Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How Bazaar

It's not often we have a truly magical dining experience. We did Sunday.
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The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel is a freaky place. Freaky good.
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The restaurant is divided into three sections: bar, dining room, and patisserie.
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This is no ordinary tapas place. This is a celebration of molecular gastronomy. Top Chef fans will be delighted to know that this is where ever-so-cocky Marcel Vigneron continues to serve up his trademark foams as a sous chef.

Good taste is not enough. Presentation is key. Everything you eat is as gorgeous as it is delicious. It's like the beauty and the brains of the culinary world.

Our dineLA menu consisted of the three tapas each, a "Philly cheesesteak" (you'll see why it's in quotes later), and dessert. Order wisely during dineLA week, or your $44 deal may not really be a deal. We saved about $8 each with our particular selections. Parenthetical prices below are regular menu prices.

BroMo had a dirty martini with olive spherification and olive brine air ($16). I had a bellini with fresh peach juice, Japanese peach, and sparkling wine ($16). Good!
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The Bazaar offers a two-toned menu -- rojo and blanco. "Red" tapas are traditional Spanish fare, while "white" tapas take a more modern approach. We got a good mix of the two. The rojo dishes tend to be heartier. The blanco dishes are lighter and generally more innovative.

Jicama-wrapped guacamole with micro cilantro and corn nuts ($9). Little pockets of creamy freshness. Great start!
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Foie gras with quince on brioche buns ($12). So rich! So cute! So...yes!
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Crab meat steamed buns with pickled Japanese cucumbers ($15). Cool and crisp enveloped in warm and fluffy. Fab juxtaposition.
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Tuna toro "Nigiri" with wasabi, watermelon, red wine, soy, and jalapeño ($16). Fruity sushi! Who knew? Neat combo of textures.
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Galician lobster medallions with olive oil, crushed potatoes, and paprika ($15). Traditional flavors meet modernity. Gives a whole new meaning to seafoam.
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Tortilla de patatas "new way" ($3). Warm potato foam with a slow-cooked egg and caramelized onions. Oh. Em. Gee. Unlike anything I've ever tasted. Incredible. Special thanks to our server Heidi for suggesting that we add this beyond our dineLA set! And it was just $3! Brother Monkey said he wanted a conveyor belt in front of him with at least 10 of these on it.
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Shrimp paella ($12). This came in a gigantic silver pan and was apportioned evenly between the three of us. No skimping here! Heidi informed us that each pan comes with at least 12 shrimp! Piping hot, old-school, and filling. Yum.
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Braised veal cheeks with California oranges ($10). Melt-in-your-mouth tender. Seriously good meat.
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Lamb loin with foraged mushrooms and potato ($14). The good meat continues, drenched in the crazy delicious foamy potatoes!
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"Philly cheesesteak" ($8). Air bread, cheddar cheese, and Wagyu beef. So not from Pennsylvania! Mmmmm.
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Japanese baby peaches and persimmons with yogurt and olive oil ($12). This was the sole dish that didn't win me over, but Mr. Monkey and BroMo liked it.
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At the end of our tapas-fest, Heidi gave us the option of remaining seated in the dining room and having our desserts delivered to us or moving to the patisserie. We went to the patisserie.
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What. A. Trip.

This is the bizarre bazaar part of the restaurant. More on that later.

Apples "Carlota" bread pudding with saffron sauce ($10). Warm sweetness in the shape of a Twinkie.
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Greek yogurt panna cotta with apricots and muscat gelatin ($10). I am a panna cotta fiend these days. Be still, my beating heart!
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Chocolate stick with orange gelatin, fresh citrus segments, chocolate snap, and freeze-dried raspberries ($10). Oh, snap! Yum.
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The area adjoining the patisserie is like Alice in Wonderland meets Dadaism.
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We were really full.
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Can't wait to go back. Mr. Monkey already picked out dishes for next time.

More pics here, if you're interested.


  1. That sounds delicious. Tapas are my absolute favorite and these look so inventive. Plus your peach bellini has me swooning at my desk at 8:30 am. Bellinis are also my favorite. Foodgasmic!

  2. WOW

    What an amazing meal. It looks absolutely fantastic! I really enjoyed reading every description and examining every photo. Again, wow.

  3. Um, I die. If I ever make it to L.A. will you eat here with me? I heart Marcel, the decor, and the food without even tasting it (physically, I mean--I am tasting it in my mind).

  4. Looks tasty!

    I'll be at SLS tomorrow for an event, but was planning on grabbin' some grub first. This review is super helpful.

    How we've managed to not bump into each other IRL is beyond me. We always seem to be frequenting the same spots within hours or days of each other!

    p.s. - I promise I'm not a creepy stalker. =)

  5. wow, what an experience! Next time I'm in LA, I'm definitely going here!

  6. i am super obsessed with sls. i could easilly move in; it is such a trippy, gorgeous place! crossing my fingers for a wedding here soon! can't wait to try the restaurant...

  7. Woot! I'm going to the SLS Hotel on Thursday and now I have something to look forward to! Not to mention, now that I know the vibe I have a better idea on what to wear! Sweet! If making it up to L.A. from the O.C. wasn't such a pain in the ass, I totally would've indulged in dine L.A. Poo!

  8. wow I feel like I just went on vacation or something looking through all of these pix!!!!

    and yeah.. "cheesesteak" that the Fresh Prince of BelAir would order.. its only a Philly one if there's cheese whiz (and i couldn't see that in the pic) we learned that when we were drunk in Philadelphia at 2am talking to a street vendor!!

  9. i hope to eat there one day. have you seen jose andres on one of the recent episodes of "no reservations"?? he's hilarious. p.s. love the dress you wore (saw it in one of the reflections in the pic).

  10. What? Rick's wasn't magical enough for you?

  11. What an experience. And I think you made some fantastic choices which definitely helped.

  12. I have followed your blog religiously - not a stalker! Just want to drop a line to say how amazing those photos are, you have good eyes. Too bad dineLA ends this week, i'm hoping to try Bazaar out for my hubby b'day without breaking the bank. Well, maybe next time they have it again. So delicious!!

  13. Wow, not sure which was better -- your descriptions or the pictures. I want one of everything!!

  14. I recognize and appreciate the foam (a la Marcel).

  15. The food presentation is seriously amazing. I want to live in that patisserie forever.

  16. We DEFINITELY have this on our list of places we want to try, and this is super helpful! The hotel is gorgeous, and the pics are amazing.

  17. good to see marcel hasn't stopped with the foam business. but that food looked amazing! and the patisserie area was tres cute.

  18. That place looks AMAZING! Wow.

  19. sooooo neat. def down peach's alley. we will see if we get to it.

  20. That place looks fantastic! I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much. I think even if you hadn't specified, the foam pictures would have totally reminded me of the great asshat Marcel!

  21. That place looks pleasantly freaky to me. And the food just looks pleasant. :)

  22. this place is amazing, especially the patisserie. what a dining experience! i am going to make mr. y take me here one day. too bad the dineLA menu will be ending this week. thanks for taking those amazing photos.

  23. Holey crap - I don't know what is more beautiful, the restaurant or the food. It seems pricey though, no? $16 cocktails is steep, but for that decor and view, I could stomach at least a drink or two. I don't suppose they ever have a buffet there?

  24. Even though I have the palate of a four-year-old, I'd still go to this place because it looks cool.

  25. i so want to try ths place. love that marcel is the chef here. <3

  26. i'm not gonna lie - the foam just looks like something the dog just coughed up to me. :/

    but i spy a candy buffet!

  27. sbe does it again. looks fab. photos are awesome.

  28. May I ask.. what lens were you using?

  29. Just the kit lens that came with my D40 -- regular ol' 18-55mm zoom lens.

    The only picture that wasn't taken with my kit lens was the outside billboard pic, which was my 55-200mm.

  30. Oh wow! I might get to see your D40 camera in action soon enough. See you next week!

  31. The Philly cheesesteak was kinda life changing.


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