Location: 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048. 310.246.5555
Date: November 20, 2014
Cuisine: Spanish influenced Molecular Gastronomy
Rating: Truffley goodness
I’m a bit of a Jose Andres groupie as not only have I been three times to Saam, at least 10 to The Bazaar (REVIEW HERE), but also to brunch at Trés, and even to é by José Andrés (twice) and Jaleo in Vegas and several places in Washington D.C.
For those who don’t know, José Andrés is perhaps America’s leading practitioner of my favorite culinary style: Spanish Molecular Gastronomy. This school of cooking, a radical interpretation of the preparation of food, was begun at El Bulli outside of Barcellona. Andrés cooked and studied there with master chef Ferran Adrià. I first encountered Andrés’s cooking in Washington DC at Cafe Atlantico, and its own restaurant within a restaurant, Minibar.
I’ve eaten molecular a number of times in Spain, for example at Calima and La Terraza. The Bazaar and Saam brought molecular style to LA.
Saam is the “secret” prix fixe only room within the Bazaar, open Thurs-Sat.
For years I’ve wanted to catch the limited run truffle dinner, and I finally got a chance.
Always a little theatrical, the menu comes in it’s own special envelope.
Voila, a little minimalist, which is going to make writing up the dishes a challenge!
Our table of four had its own pair of white truffles for shaving!
Burg fiends that Erick and I are, we brought out a pair of oldies. First, celebrating its 50th birthday:
1964 Gros Frère et Sœur Clos Vougeot Musigni. Burghound 92. A very fresh and bright nose of spice, earth and an interesting herbal component leads to round, full and intense flavors that still possess a touch of classic Clos de Vougeot austerity on the long finish. This is an excellent wine that still displays a youthful dimension. While there is no reason to hold this further, it can be held without concern.
agavin: plenty of fruit still. Meadows was right about the herbal component. Almost musty. Certainly not corked, but a forest floor kind of thing. A very pretty wine.
Coco Loco. This signature “cocktail” is coconut cream, truffles, and rum and vodka. Definitely dessert like and pretty much like coconut gelato. Quite yummy, although don’t try to mix with red wine.
And truffle cone. You smear some butter in the cone and enjoy.
In case you got butter on your fingers there are these lavender scented wipes.
Truffle Tree. Actually a bread stick with truffle and some kind of flavored paste? Delicious.
Gougere. Puff pastries filled with liquid cheese (yum!) and topped with truffle.
Nasturtium Canape. A flower stuffed with something.
Corte Parmesan. Crisps with soft parmesan and apricot jelly or something.
Nori. Truffle blobs on crispy nori.
Rosemary springs, which feature in the next dish.
Young Potatoes. You skewer a potato with the rosemary and eat. They are covered with butter cream and you guessed it… truffles.
Light and shadow. Truffle razorback clams on the right with truffle air on the left.
Vegetarian version in mushrooms.
Hokkaido. An interesting savory of Hokkaido uni, caviar, dashi jelly and the like. Very briny and delicious.
Porcini Carpaccio. Hazelnuts and other good bits and a vinegary sauce.
5 Star Breakfast. One of my favorite dishes. The egg was runny but had been sphereized. There were mushrooms and some kind of cheesy cream.
1966 Maison Roche de Bellene Volnay 1er Cru Santenots Collection Bellenum. 92 points. Young looking colour. Slightly green nose. Darker, supple fruit profile. Something oddly young and refreshing about it! Seems like it’s had a lot of plastic surgery!
Cavatelli. Funny chocolate pasta with iberico ham broth, some actual ham, and some creamy stuff, and truffles. Yummy and very firm.
Look who showed up, Jose Andres!
Non alcoholic Passionfruit martini.
Black Bass. Freeze dried squid ink.
Chuleton. Special Spanish T-bone steak with jus, truffles, little sphereized gnocchi and the like.
Fideos. Cheese, cheese cotton candy, and truffle nitro frozen “noodles”!
Florentine. Praline, pistachio, and some kind of sorbet.
Blonde on Blonde. Various butterscotchy stuff. Quite yummy.
Chestnut Honey Truffle. Haha. Get it?
Exotic Caramel of passion fruit. Peanut Macaron. Bergamot & Domori.
A little chocolate bar as a “parting gift.”
Overall, Saam serves up a tremendous meal, full of creative whimsy, and even if the individual dishes are sometimes a bit “fluffly” it really works. There was a nice solid truffle factor to all the dishes, but it wasn’t quite as overwhelming as at my monster Bistro LQ truffle experience.
For a previous Saam meal, click here.
For a meal and The Bazaar proper, click here.