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The Bazaar at SLS by Jose Andres, Los Angeles

October 10, 2009

I really have no words for my dining experience tonight at The Bazaar SLS Hotel in Los Angeles. As part of DineLA week, this restaurant literally blew my mind with the decor, ambiance, service and of course, the food! The food is tapas Spanish cuisine with a modern twist on small plates. When you enter The Bazaar, the sleek and whimsical decor leaves no doubt that you are standing in a Phillip Starck designed space and everything is a bit of a visual overload from all the chairs, curtain paneled and separated dining spaces, chandeliers encased in mirrored boxes, and a showcase of unusual and very expensive knick knacks and photos for sale.

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I heard about this restaurant when I went to the cooking event at The Grove a couple weeks ago where Marcel Vigernon from Top Chef and Jeffrey Saad battled it out. Apparently Marcel is the sous-chef at The Bazaar and a couple foodies mentioned to me that this is the place to go for a unique dining  experience due to their interesting use of molecular gastronomy. I have never eaten anything prepared this way before, but I see it all the time on T.V. The dishes Marcel whipped up for the cooking competition was a little demo to his world of molecular gastronomy. Here’s one of the dishes he made:

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The SLS Hotel used to be Le Meridien before the SBE group took over. Anyone watch The Hills? I swear I don’t work for their publicity group or something, but I hate to admit that I do make mental notes of all the restaurants they go to in L.A. So they pretty much transformed the old hotel lobby into this grand restaurant.

Unfortunately due to their popularity, we couldn’t get any seating inside so we sat outside on their airy outdoor terrace. Honestly, it was perfect for us because it was a little noisy and dark inside.We decided to forgo the prix fix menu because it didn’t have most of the items that we wanted to try from the regular menu. Since everything is served on small plates, we ended up ordering 8 dishes to split between us. It sounds like a lot, but the plates were literally 2 bites.

I had to start off with their signature drink, Tableside “Nitro” Caipirinha Frozen liquid nitrogen cachaça and lime.
Tableside it was when a lady came out with her cart and prepared it right in front of us. It looked like she was mixing a potion because for part of the demonstration, I couldn’t even see her as all the smoke from the nitro just covered her up. The drink reminded me of a very creamy granita and as the ice melted away, it was a regular caipirinha.

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Not your everyday Caprese
Cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella
This was a great starter course to whet our pallets. The server recommended spooning a mozzarella ball, a cherry tomato, some pesto and a bite of the bread all in one bite so we can enjoy all the different flavors. I had no idea what a liquid mozzarella would be, but it’s pretty much a ball of mozzarella and when you bite into it, liquid comes out. Very interesting. Definitely one of the best plates from dinner.

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Tortilla de patatas “new way”
Potato foam, egg 63, caramelized onions
So apparently if you mix everything together in this egg concoction, it will taste like a tortilla? It kind of did, but it was more of a eggy cheese mixture, delicious though. I have never eaten a cooked egg out of it’s own shell.

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Japanese taco
Grilled eel, shiso leaf, cucumber, wasabi
This was allright, nothing too special. Loved the presentation though

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“Philly cheesesteak” Per Person
Air bread cheese, Kobe beef
This was heaven in one bite. The crispy air bread was filled with cheese and topped with thinly sliced Kobe beef. I love this twist on a traditional favorite.

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Artic char chick peas cake, cucumber Tzatziki
They brought this dish out with a cover over the plate and once the waiter removed it, a huge cloud of smoke escaped exposing this perfectly rare salmon. I think they used the smoke to cook it? The salmon was cooked just slightly and paired perfectly with the tzatziki sauce.

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Lamb loin foraged mushrooms, potato
There is actually lamb underneath all that potato and mushroom. I loved the tender pieces of lamb, but didn’t feel like it needed all the potato and sauce on top. Simple is always better

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Brussels sprouts
Lemon purée, apricots, grapes, lemon air
These were pretty good, nothing too special. The lemon air definitely gave the dish more pizazz. Like Steph said, it’s as good as brussels sprouts could be.

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Wild mushroom rice Idiazábal cheese
This was our last course and by then we were pretty full. Ironically, this dish had the most food on it, so we ended up boxing most of it up and taking it home. It reminded me of a creamy risotto with mushrooms. A little too rich and salty for my taste though. Brennan thoroughly enjoyed this when I got home. At least he can say he ate something from The Bazaar, right?

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We were then asked if we wanted any dessert and of course we couldn’t leave without finishing with something sweet. They told us to grab our stuff and led us to the patisserie, where many people were enjoying coffee, tea and various assortments of sweets.

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How cute are these lollipops? The price wasn’t so cute though…

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Nitro coconut floating island-this was awesome. No one even told us what the specialty items for dessert were, we just happened to order two of the most popular desserts on the menu, well they also sounded the most interesting. The white ball is actually hard on the outside but like air on the inside. It was a coconut flavored foam on top of flame broiled bananas in sugar on the bottom. On the side, there was a drizzle of passion fruit and a chocolate espresso glaze. I would never imagine these flavors together, but it worked so well. This dessert alone I would come back for.

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Hot chocolate mousse with Pear Sorbet and Salted Hazelnut Praline. This was a nice contrast to the fruity coconut dessert. I loved the pear pear “>sorbet and hazelnut praline combination. Once again, I would never think of pairing a pear sorbet with chocolate! Honestly, what doesn’t go well with chocolate?

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Volcano cookie
Steph only ordered this because it was $1! It was just as small as you would imagine a $1 cookie from this place would be. Sorry for the bad picture, I know it must not look that appetizing, but it was a tasty chocolate bite.

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This was definitely a different dining experience. Our dinner lasted almost 3 hours which was nice since we got to catch up. They like to stagger their dishes, so if you are in a hurry, I wouldn’t recommend this place. You have to be able to appreciate fine dining as well when you go to The Bazaar. The food is pretty expensive, but you pay for the atmosphere and the food is also great as well. I’ll definitely make a trip back just to have coffee and sit at their dessert bar or have drinks at the bar.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2009 12:51 pm

    I am so glad we talked you into going!! You ordered some of my favorite dishes..love the Brussels sprouts, Philly cheese steak & the tortilla egg. And that nitro caipirinha packs a wallop. They don’t use ice when freezing it so it never gets watered down. Mmmm!

    • andee permalink
      October 23, 2009 2:44 pm

      Thanks for the rec! We loved it, hopefully I can go back soon to try some of their other dishes!

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