The Bazaar by Jose Andres was something I had been looking forward to all week long. Located in the SLS Hotel, the appearance from outside of Bazaar is a bit unassuming. Yet when I opened the door I was impressed by the funky Phillipe Starck designed interiors. The bar area offered baroque style oversized seats and a dividing wall with high arches that gave way to the dining area where brilliant chandeliers are set high enough to create a relaxed mood.
Normally I turn away from specialty cocktails when wine is available however the “new way dirty martini” was too good looking to pass up. I looked over the menu at the parade of tapas and decided the best choice would be to go with the tasting menu which consisted of highlights from the menu. The anticipation was building as our bright and enthusiastic waitress Lauren brought out the first installment. A small plate offered a brown bag of chips along with a yoghurt dip with olive oil and balsamic reduction drizzled on top. I couldn’t stop eating this starter until I realized the next plate was up. It was time for the Olives “Traditional” and “Modern”. The modern featured an olive stuffed with a salty anchovy and pimento, bonded together by a toothpick. This toothpick bonded treat was far from tiny in terms of taste. The “modern” olive consisted of a ball that resembled a jelly ball and upon entering the mouth offered an explosion of taste.
At this point I knew two types of Spanish carne were coming next and from what I had seen up to this point, I was excited for the chef to raise the stakes. Out came a Beef hanger steak with piquillo pepper confit and natural jus. I took a small bite not even waiting for the pepper to cool. There is something so magnificent about a hanger; it was almost as soft as the natural jus and infused with the flavor of the smoky bacon. If you go to the Bazaar for one thing….well you’ll end up with more than several, but if you go there with the intention of ordering just one thing -this is it! Croquetas de Jamon came next and made a claim to unseat the last dish as my favorite. These perfectly browned fritters were filled with cubed Spanish ham and a creamy béchamel sauce that made me thankful for the French crossing the Pyrenees. The foie gras…Where do I start? The foie gras consisted of a cotton candy on a stick which you eat to get into the foie. I would say this was one of the most unique tapas plates I have ever had.
With the level of authenticity high enough to stamp my passport, I wondered what desert would be like. I was lead away and out of the kitchen on to the “Patisserrie” bar. It felt like a scene out of Charlie and the Chocolate factory. The pastries and deserts looked so pretty that it almost feels like you don’t want to eat it. I started with a few delightful sugary petite fours. The Crema Catalana was like a crème brule, but thicker than the traditional custard. The rice pudding was sweet and had just the right amount of cinnamon. The vanilla ice cream was far from plain and tasted as if it were made on site. Of the four, my favorite was the chocolate tart in raspberry coulis. This flourless cake was so thick and decadent with freshly whipped cream and lively with the addition of the seedless raspberry puree. Do not pass up this place, although the prices are expensive for tapas you will not be eating simple tapas but rather the works of art of famed chef Jose Andres.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres
S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048