I have had Jose Andres’ food at Cafe Atlantico in Washington DC, unfortunately not at the mini bar, but his American dim sum brunch.
We waited a bit for the buzz to die down before trying Jose Andres food at the Bazaar in the SLS hotel. Let’s just say the buzz is still there. Joseph Sabato, the manager, said they did 350 covers on Friday and expected about the same on Saturday. The bar has become somewhat of a scene and they have instructed the valets to stop taking cars after 9:30. Jose Andres wants a restaurant, not a club, but that might be an uphill battle in Los Angeles. The early crowd was more food-focused, but the later it got the crowd grew younger, loud and food seemed to be secondary to scene. Also, most of the tables were groups of 6 – very hard for a kitchen to deliver food in a timely matter, particularly when you are serving numerous tapas style dishes. (In fact the servers punch in their orders directly to the kitchen as they take your order).
In terms of service, the FOH was terrific. Lucas Paya, Beverage Director is from ThinkFood Group, Jose Andre’s team out of DC. He worked at El Bulli starting in 2002 (we missed him by a year) and is knowledgeable as well as charming. Our server, Heidi Elizabeth was very good as well as enthusiastic. She had tasted the dishes and was excellent at detailed explanations. Everyone who brought food to the table appeared to have been trained in how to describe the dishes.
We brought our own wines.
NV or some say Multi-vintage Krug Champagne–wonderful as always, clean, crisp, delicious. I would have it all the time if it was affordable.
2004 Wm. Fevre Chablis Le Clos–probably the best vineyard in Chablis. We love the Dauvasset and Raveneau from the same vineyard. It drank perfectly and was a very good pairing with most of the food. Yes, we might have had some red [Spanish preferred] with the Philly Cheese Steak, but at $30.00 per bottle corkage it is not a good idea to have too many bottles.
Caviar Cone – brik pastry cone filled with cauliflower creme fraiche puree and topped with coast of Maine caviar – good, but I am not sure I would re-order these at $10 a piece.
Cottton Candy Foie Gras – absolutely spectacular – foie gras terrine was rolled in corn nuts and then wrapped” in vanilla cotton candy
Special forks were provided for the the tapas. Also note the wine glass used for the white wine.
Close-up of forks
The next dish was presented in this tin. The menu states that “canning was invented in 1810 in france by Mr Nicolas Appert. Spain adopted this technique and today is known for producing the best canned products in the world. Here at SLS, we make them in house daily.”
Fresh Kumamoto oysters, lemon, black pepper – absolutely delicious
Octopus terrine with potato, airy mayonnaise, sorrel – another A+ winner
Japanese taco – grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi wrapped in thinly sliced jicama and topped with black sesame seeds and chicharron (the skin of the pork seasoned and deep fried) - this was very reminiscent of a sushi bar eel roll, but with a Spanish twist.
Tortilla de patataas, new way – warm potato foam, caramelized onion with a slow cooked egg 63 and topped with baby croutons – an ode to comfort food
Philly Cheesesteak – air bread filled with oozing cheese and topped with Kobe beef – I could have eaten 3 of these – absolutely perfect and a must order
Inside of the bread
Uni in a Bao – this was the only loser of the night – the bun was horrible and the dish just didn’t work. To the restaurant’s credit, they took this off our bill.
I would definitely go back to Bazaar. There were many dishes that I wanted to try the miso linguini, the sea urchin in the can with pipirrana and Andalusian vegetables, the fried squid, the lamb loin just to name a few.
One interesting aspect about Bazaar that Joseph mentioned is that they don’t want people to see Bazaar as a “special occasion” place. They don’t push you to order a huge array of dishes, suggesting 3 or 4 plates per person with most being served family style and meant for sharing. They are trying to get people to select a more random and lower priced package of dishes so they are at $ 60.00 per head without wine/drinks.