You'd think that, after visiting The Bazaar by José Andrés four times, I'd be sick of it.
We knew exactly where to celebrate Ms. Cruiser's birthday -- SAAM.
According to The Bazaar website, SAAM is "The Intimate Chef's Tasting Room" -- a "hidden space designed by Philippe Starck...lined with Murano glass sconces and creamy leather with clean lines inspired by Italian 1940s decor." Here, "guests...enjoy a personalized journey of modern creations and traditional flavors."
Reserving a table at SAAM requires a phone call and a filled-out form with your credit card information and your party's food allergies. The experience costs $95 per person.
Our birthday girl tried an Uva Bella -- gin, St. Germain, house-made grape soda and grape air. Mr. Cruiser opted for José's Gimlet -- Bombay Sapphire and fresh lime heart.
Our "personalized journey of modern creations and traditional flavors" started with a shot for each of us.
How could a crunchy fried red bite be so good? Delightful!
Black Olives Ferran Adrià.
Our first spherification of the night. These membranous globes of olive and squid ink burst in our mouths. Such a crazy sensation!
Bagel and lox steam bun.
Olive oil bonbons.
Tuna Handroll 2009.
Jose's Combination -- jamon iberico + caviar.
Insanely delicious and decadent. Two ounces of this acorn-fed, free-range Ibérico ham will typically set you back $38. Use this to wrap caviar inside, and you have quite the extravagant bite.
Boneless coconut Thai chicken wing.
A slight twist on The Bazaar's usual boneless chicken wings with green olive purée. I didn't think it was possible, but I thought this version was even better. Loved the sweetness.
We got the beet! Just beet it! And that is the extent of my stupid beet lyrics. This dish was surprisingly delicious and complex. I had no idea that beets could be so tasty. The initial tumbleweed foreshadowed beautiful things to come.
Chipirones en su tinta.
Baby Japanese peaches and kiwi, Greek yogurt and zataar.
The Bazaar's usual Japanese peaches. I liked this much more than I did my first visit. The kiwi worked better for me than the regular menu's persimmon.
Guacamole "New Way."
Hot & cold foie soup with corn.
Wow. WOW. Maybe my favorite course of the night. Gorgeous cold corny foie mousse on top and creamy hot corny foie soup underneath. Rich and absolutely amaaaaazing.
Smoked Arctic char chickpea cake, cucumber Tzatziki.
I'm not a huge fan of salmon, but this was perfectly cooked, and the chickpea cake was excellent. The accompaniments provided a lovely contrasting coolness.
Not Your Everyday Caprese -- cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella.
More spherification! You've seen this before. Still great. Mr. Cruiser called the little croutons "bread Chiclets." Ha!
Wagyu beef cheeks.
Wild mushroom risotto with white truffle ($25).
Philly cheesesteak air bread, cheddar, Wagyu beef.
We've had this a couple times, but we've never had it served by a monkey! The stand was so neat!
Dragon's Breath Popcorn! Dragon's Breath Popcorn! Dragon's Breath Popcorn!
Thai dessert, peanut powder, gelée.
When I first got this, I was puzzled to eat just powder. Powder! But this turned out to be a yummy-nummy joy. Loved it a lot.
Hot chocolate pear.
This was the dessert that Mr. Monkey and The Cruisers enjoyed.
Nitro coconut floating island, passion fruit, vanilla, bananas.
In lieu of the hot chocolate pear, I got this on account of my mild chocolate allergy. You can see how the floating island is made here. Pretty cool!
When you celebrate your birthday at SAAM, you get a candle in a crazy sugar cage.
Petit fours -- tablets, bonbons, marshmallow, gelée.
Sweet and tiny bites to end the night!
We each got a ribboned scroll to remember our night.
Before we left, our server showed us the kitchen.
The staff was busy cleaning up.
As always, some decor shots for you. Here's my fave table in the Rojo Room.
Berry titillating night. Thank you, SAAM.