Location: 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048. 310.246.5555
Date: May 23, 2015
Cuisine: Spanish influenced Molecular Gastronomy
Rating: Awesome, one of LA’s best places.
I’m like a José Andrés groupie. I’ve been to every possible variant of his restaurants in LA, Vegas, and many in Washington. I covered some introduction to The Bazaar in a previous review, but it’d been three years so I figured it was time for a third review.
But we decided to do the $100 tasting menu (+ a few supplements for our less meat inclined diner). Back when the Bazaar opened the tasting menu was cheaper and smaller, but this one is pretty huge and a great deal as you get to taste nearly every classic on the menu.
There were 4 of us and the Bazaar’s food is so all over the places as far as pairings go, that I decided to open two Spanish wines simultaneously, a white and a red, and leave them both in front of everyone (two glasses).
From my cellar: 2011 Raul Pérez Rías Baixas Muti. 90 points. Fresh citrus…lemon, lime, grapefruit tinged w/floral notes. Razor sharp base minerality punctuated with clean even finish.
From my cellar: 1973 Bodegas Olarra Rioja Gran Reserva. 92 points. A touch of oxidation, cedar, sweet strawberry and some oak. Elegant even if this is not totally focused. Clearly shows younger than its age.
The oak is very well integrated. Very nice.
Sweet potato chips, yogurt, tamarind, star anise. The crisp chips are used to scoop up the fluffy cool yogurt, which has a pleasing fruit tang.
Spanish olives, traditional and modern. Classic olives with pimentos and anchovy (back). This is followed (on the right) by “Spanish olives, modern.” Pureed olive has been “sphereized.” The flavor is basically the same, but these pop in your mouth to deliver a concentrated burst of olive.
A close up of the traditional, as you can’t see them that well in the first photo.
Bagel and Lox Cone. There is actually one in front that is tomato instead. The remainder of them are salmon roe with creme fraiche or cream cheese in the cone. Always a delightful little bite.
Baby beets, citrus, pistachio, goat cheese, pop rocks. A nice variant on what has become an LA classic. It actually crackles in your mouth.
Mushroom carpaccio, hazelnuts. A Saam dish that has moved over, a vinegary mushroom take on the thin sliced meat.
Pa’amb Tomaquet. Catalan style toasted bread, tomato.
Jamon Iberico. Traditional Spanish ham.
These two are combined into a yummy open faced sandwich.
Little Neck Clams. Market Pearl Onions, Cava Dressing. Very heavily marinated and quite lovely.
King Crab Can. Raspberries, Raspberry Vinegar. An unusual sweet and salty combination.
Not your everyday caprese, cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella. This is a near perfect deconstruction of the caprese. The mozzarella balls explode in your mouth, and pair great with the pesto and the little crunchy crackers.
Stuffed Piquillo Peppers. Capriola Farm goat cheese.
Market Fish Ceviche and Avocado Roll. Jicama, Micro Cilantro, Coconut Dressing. Sort of a catapiller version of the usual tuna/avocado tower.
Sauteed Shrimp. Garlic, Guindilla pepper. In Spain usually called Gambas pilpil. Basically shrimp boiled (fried?) in olive oil and garlic. These were very typical of what I must have had 30 times in southern Spain. The quality of the shrimp here was higher than is often the case at cheap places in Spain.
Sautéed cauliflower “couscous”. Cauliflower purée, harissa, lemon, crispy quinoa. A little bland.
Papas Canarias. Salty Wrinkled Potatoes, Mojo Verde. The potatoes are very salty and you dip them in that slurry of parsley, cilantro, olive oil, and lemon juice. Really tasty.
Ensaladilla Rusa. Potatoes, Carrots, Mayo, Tuna Belly. Like a high end tuna salad. Lots of mayo!
Grilled Spanish Octopus. Caramelized Onions, Chicken Escabeche, Tomatoes. Super tender, one of the best grilled octopus dishes I’ve had.
Croquetas de Pollo. Chicken and Béchamel Fritters. Super hot and gooey inside. Nice.
Catalan Spinach. Apple, pine nuts, raisons. Sweet.
Seared Wagyu Flank Steak. Piquillo Pepper Spheres. Meaty.
Loup de Mer. celery root puree, grapefruit, seabeans. Nice and crispy.
Braised Wagyu Beef Checks. Mojo Rojo, Roasted Potatoes. The meat here is so rich and soft you could cut it with your tongue.
Wild Mushroom Rice. Idiazabal Cheese. A very nice cheesy risotto.
The deconstructed Philly cheese steak is one of my favorites. The “air bread” is super crispy with liquid cheddar. the beef is wagyu. On the right is The vegetarians got this “Hilly cheese steak” with mushroom instead of beef. Same cheese. Last year, at a catered event at the SLS I ate over 20 of the cheesesteaks!!
Traditional Spanish Flan. Vanilla and Citrus. I’m a huge flan fan and this Spanish classic didn’t disappoint. Great citrus notes.
Pan con Chocolate. Chocolate Flan with caramelized bread, olive oil, brioche ice cream. Great, just small.
A sort of vanilla cream version, with some crunchy meringue.
A chocolate pistachio “cake.” These tartufo (not frozen) like balls were really quite something to look at, and tasted great too.
Passionfruit mango chocolate “cake.” Delicious.
No other restaurant in LA has the combination of ultra modern chic and whimsical playfulness that The Bazaar does — plus everything tastes great and you get to experience an great melange of flavors in one meal. If you haven’t been, or haven’t been recently, I think the big ($100) set menu is a great way to go. There are a lot of dishes and it’s probably less than ordering them all ala carte.
I’ve also been to Saam, the fixed menu back room three times. Overall, I like the front room a tad better. Saam is great, particularly the first time you go, but they don’t change it up that often. Here in front you can really control what you get, and the prices are more reasonable and the atmosphere more playful.