JOSE ANDRES’ THE BAZAAR
I’ve been privileged to savor the wonder that is molecular gastronomy done right, whether it be at Alinea, Baume or even the creativity of Coi. In visiting The Bazaar at the SLS Beverly Hills Hotel, I arrived with tempered expectations but left wowed. From DC/Spanish chef genius, Jose Andres, the meal is a wonderland of inventiveness that never commits the cardinal sin of molecular cooking: all style, no substance (or flavor).
One after another, his stellar (if tiny) dishes parade out, adding up to a big bill, though each item may only cost around $10. As opposed to astronomical, fixed price tasting menus at all other molecular restaurants, one of many things I love about The Bazaar is that you order a la carte, even in the bar, as much or as little as you wish. If I lived nearby, I’d try a new bite or two regularly, eventually working my way through the entire menu. This is now my all-around favorite LA restaurant.
The space is stunning, Alice-in-Wonderland eclectic but with a classy bent. It could easily be gimmicky, but it works – and I appreciate getting a ‘show’ in setting as well as food for my money. Moving from the general dining room, through a chic bar to the museum-like dessert area, is all part of a drama that works…
For a cocktail hound like myself, one of the many joys here is that cocktails are equally inventive: whether it’s a margarita with salt foam instead of a rim (I wish all margaritas could be this balanced: salt permeates, but never dominates, every part) or a liquid nitrogen caipirinha prepared tableside, you’ll experience classic cocktails in ways you’ve never had them before.
There is a menu of “traditional” Spanish tapas, including a top-notch Spanish meat and cheese selection, but I stuck to “modern” tapas as this is what you can’t get elsewhere.
Since half the joy here is the work of art inherent in each course, I will let my photos do the talking, urging you to dream of what intense flavors and unexpected tastes could surprise from each plate. Better yet, make sure you visit next time you’re in LA, whether for a couple bites or a full evening extravaganza… bring a sense of adventure and wonder.