the report can be
made and show me the tape from the camera. Well, guess what? They did
call cops, but on ME!! What????!!! Are you kidding me?! I'm the victim
here, not the criminal!!! In all this time they could have already
gotten this guys info from his or his friends payment info -- it was a
table of 4 or 5 guys not just one guy, call the police, make the
report and maybe help young girl who now has to break her door down or
at least call a locksmith for me, I mean something, right? But, I keep
forgetting that in the REAL world things are not so simple. So at the
end I did get that yellow paper that's called a "police report" in
which the following was written -- Suspect has taken the property and
fled into unknown direction... I guess folks, that's all I will ever
hear.. oh and I was told I was not allowed on premises anymore. I was
what?? Outraged?! You damn right I was! Wouldn't you be? and I guess I
should frame this yellow "glory paper" so it can remind me of the
"Protect and to serve" bitter sweet sentence.

Anyway, guys enjoy the food and hold on to your bags and your "rights"
, but you have to be aware of the fact that the second thing that
you're holding on to so tightly is only an illusion...

Bon Appetit!