Restaurant: The Bazaar [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Location: 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048. 310.246.5555
Date: May 26, 2018
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’ve been here countless times, but today return with the Sauvages for a special Rioja lunch.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, you should.
I’ve been plenty of times where I don’t write it up, but this time we got the current tasting menu — which is by far the best deal and the way to go here — and I figured I’d do an up to date report.
From my cellar: 2008 Clos Erasmus Priorat Laurel. VM 92. Deep ruby. Seductively perfumed, with soil-inflected aromas of cherry, dark berries, smoke, spices and dried violet, along with a strong graphite quality. Velvety and tangy on entry, then ripe and sweet in the mid-palate, lending impressive energy to the almost medicinal cherry and singed plum flavors. Lively on the bright, very long back end, which features lingering floral and mineral attributes. Very pretty now but built for short- to mid-term aging, say another four to six years.
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.
Bagel and Lox Cone. The remainder of them are salmon roe with creme fraiche or cream cheese in the cone. Always a delightful little bite.
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 newish take on the beet salad. Local Baby Beets. Smoked yogurt, pickled carrots, walnuts, avocado. This actually had a bit of heat (spice).
Pa’amb Tomaquet. Catalan style toasted bread, tomato. Jamon Iberico. Traditional Spanish ham.
Tuna Ceviche & Avocado Roll. Jicama, micro cilantro, coconut. Really nice bright flavors and interesting texture (soft and crunchy).
Tempura Squash Blossoms. Black olive, ricotta, fresh tomatillo sauce.
King Crab. Raspberries, raspberry vinaigrette. The crab and raspberry combo is something I haven’t come to complete terms with. Great crab though.
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.
Sautéed Shrimp. Garlic, tomato sofrito, guindilla pepper. There has been a sautéed shrimp on the menu since the start, but this newer version has more tomato. It’s great, but I probably prefer the more classic garlic/oil variant.
Grilled Spanish Octopus. Caramelized onions, chicken escabeche, cherry tomatoes.
Papas Canarias. Salty Wrinkled Potatoes, Mojo Verde and Mojo Rojo. The potatoes are very salty and you dip them in that slurry of parsley, cilantro, olive oil, and lemon juice. Really tasty. This has been on the menu since opening, but they recently changed the form favor (to have the potatoes on top of the sauce) and added the red sauce.
Croquetas De Pollo. Chicken-béchamel fritters. Classic! Super hot and gooey inside. Nice.
Seared Mary’s Farm Chicken. Honey dates, mustard caviar, mustard greens. In a way, this is like chicken with honey mustard sauce — but way better.
Catalan Spinach. Apple, pine nuts, raisins. Old dish, slightly new form factor.
I ordered this off the menu: 2011 La Granja Nuestra Señora de Remelluri Rioja Reserva. VM 92. Bright violet color. Ripe cherry and blackberry on the highly perfumed nose, with a sexy floral nuance adding complexity. Fleshy and seamless on the palate, offering sweet red and dark berry flavors with hints of vanilla and smoky minerals. Closes smooth, sweet and very long, with excellent clarity and spicy persistence. Very suave wine with the balance to age but also with the upfront fruit to make it quite attractive now.
Coffee Rubbed American Wagyu Flat Iron. Passion fruit, pearl onions.
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!!
Pan con Chocolate. Chocolate Flan with caramelized bread, olive oil, brioche ice cream. Great, just small.
Hot Chocolate Mousse. pear sorbet and salty hazelnut praline. Very soft texture but with crunch. Nice salty chocolate hazelnut flavor.
Traditional Spanish Flan. Vanilla and Citrus. I’m a huge flan fan and this Spanish classic didn’t disappoint. Great citrus notes.
A few cookies.
I was at the Bazaar a few weeks earlier, and we ordered ala carte. Now the food was great both times, and very different things, but the tasting menu is such a better deal. Probably half the cost and we had way more — and more varied food. The problem is that if you order some of the super yummy “per piece” items by the person, it adds up really fast and you need a lot of the little bites — whereas the tasting menu includes basically all of the above for a single fixed (roughly $100) price.
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