Taste: The Bazaar by Jose Andres

11 Aug

Ok, so after living in Barcelona for 4 months, I became quite fond of Spanish food, and the slow, social experience that a meal signifies. Although I lived with a Spanish “senora” during my time in Spain, I made a point to visit a few traditional Spanish tapas bars to get a flair for Catalan cuisine. I quickly came to love paella, Catalan cream, pan con tomate, jamon, etc. I jumped at the chance when my dad suggested a family trip to Jose Andres’ super-upscale Spanish restaurant, The Bazaar, at the SLS Hotel on La Cienega in Beverly Hills.

This place was ornate and decorative and definitely unique. It had chandeliers and low-lit, bold tones, and the craziest bathrooms I’ve ever seen (and a few too many mirrors, if you ask me). In one of the bar areas, individual clips of old movies played on the tables. It was truly a sight to behold, and visually whet my appetite for a stimulating sensory experience. We were seated in the more traditional of the two dining rooms, Rojo y Blanca, and we could actually see the chefs at work preparing our tapas. The menu was fantastic and was a unique blend of traditional (jamon, pan con tomate, etc) and modern tapas (foie gras and cotton candy, sweet potato chips, etc). 
When my parents visited me last March in BCN we had tapas at a Basque bar on Passeig de Gracia, and this experience, although different, brought me right back there. We did two separate rounds and had: jamon iberico y pan con tomate, sweet potato chips with a delicious yogurt dill dipping sauce (delectably light-and-airy and my mom’s favorite dish), Catalan spinach with pine nuts, raisins, and apple, Rossejat (a paella-style dish with shrimp, but the base is an angel-hair type pasta), Watermelon/tomato skewers (the flavors combine in your mouth, literally something out of Top Chef), Tuna ceviche and avocado roll, a modern take on the Philly Cheesesteak, and the most inventive dish, “Tortilla de patatas, new way.” 
This dish actually felt like a Top Chef challenge — take the tortilla espanola and put a new, modern, molecular gastronomic spin on it. The result? A liquid egg/potato/carmelized onion concoction served in a hard eggshell. It was delicious, and conveyed the essence of tortilla de patatas/espanola, but with a unique flair. As we were eating, my brother stated that this food reminded him of something Marcelle (a former Top Chef contestant) would cook. We all agreed…and then a few minutes later I noticed a chef in the kitchen who bore an uncanny resemblance to Marcelle. We asked our waiter, and sure enough, he is a sous chef at The Bazaar! 
We continued to dig our way through the tapas and soak in the experience, and I ordered a caipiroska (vodka, lime, sugar, heaven) which reminded me of a similar drink (caipirhina) I’d ordered in Portugal. Finally, we shared some flan and made our way out. Each of us full from the uniquely satisfying meal. 
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One Response to “Taste: The Bazaar by Jose Andres”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. local eats: ink sack. « That's G - January 4, 2012

    […] and my brother and I spotted Top Chef terror Marcelle as a sous-chef at The Bazaar by José Andres when we went a couple of years ago. I live just a couple of blocks from BOTH of Michael Voltaggio’s flagship restaurants – […]

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