The Bazaar, a vibrant mix of sophisticated cuisine by Chef José Andrés.
Dining at The Bazaar is a luxurious and indulgent experience.
Expensive? Yes. Worth it? You bet your Butifarra it is!
My most recent visit to The Bazaar was my third time at the restaurant. Each trip providing me with a different foodie fantasy. All while keeping up with certain expectations like impeccable, attentive service; a stellar wine list and an innovative menu with mad scientist flare!
DineLA offers special menus at various restaurants around Los Angeles. The previous week I dined at Akasha. Read all about it here. When I found out that The Bazaar was hosting an Exclusive Dinner Series consisting of a thirteen course tasting menu for dineLA. I jumped at the chance to return to José Andrés’s culinary laboratory.
We arrived at the SLS hotel in Beverly Hills and were quickly seated at our table in the main dining room. Before our server, Queenie could begin to tell us all about the dineLA option, we stopped her. Yes. That is why we are here! But first cocktails. The Bazaar is known for it’s innovative cocktails as much as it’s gourmet food. I usually get The Ultimate Gin & Tonic. A Bombay Sapphire Gin and Fever Tree Tonic creation with floating aromatics and a large ice sphere. But today I decided to try something different. The LN2 Caipirinha is Brazilian cachaca, fresh lime and sugar frozen by using liquid nitrogen, all prepared table-side.
A little pre-dinner entertainment before our meal.
My dining companions ordered Gopalitos, comprised of gin, amontillado Sherry, lemon, sudachi, honey, ginger, sesame. And, the Blurred Borders, a tequila cocktail with serrano pepper, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe and cedar wood smoke.
**Now let’s eat!**
The best part of this particular style of tasting menu is that there are no options. You don’t choose one appetizer, then an entree. You just say yes and the food starts flowing. You are at the mercy and whim of the chef. Believe me, you are in good hands.
The meal began with a glass of Cava and Cheese Tarts filled with sweet onion jam.
Next up a Fermín Emuitdos platter with a selection of dry cured meats, followed by Gazpacho. Yes, that is the world’s tiniest crouton balanced on the cherry tomato.
The menu started off light and refreshing with a definitive pace.
There is nothing more classically decadent then Sturgeon Caviar and crème fraîche. It just oozes gourmet elegance. But this is José Andrés’s place. No bland biscuits here. Nope! This deliciousness was served on a steamed bun with lemon air. A perfect pop-in-your-mouth one bite wonder.
The next few courses were some of my favorites. A Peruvian ceviche with hamachi and crisp jicama. A mushroom ramen with delicate quail egg and a broth way more complex than it’s color would suggest. Then Rossejat Negra, paella style pasta with squid ink, sepia sofrito and shrimp. Honestly, you had me at squid ink. I love the slightly salty-briny flavor in any pasta dish. But of course, here at The Bazaar it was elevated and sophisticated.
At this point we politely asked our server to slow down. The food was coming out at a rapid pace. In fact we still had our ramen dish in front of us when the pasta was served. No problem they said. We were in no rush, and wanted to savor the experience. We also needed a wine list. We picked out a couple whites that intrigued our table, but needed a little guidance. The sommelier was happy to suggest an interesting dry white wine from Spain that suited both our palate and our price point. So glad we took his advice. It matched perfectly with our current plates as well as those that followed.
Chicken Croquettes, Butifarra (pork sausage and fava beans) and Papas Canarias rounded out the next few courses. The croquettes were filled with a gooey bechamel. Crispy and not the least bit greasy. The pork had the pop of natural casing as you bit into each succulent sausage. And those wrinkly salted potatoes may look harmless but the red and green dipping sauces packed a punch!
**Alright, my fellow carnivores. Time for red meat!**
I love beef cheeks. Not only is it one of the most delicate cuts of beef, but also my favorite. Honestly, I get so excited when I see it on a menu. Tonight’s beef cheeks were made from Wagyu beef! (BRB. Must wipe the excess drool from my keyboard.)
Okay, now I’m getting full. Like seriously full. I’m starting to think the servers keep the pace quick so you don’t have time to get realize your getting stuffed. Or maybe the heavier meat courses could have come before the fish courses. But I refuse to stop eating. There are only a few more courses left and it all tastes so good, I can’t stop now.
The final course before the dessert courses, yes plural. Was one of the most surprising combos of the night. Baby Japanese peaches (those are not green olives pictured below) with burrata and hazelnuts. I’ve had grilled peaches with buffalo mozzarella before but the flavor of the Japanese peach is like nothing I’ve tasted. Our table was split, if you liked it, you loved it, if you didn’t, well…you didn’t eat more than a bite.
The Bazaar is divided into a few dining areas. The main dining room, the dessert bar, the ‘bar’ bar, and the lounge. Each time I’ve dined here the server always asks if we would like to eat our dessert in the lounge. If you go here, say yes! One it’s a nice change of scenery. Two, as a former server myself, I can tell you it helps them flip tables faster on a busy night. But most importantly it gives you and your companions a more intimate dessert experience to end your night. They lounge area has low tables (think coffee-table) with different size benches, tufted stools and armchairs straight out of Alice in Wonderland. It’s charming and the perfect place to sip coffee or tea and satiate that sweet tooth.
The dessert courses were traditional Spanish Flan and a white chocolate and sour cherry confection shaped like an actually cherry. Complete with dark chocolate stem.
Okay, I’m done. As in I will still be stuffed by tomorrow’s breakfast kind of done. Obviously this is not the type of dining experience one can have every week. My stomach and wallet couldn’t take it.
For me, luxuriating in foodie fantasies is the epitome of splurging on a perfect night.
dineLA may be done but The Bazaar has much to offer all year. Visit their website to salivate over the current menu. Check out their cocktail flights if you can’t make up your mind. Read about their special events like Mediterranean Night or Cigar Night. Or simply book a reservation and prepare to be wowed.