Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bazaar (Los Angeles, CA)

The Bazaar
465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Mon 11/17/2008, 08:15p-12:50a

I was first introduced to José Andrés at his mezze eatery Zaytinya in Washington DC. This was several years ago, and ever since then, I'd wanted to try another one of Andrés' restaurants: Minibar at Cafe Atlantico, arguably the most progressive restaurant in the country. Andrés, a discipline of Ferran Adrià, is perhaps best known for his small plates, "avant garde" cuisine, so I was thus very excited to hear than he'd be opening a restaurant right here in LA. The anticipation built for several months, and I made reservations for opening night as soon as I could. I was especially interested in comparing the place to XIV (also owned by SBE), as I attended and reported on that restaurant's opening night a month ago.

Designed by Phillipe Stark, The Bazaar is divided into several distinct areas. The first is Bar Centro, located immediately behind the entrance. The bar/lounge is decorated eclectically, and makes interesting use of the space. The actual bar is located near the back.

While waiting for my entire party to show up, we decided to order a few drinks at the bar. Naturally, I had to go with a mojito [$16.00], replete with a piece of sugar cane (which was nice to chew on). It was an excellent example, well very balanced, with just the right amount of sweet and sour, while being still light and refreshing. I also sampled the "Salt Air" Margarita [$14.00], which was basically a classic margarita topped with salt air (foam). Again, an excellent example, with the air basically serving the exact same function as a salt rim. There were also some sweet "corn nuts" to munch on.

To the right of Bar Centro is the Patisserie, or dessert station. In addition to offering a selection of cakes, candies, and chocolates, the Patisserie also serves up tea and coffee.

Further to the right is the shopping area by Moss, showcasing a wide range of high-end trinkets and baubles.

With my party complete, we were seated in Rojo y Blanca, the main restaurant at The Bazaar. We were seated in "Rojo," one of two dining rooms, and were provided with an excellent view of the kitchen.

The menu focuses on tapas and is similarly divided into "Rojo" and "Blanca" sections, with the former being more traditional and the latter more progressive. As with XIV, our goal was to order "the gamut," or everything on the menu. There were 62 items, and I proposed that we order two of everything on the menu, split amongst six people. Unfortunately, this time we failed by 13 dishes, significantly underestimating the size of the courses. In hindsight, we should've ordered just one of everything (a paradigm which we did move to toward the end of the meal). Click for larger versions.

A small selection of wines is offered. We decided to go with a bottle of the 2006 Marge, Celler de l'Encastell, Garnacha-Carinena, Priorat [$86.00]. I thought the wine was way too young, though it did open up a bit after an hour or so, showing lots of spice, smoke, and earth, with a bit of heat on the finish; not enough fruit though. We were told that eventually, diners would be able to order the wine selections from Bar Centro as well. Click for larger versions.

There aren't a lot of desserts offered at Rojo y Blanca, though the Patisserie does supplement this list considerably. Click for larger versions.

Now, with all the formalities out of the way, we'll delve into each of the 49 dishes I had:

1: Jamón platter [$32.00]
Clockwise from top left, we have: Jamón Ibérico de bellota, Jamón Ibérico, and Jamón Serrano. Jamón Ibérico comes from the Black Iberian Pig, and was, until recently, not available in the US. Jamón Ibérico de bellota is the most prized version, and is made from pigs that eat only acorns during the last periods of their lives. This resulted in the meat being sweeter, nuttier, and fattier than the non bellota version, which had a stronger, "hammier" flavor. This was my first time having Jamón Ibérico and it didn't disappoint. The much more common Jamón Serrano (made from white pigs) was somewhat drier and less fatty, but still delicious.

2: Selection of five cheeses [$25.00]
Served with 'picos,' Spanish crispy bread, quince jam and almonds:
  • Murcia al vino - This was a goat's milk, semi-soft, smooth cheese with a red wine-washed rind from Murcia in southeastern Spain. It had just a hint of fruitiness and nuttiness and was quite nice overall.
  • La Serena - La Serena is made from Merino sheep's milk in La Serena, Spain. It had a soft, creamy consistency, backed by a bitter, almost astringent taste.
  • Manchego 'Pasamontes' - Manchego is a sheep's milk cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain. I found it firm and mild, with just a bit of saltiness.
  • Idiazábal - Idiazábal is a hard, mildly smoky, nutty sheep's milk cheese from the Basque region in Spain. At XIV, I had it paired with bacon.
  • Picón Bejes-Treviso - A creamy, sharp blue made from cow's, goat's, and sheep's milk from Liébana, Cantabria, Spain. A prototypical blue.

3: 'Pa amb' Tomaquet [$8.00]
Toasted sliced rustic bread brushed with fresh tomatoes. This typical preparation of Catalan cuisine was surprisingly tasty, with the tomato adding an interesting contrast to the toasted bread. It was a nice accompaniment for the jamón and cheese.

4: Mussels escabeche [$7.00]
Marinated in olive oil, vinegar and smoked paprika. This was definitely one of the better preparations of mussels I've had, with the marinade adding a spicy, tart kick to the natural flavor of the mollusks. Perfect texture too.

5: King Crab [$16.00]
With raspberry vinegar. The raspberry was initially a bit strange, but turned out quite nicely, with the flavor of the berries pairing well with the crab meat's inherent sweetness.

6: Kumamoto Oysters [$12.00]
With lemon and black pepper. Kumamotos are my favorite type of oyster, and here again, they lived up to their reputation, with the lemon adding a great kick. I will say though that although tasty, these were actually quite similar in taste to the oysters on the half shell that you normally get.

7: Sea Urchin [$16.00]
With pipirrana and Andalusian vegetables. This was my favorite of the canned dishes, and was an exemplary preparation of uni. The sea urchin itself was mild, smooth, and delicious, while the veggies (peppers, tomatoes, onions, etc.) added a fantastic textural contrast. Arguably the best dish of the night.

8: Aceitunas con anchoas y piquillos [$6.00]
Stuffed green olives with piquillo and anchovies. Though advertised as "world's best," these tasted pretty much just like olives. The piquillos didn't add much, and the anchovies were simply not apparent.

9: Carrilleras de cerdo con naranja [$8.00]
Braised pork cheeks with California oranges. Quite nice. The pork was braised, so it was very tender, but the meat still had a bit of bite to it, which I appreciated. The oranges did well to offset the heaviness of the meat.

10: Alitas de pollo [$9.00]
Boneless chicken wings with green olive puree. I liked these. The chicken was extremely juicy and rather fatty, reminding me of almost an Asian-style street food. However, tasting the bird with the included olive puree and greens added layers of complexity to the dish that elevated it above mere fried chicken.

11: Arroz cremoso de setas con queso Idiazábal [$8.00]
Wild mushroom rice with Idiazábal cheese. The rice didn't have that risotto-like texture that I love, but nevertheless, I quite enjoyed this dish and its rich, hearty interplay between rice, earthy mushroom, and smoky cheese. It actually reminded me of the mushroom risotto I had at Café Hiro.

12: Espinacas a la Catalana [$8.00]
Catalan sautéed spinach with apple, pine nuts and raisins. The sweetness hits you first, which is then followed by the bitterness of spinach. A bit strange at first, but then it makes perfect sense. I had a similar Catalan style spinach at Mizuna only days earlier. There, I felt the amalgam was too sweet, but that didn't pose a problem here.

13: Japanese baby peaches [$12.00]
With yogurt and olive oil. The peaches had a lovely sweetness that was deftly set off by the yogurt, an interesting contrast. This looks like it could've been a dessert from Providence!

14: Lomo de buey a la parrilla con piquillos confitados [$12.00]
Seared NY strip with piquillo pepper confit. The meat was aptly cooked and I liked the texture, but the taste somehow seemed off to me; it just lacked the beefiness that I was looking for. The piquillos did work well here though.

15: Mozzarella-tomato pipettes [$8.00]
With micro basil. Interesting presentation here. You first taste the tomato with a hint of basil, then get hit by the mozzarella a second later, resulting in a quasi-insalata caprese experience. Quite a pleasing effect overall.

16: Pimientos del piquillo con queso Caña de Cabra [$9.00]
Seared piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese. Here I noted an initial burst of strong cheesy taste, gradually leading to the much milder flavor of pepper near the finish. Nothing special.

17: Sliced apples and fennel salad [$7.00]
With Manchego cheese, walnuts, olive oil and cava vinegar. I had a really hard time discerning anything else but apple here. There was just too much of it, and it dominated the other flavors. I didn't even know about the cheese and walnuts before reading the menu! With its sharp, cool tartness, this was almost like a palate cleanser.

18: Organized arugula salad [$9.00]
With raspberries, corn and Cabrales blue cheese. The arugula, when eaten alone, had a dry, spicy bitterness that wasn't too pleasant, but adding the cheese didn't help either, as it just overpowered everything else. The corn and raspberries were a tad incoherent.

19: 'Philly cheesesteak' [$7.00]
Air bread filled with cheese and topped with Kobe beef. I loved the lightness of the air bread and how it almost explodes in your mouth, coating it with cheese. Unfortunately, the cheese drowned out the taste of the beef.

20: Ensaladilla Rusa [$7.00]
Classic Spanish salad of potatoes, imported conserved tuna and mayonnaise. The tuna flavor was very strong here, though not unpleasantly so. The dish reminded me of a cross between tuna salad and potato salad. In that vein, I think it would've been better served a bit colder.

21: Lomo de corder con patatas y trufas [$14.00]
Lamb loin with foraged mushrooms and potato. The meat was extremely tender and almost pork-like in nature (one of my dining companions guessed that it was done sous-vide), and served as a base on which the potatoes and mushrooms could come to the fore.

22: Cigalas con algas Finisterrae [$14.00]
Norwegian lobster with seaweed and a soup essence. The seaweed added an extremely briny essence to the dish that tended to overpower the lobster; I wasn't a fan of its texture either. My attention was pretty much drawn to the seaweed and not the lobster.

23: Sautéed cauliflower "couscous" [$9.00]
With cauliflower puree, vegetable harissa broth, preserved lemon and fried quinoa. I'm generally a fan of cauliflower, and I appreciated its creative use here as "couscous." It had a subtle bitterness that contrasted with the sweeter elements of the dish, along with a great mouthfeel. Quite good.

24: Croquetas de pollo [$7.00]
Chicken and béchamel fritters. The unique amalgam of chicken and béchamel gave the croquettes a lovely golden brown exterior hiding a warm, creamy center. It was akin to a chicken pot pie, and I rather liked it.

25: Artichokes and citrus salad [$9.00]
With orange blossom dressing and pomegranate. I found the citrus jarring, and not at all integrated with the artichoke, which was just bland. This was disjointed to say the least, a mismatched mishmash and one of the weakest dishes of the night.

26: Ajo blanco gelatin [$8.00]
With tomato granité. Also competing for the title of worst dish of the night was this strange amalgamation. Ajo blanco is a type soup traditionally made from bread, olive oil, vinegar, water, garlic, and almonds. Sounds pretty good on its own, but here the interplay of savory and sweet elements just didn't work out. The jarring coldness of the granité didn't help either. Like an experiment gone wrong at Alinea.

27: Seared cantaloupe [$7.00]
With arugula and grapefruit salad. I've never had seared cantaloupe before, but I must say that the cooking process intensified the natural flavor of the fruit and gave it a rich heaviness that stood in stark contrast to the grapefruit. Surprisingly nice.

28: Brussel sprout salad [$8.00]
With lemon puree, apricot preserves and lemon air. Having found a new appreciation for Brussels sprouts just days earlier at Ford's Filling Station, I rather liked the salad. The sprouts had a great crunchiness along with their signature bitterness, which was subsequently cut by the use of lemon and apricot.

29: Olives Ferran Adrià [$10.00]
Liquid 'olives'. A nod to his former teacher, the "olives" consisted of an olive flavored liquid encased in a thin membrane. I'm not sure what the hype is all about, it tasted like an olive, nothing more.

30: Traditional Ottoman carrot fritters [$7.00]
With pistachio sauce. The fritters had a decidedly "Indian" taste to them, which I rather enjoyed. I also appreciated their texture, which was not unlike that of a hash brown. Nice!

31: Stewed baby carrots [$8.00]
With coconut sorbet and ginger. The sorbet by itself was superb, with a rich taste of coconut backed by a lovely cool creaminess. The carrots were also quite tasty by themselves. But when eaten as a whole, the dish just fell apart for me, with its quasi-Thai flavor.

32: Taylor Bay scallops [$10.00]
With beet nitro, pistachios and arugula. All I could taste was the sweetness of the beets and berries, locked in some sort of frozen mass. Were there even scallops here? Could've fooled me!

33: Watermelon tomato skewers [$15.00]
With Pedro Ximénez reduction and sexy tomato seeds. Yes, the tomato seeds are actually described as "sexy" on the menu. But sexy or not, this was damn good. The tartness of the tomato formed the perfect foil for the watermelon, and the whole mélange was ridiculously juicy to boot.

34: Warm leek salad [$8.00]
With goat cheese and lemon dressing. I don't recall the particulars about this dish, but I do remember that I didn't care for it. The table agreed with me, and these were left largely untouched.

35: Japanese eggplant [$8.00]
With soy sauce-miso glaze and yogurt. Continuing the trend from the previous dish, this was pretty awful. I'm not sure what else to say. I don't think it had a single redeeming quality. Sorry.

36: Papas Islas Canarias [$8.00]
Salty wrinkled potatoes with "mojo verde." The potatoes were delightfully salty and very delicious on their own, with an absolutely lovely texture. They were even tastier when dipped in the piquant mojo sauce. Simple, yet effective, this was one of the highlights for me.

37: Traditional tzatziki [$7.00]
Diced cucumbers, garlic, dill and yogurt, served with pita chips. A very straightforward preparation of tzatziki, this would've been a great starter, but just seemed out of place at this point in the meal. Nothing wrong with it though.

38: Pisto Manchego con flor de calabaza [$9.00]
Sautéed peppers, zucchini, onions, eggplant and tomatoes with squash blossoms and egg. Here we have basically a medley of sautéed vegetables, decent on their own, but made much better by the unifying presence of the soft boiled egg.

39: Tortilla de patatas 'al momento' [$7.00]
Classic potato omelet prepared at the moment. I actually quite liked the flavor of this course, but its soft, creamy, foamy texture just seemed a bit incongruous to the dish's character.

40: Setas al Ajillo [$9.00]
Sautéed wild mushrooms in garlic and aromatic herbs. Sautéed mushrooms can hardly be bad, and certainly this was no exception. At the same time though, it's not like this brought anything new to the table.

41: Buñuelos de Bacalao [$8.00]
Codfish fritters with honey aioli. I'd appreciate another type of fish here, as I found the cod rather mushy and a touch fishy, though the aioli did help with the latter problem. Next!

42: Ibérico ham and pineapple [$12.00]
With fennel sherry dressing. While I was eating this, all I could think of was Hawaiian pizza (not necessarily a bad thing mind you). What really stood out to me though wasn't the ham, but the sweet juiciness of the pineapple.

43: Gambas al ajillo [$12.00]
Sautéed shrimp with garlic and guindilla pepper. Nice texture on the shrimp, but the accompanying sauce was just plain strange. I don't know what it was, but it certainly didn't taste like garlic or pepper. I thought the equivalent dish at The Courtyard was much better.

44: Jicama wrapped guacamole [$10.00]
With micro cilantro and corn nuts. I didn't get much of the supposed corn nuts, but the jicama wrapper added a lovely crunch to the smooth creaminess of the guacamole. Very light and refreshing, with a great avocado taste.

45: Bogavante a la Gallega [$15.00]
Galician-style lobster medallions with olive oil crushed potatoes and smoked paprika. I ate the claw of the lobster and was duly disappointed, as I found it overly salty and limp in texture. The potatoes were quite good though I'm told.

46: Endivas con queso de cabra y naranjas [$8.00]
Endive with goat cheese, oranges and almonds. Not bad, but not great, the whole thing just sort of melded together taste-wise and nothing was particularly discernable. Juicy though.

47: Butifarra con ceps y montgetes del gantxet 'Daniel Patrick Moynihan' [$9.00]
Homemade pork sausage with white beans and ceps. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a US senator from New York, and apparently he was a huge fan of these sausages. I'm not as enthusiastic, though it certainly wasn't bad. It just lacked the rich flavor and juiciness that I'd hoped for.

48: Patatas Bravas "New Way Jose" [$7.00]
José's fried potatoes with aioli and spicy tomato sauce. The tomato sauce here tasted basically of ketchup, and the whole dish seemed rather blunt and unrefined. "No way José!"

49: Trucha a la Navarra [$8.00]
Seared trout with Jamón Serrano, Navarra style. We found this far too fishy and just not very good in general, one of the worst preparations of trout I've had actually. We didn't exactly end the meal on a good note here.

At nearly two feet long, this was certainly the longest bill I've had, though not the highest. Thankfully, the amount shown was subsequently cut in half. You see, I originally had a reservation for the 10th, and because the opening date of the restaurant was pushed back to the 17th, I received a 50% discount on the food. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

I think there are two things that need to be addressed at The Bazaar. First is the food. Though we had some great dishes, we also had some truly god awful ones. I mean, some of it just tasted plain bad (as in, what were they thinking putting this on the menu?). Indeed, many of the dishes are very ambitious in terms of flavor pairings, and while I appreciate such novelty, sometimes it just doesn't work. I think what needs to happen is that the menu needs to be rationalized, to cull out the weaker dishes, and perhaps add some new ones to make up the difference. Hopefully, if you're thinking of going to The Bazaar, I've been able to help in deciding which the stronger dishes are. I do think there is a lot of potential here though; the place simply needs time.

Moving away from the food now, I was actually much more put off by the no photography policy that the restaurant has. While we were waiting for our table, we were told that we could not photograph the decor, because it was designed by Phillipe Stark and thus "copyrighted." Now, I'm no lawyer, but this sounds like a BS reason and I question if it's legally defensible. Note that XIV was also designed by Stark and we encountered no such "copyright" issues there. Once we were seated, we were informed by the "manager" (I didn't get her name) that food photography was similarly prohibited; she then directed me to Andrea Sun, a public relations manager, who reiterated that line. Interestingly, one of my dining companions later told me that he'd received permission from Andrea to photograph the food earlier in the night, so perhaps the restaurant needs to hold a consistent line on this. Except for that, I actually didn't have a problem with the service, and in fact, give a lot of credit to our server for handling our sometimes mercurial requests. I will say though that I don't plan on coming back until the restaurant institutes some less ridiculous policies.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow kevin...that must have taken you a lot of time to eat...and to blog. it seems to me that the restaurant took too many chances on the food pairings and they often didn't work out. but if they were sooo bad, how were they greenlit? also, how were you able to take photos if they were adamant on not allowing you?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger gourmetpigs said...

Haha that's dedication Kevin! To blog without sleep til 7 am ...

Also, I think my favorite photo was your bill! :P Sooo long.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol.. you and exilekiss? did you stare at each other across the room and wink?

so hilarious!

the jamon plate looks monstrous. gotta go check that out. great job!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Paul: I believe it actually took me longer to write about it than to eat it. And yes, I was wondering about how some of dishes ended up on the menu. I mean, didn't anyone taste them beforehand? As for the photos, you just have to be quick. ;)

burumun: Yeah that bill was something. I made sure to keep it!

tonyc: I've actually never seen exilekiss, as he always tends to go earlier in the night. ;) The jamon was quite good indeed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger FoodDigger said...

Hey Kevin. Great post. With all that food we ate, it all became a blur. I mostly agree with you, but I'm wondering if some of those dishes at the end were truly bad, or if we were just way too full to enjoy? Regardless, amazing evening with you all.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Will: The fullness probably had a bit to do with it, but I imagine the "bad" dishes could have been at best mediocre if we weren't full. It was a fun night nevertheless.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Frequent Traveler said...

Oh my... You've given me a lovely menu in advance to choose from when I go there !!!

For not being allowed to take pictures, you did a great invisible act :)

I think that rule is pure pretension on a restaurant's part.

Did you like #1 or #42 better of the ham dishes ?

I found 3, 6, 12, 13, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36 and 44 positively intriguing !

No wonder you didn't have any room for dessert after that enornmous meal ! The dessert station looked gorgeous though :)

Loving Annie

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger mattatouille said...

no dessert!?!? jk, crazy man, I woulda given up after 15 dishes. I once had a 17 course tasting menu and it all just felt like a big mush in my stomach afterwards. Only 3-4 were really memorable. Either way, great job documenting the meal.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Kevin, that's an true feat. Good job on the pics and write up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:13:00 PM  
Blogger eric said...

kevin i read your blog like it's the bible.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:19:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

loving annie: #1 for sure. And those other numbers you mentioned were definitely the stronger dishes of the set. It was a real shame we couldn't do dessert though.

mattatouille: It's not just the number of courses, but their size and timing that come into play. At Bazaar the tapas were larger than anticipated and we had lulls in the meal that allowed us to get full. But then you can do a 35 course meal at Urasawa and still be hungry afterward.

matt: Thanks. It would've been an even better feat had I been able to try everything on the menu as I'd planned though.

eric: Lol. Hopefully my blog's a bit more engaging. ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:43:00 PM  
Blogger mattatouille said...

haha, you're creating quite a stir on Eater. You've even got the sage Woolsey in on the action. You should respond

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 2:19:00 PM  
Blogger mattatouille said...

I'm still of the vein that 3 solid courses is preferred to 35. It's like the pleasure of one wife to eighteen. Sure eighteen sounds great on paper but in the end you're only make to take one home. three courses doesn't equal one? Well it's really just one: one appetizer, one entree, one dessert. Still, tasting menus have their place, but when it comes to food I eat every day, 3 is de rigeur. In korean food you get 2.5 - banchan makes up appetizer and accoutrement for entree, you got your entree, then a very brief dessert, perhaps some permission-spice drink or shik-hwe, or some sliced fruit. You're on the (lucky) fringe for getting to eat these spectacular meals, so we'll just have to keep watching and living vicariously through you. cheers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 2:39:00 PM  
Blogger H. C. said...

Loved the whirlwind of gossip this stirred up on Eater LA - but wow, what a photo overload!

I too have gripes with no photo policies (esp. since I make them quick, discreet and flash-free!) but I'll respect them if brought up. That also means the consequent blogpost about them will be that much less visually appealing, though, esp. since I make some effort to pick out the most flattering pics.

And sidenote, one of these days at a potluck or whatever, I should make one of my near-perfect mojitos for you to try ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 4:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, that is insanely cruelty of you!! (j/k!) I am glue to that uni!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 7:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Photos and Post! I was there last night having dinner... and four of us only got through 20 plates. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 7:31:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

mattatouille: I would agree that for day-to-day meals, ~3 is perfectly fine. Once in a while though, a tasting menu is in order. 3 solid courses for 35 mediocre ones, sure. But 3 solid for 35 solid, I'd have to go with the latter, though not every day. ;)

h.c.: Yeah I do need to try your mojito one of these days. I remember you bringing the issue up before as well! Wasn't there that potluck planned at Sarah's? ;) Now I'm off to respond on Eater LA...

*b*: You're right about the uni, it was absolutely lovely.

mylastbite: Thanks! I wonder if we saw each other. We were in "Rojo" right next to the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like these epic meals, I'm surprised that you haven't made it to Providence for the chef's menu yet -- after Urasawa, there isn't a better tasting menu in LA at the moment -- 15 or 16 courses of the best chef Michael can put out. Just have to make sure to go on a night he is in the building (ie not Sunday or Monday).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

I know, I know. The Chef's menu there has been on my to-eat list for a while now. And I've been to Providence three times already!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger Food, she thought. said...

wow. just wow.

Friday, November 21, 2008 6:13:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Food, she thought: any plans to check this place out?

Friday, November 21, 2008 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Right Way to Eat said...

"I'm not sure what the hype is all about, it tasted like an olive, nothing more."

I love your description of #29. So true. LOL.

Again, love your pictures. I'm just glad you were able to take those without any problems.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 2:58:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Actually, I was hassled for taking photos part way through the meal, and thus had to do it covertly for the rest of the duration. ;)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:40:00 AM  
Blogger Foodie Traveler said...

Kevin, this is a phenomenal post. Extraordinarily well done. This seems to be the closest thing to Alinea we have in LA, I can't wait to check it out. Now I have to find enough friends willing to order the entire menu with me.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 3:28:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Thanks! You should be able to do the whole menu with six people, if you order one of each dish only. ;)

Thursday, December 04, 2008 4:21:00 PM  
Blogger luddite said...

An afterthought: An interesting evening, but with a decidedly negative ending -- $15.40 for parking ($14 plus a 10% stick-it-to-the-sucker local tax) was just too much. As good as José's food is, we'll stay away until the SLS folk stop this "highway robbery".

Friday, December 05, 2008 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

$14, the same as at XIV. Hmmm...

When dining on restaurant row, I've learned to park in the nearby residential area. ;)

Friday, December 05, 2008 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger uhockey said...

Kevin - just wanted to thank you for such a comprehensive review. Will be visiting LA later this month and after being unimpressed by Cantu's Moto I'm eager to experience a different (non-set-menu) take on "mg"

I can always count on your blog to keep me up to date on where to check out in Cali.

Sunday, February 01, 2009 4:07:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

You're quite welcome uhockey. I would posit that Andres' cuisine is a bit less "mg" than Cantu's, probably to good effect. And although I wasn't entirely enthused by the meal documented in this post, Bazaar has improved markedly since this visit, according to nearly everything I've read since.

Sunday, February 01, 2009 5:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kevin..just went to bazaar the other night. when i look back onto the evening..i saw a lot of show and pomp and not really really great food. a lot of the dishes seemed to be described like they some incredible discovery of taste, texture and reality warm potatoes and a pesto sauce just isnt too impressive. the braised cheeks were good, the jicama and avocado was tasty...but the chicken croquets tasted like chicken tenders with cream of mushroom sauce on it. 9 bucks for watermelon and tomatoes? doesn't really make sense. philly cheesteak with air-bread and the olive juice in the membrane might be impressive if i was in the kitchen, but tasting it...just not thrilled.

maybe i should have a talk with the chef like you did. maybe i am missing the point?


Monday, February 02, 2009 3:46:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Paul, I don't think you're missing the point necessarily. Your assessment echoes some of my own sentiments. I liked some of the dishes I tried, but many are indeed heavy on the "pomp," so to speak. There are hits and misses, but fortunately, it looks like the ratio of hits-to-misses is increasing.

Monday, February 02, 2009 5:25:00 PM  
Blogger Right Way to Eat said...

Hey Kevin,

They now downgraded the rule to "Chef's wishes" as oppose to the "no photos" rule.

The chef wishes is that no photo can be taken of the food, but you can take photo of anywhere in the restaurant. Not kidding about it. They basically contradict the statement they made to you that night. LOL

Friday, February 27, 2009 9:39:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

"The chef wishes is that no photo can be taken of the food"

So you're saying that food photos aren't allowed? It seems like people haven't had any problem with that lately.

Friday, February 27, 2009 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Right Way to Eat said...

The manager saw me taking photos and sort of gave a lecture to our table about the chef's wishes is that his food doesn't get photograph. He didn't prohibited anyone from taking photos of the food, but just gave a stern reminder about the chef's wishes.

He said that we can take photos of anywhere in the restaurant, but just not the food. He didn't stopped me from taking the photos the rest of the night and none of the staff seemed to mind. I think he's just trying to stop people of taking too many photos, but it's not going to work if the restaurant has too many inconsistent rules about photos.

Saturday, February 28, 2009 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Sigh. Sounds like they still haven't figured out the photo policy. So you're not *supposed* to photograph the food, but it's tolerated.

Sunday, March 01, 2009 2:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The food is great but the service and the people who lounge around the lobby can be total LA douchebags. This alone ruins the entire experience. Hopefully Jose moves this restaurant or starts another one at a more classy place in the future.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Agree about some of the crowd at Bazaar. The douches are a spendy bunch though, so it's sort of inevitable given the location.

I've actually read somewhere that Andres is planning to open up new restaurants, not sure where though. I seem to remember Jaleo in LA.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent three hours photographing the 21 dishes we had at our tasting, and nobody gave us one bit of trouble. *shrug*

Everything was fantastic, and for the $95 tasting menu we got 20 dishes. Pretty good deal, too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009 6:48:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Sean, thankfully the photography policy appears to have been relaxed since my visits, as you noticed.

I do like the new tasting menu options.

Thursday, March 19, 2009 7:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Nanciful said...

Great post! We had reservations during restaurant week and upon arrival, we were informed that our reservation does not exist although we called maybe 2-4 hours earlier to change the party size and the reservation then was okay.

We were assured that we would get a table within the hour. However, after TWO hours, we were still not seated. We left and went to SGV to have Pho.But now I can live vicariously through your post!

Friday, May 15, 2009 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Ah that's too bad Nancy! Bazaar is worth a try, so hopefully you can make your way back in the future. Also consider trying out Saam.

Friday, May 15, 2009 2:52:00 PM  
Blogger joanh said...

wow!! i admire your tenacity in documenting every dish here and from urusawa and other tasting menus! and also doing a thorough write up. sometimes when it gets to be too much, i just end up "highlighting" the best and the worst if i don't take notes and it all blurs together.

hearing good things about bazaar, so good to know that we gotta temper the expectations. have you been to animal?

Saturday, July 11, 2009 5:37:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Thoroughness is one of the things I pride myself on. I use a notebook, as there's no way I could possibly remember all the details in a meal like this. ;)

If you're thinking about Bazaar, then I'd consider Saam instead.

Haven't been to Animal though unfortunately.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Marian said...

I didn't see the cotton candy foie gras on your list. I'm not a big fan of foie gras but was surprised on how much I liked the combo of foie gras and cotton candy. The desserts at the patisserie aren't the best I've ever had but their hot chocolate mousse was mouth watering.

The Social is working on a chef's menu for our group in SAAM. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 08, 2010 4:45:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Remember, I went on opening night, two years ago, so I don't think the cotton candy-foie was even on the menu. I definitely wouldn't mind going back to Saam; I say just do their regular 20-courser, which normally is $120.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010 5:04:00 PM  

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