The Bazaar by Jose Andres

by janet on February 13th, 2009

 

 

 

Jose Andres. That guy. He’s always in a open button-down layered over a t-shirt, saying funny things on his show, Made in “eh-Spain!” I adore him. Christopher always mimics his “this is so yummy” face and it cracks me up because it is so spot on / over the top.

So, for my hatch day present, there was no other place to go than The Bazaar by Jose Andres. To be more specific, there was no other place to go when it wasn’t on my dime thanks to the growed up man who isn’t on a grad student salary like me who was treating.

All the procrastinating I’ve done on this post has worked out in the end, because of the timely announcement of The Bazaar’s nomination for Best New Restaurant with the James Beard Awards.

First of all, the space is GORGEOUS. It’s really three restaurants in one – Bar Centro, Rojo y Blanca, and Patisserie. It’s huge and just breathtaking and stunning. And very mood-lit – lovely for the ambiance, terrible for food photography.

There is a traditional tapas menu, and then the exciting molecular gastronomy-ish tapas menu, and we ordered off of both.

 


Organized Caesar Salad with quail eggs and parmesan cheese 

 

First up was Organized Caesar Salad with quail eggs and parmesan cheese. Case in point – I apologize for the rather shitty quality of this photo. I know you weren’t fooled just because it’s smaller than the others.

I like “organized” as opposed to “deconstructed.” They were like lil’ sushi rolls, but salad. I still can’t figure out what the thing is that wrapped the rolls (the nori analog)? Every little bit of this salad was so intense. The cheese? Intensely sharp. The croutons? Intensely buttery and delicious. The quail’s egg, which Christopher graciously gave to me? I was worried it would be too slimy in proportion to the little bite, but it was quite silky and not at all off-putting. “Not at all off-putting” doesn’t sound like much praise, when my intention is to communicate to you how amazing this shit was. Listen. It was amazing.

 

 


Warm Leek Salad with goat cheese and lemon dressing
 

My favorite dish of the night. The leeks were cooked until just-before-disintegration, and only required one gentle push from my tongue to dissolve at the back of my mouth. Gorgeous. I think the interesting thing was that none of the ingredients tasted like their labels – in a good way. It wasn’t really lemony, and it wasn’t really leeky. If I had tasted this without a description, I would never have guessed lemon, leek, goat cheese.

 


José’s fried potatoes with alioli and spicy tomato sauce 

Christopher had seen Jose make these on his show. So we ordered them. In the photo above they look merely like glorified potato chips drizzled with some yummy-looking shit. And that’s what they were. Except kind of cold.

 

 

  

Not that anyone was complaining, clearly. Those might even be tongue tracks left behind by an overzealous Janet.
 

 


Miso ‘linguini’ with tomato, lemon and caviar 

Christopher didn’t love this. I think I loved it because the Japanese love weirdly-textured noodle thingies (e.g., shirataki) as well as weirdly gelatinous thingies (e.g., nikogori), and this was a combination of both, but with a western twist. It was slippery and hard to eat (oh, man, this has the beginnings of an epic that’s what she said), but once I managed to wrangle it into my mouth with the aid of my hands, it was an extremely delightfully acid-forward flavor explosion on my tongue (see?).

If you will indulge me one small pet peeve – people, stop calling any old fish egg “caviar.” If you say “caviar” to me I’m expecting small, black, and out of the belly of some rare shark thing. This was plain ol’ salmon roe. If you want to be fancy, call it “ikura” and stop making me feel sad when the orbs are orange instead of black. I still love you though, Jose. Let’s never fight again. BFFF still? Best fucking friends forever?

 

 


Tortilla Espanola – classic potato omelet
 

Pretty much a must-order at any tapas joint, no? I must admit, with the quantity of wine in my belly I don’t quite remember this. I remember it being very hot = excellent, because I was still smarting a bit from the $7 cold potato chip. That said, we were at The Ba-fucking-zaar and the prices weren’t anything that astonishing! The majority of dishes were under $10 – way better than a sushi joint.

 


‘Philly cheesesteak’ Air bread filled with cheese and topped with Kobe beef 

Maybe Fabio is embarrassed to have his haute cuisine described as a Philly Cheesesteak, but not Jose. This was slices of super rare Kobe beef draped over a crispier-than-I-imagined puff of bread that had cheese injected into it. Injected into it, people. Are you listening? Injected. Fucking BAMF.

All throughout the meal, there were dim sum-ey carts that came through asking if we wanted to partake. One had little crepe cones with dollops of something glorious-looking topped with “caviar,” but on account of the whole calling-salmon-eggs-”caviar” thing I was anti.

Instead, I had eyes only for the Cotton Candy Wrapped Foie Gras that was being prepared at a cotton candy machine in the center of the restaurant. As the sweet and savory monster, I was doing a fair amount of bouncing up and down in my seat and punching the air as the two lollipops headed over to our table (pictured top).

Soooo in my fantasy the foie gras was seared. But it wasn’t in actuality. Makes sense – would have melted the cotton candy. No matter. Have you ever noticed how purely sweet cotton candy is? So this was like a one-two punch of intensity (1. Sweeeet 2. Creeeammy) except it was a one-two caress.

 


Greek yogurt panna cotta with apricots and muscat gelatin 

I’ve seen some bizarre server behavior in the past. In fact, my very first blog post evar was all about highlighting some serving foibles. The chica we had this night was very sweet but weird. When we asked for a good red wine recommendation, she started discussing the white wines. When I gently said something more like a RED Tempranillo or RED Rioja, she continued extolling the virtues of some bubbly white. Benign, I know. Also, I suspect her strange behavior was partially motivated by Christopher secretly telling her it was my birthday and her being weirdly overattentive yet verbally awkward. In any case, she was under Christopher’s directive to bring me this even if I decided to pass on dessert (a good strategy for this sweet-hater), but neither needed worry – I’m a sucker for panna cotta (the gelatinous thing, ‘member?) and anything muscat.

Awkward Server brought it out with a candle, (of course) awkwardly singing “Haaaapy Biirthday to…[awkward giggle]” Awww. She’s growing on me. This photo I love not because I loved the dessert, but because the candle looks like a ghost candle at the bottom. A hovering, ghost candle. Anyway, the dessert was lovely, though way too runny to be called a panna cotta. I think tart + smooth is an underappreciated combination. Wait, I just basically described every yogurt ever. Nevermind. Still, it was good – something I’d take ANY day over a fucking brownie. Yech.

Just because I don’t want to end my post on a glorious meal (thank you Christopher) on the word “yech,” I shall end with Happy Hatch Day to Meeeee, YAY.

 

Now through February 28th – $44 prix-fixe! OMG best deal evar!
 

The Bazaar by Jose Andres
at the SLS Hotel
465 S. La Cienga Blvd


Beverly Hills

One Response to “The Bazaar by Jose Andres”

  1. [...] honor of this: (a) I shall post pictures of a recent, second excursion to The Bazaar. (b) I went with Cara and Cheez and her hubby. (c) We took advantage of their [...]

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