The Distinguished Gourmand: The Bazaar
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Perhaps it’s fitting that I review a restaurant today, because Restaurant magazine published its annual World’s 50 Best list this morning. Topping the list is Noma, an eatery in Copenhagen, Denmark that has ranked first in the world for three years in a row. The top restaurants in America include Per Se (NY), Alinea (IL), and Eleven Madison Park (NY). The only place on the list I’ve eaten is Blue Hill At Stone Barns (which moved up from #91 to #77 this year, cool!).
Although not included on this list, The Bazaar by Jose Andreas has won a number of awards since opening in the SLS Hotel three years ago. It was a “Best New Restaurant” James Beard finalist and won Esquire’s “Restaurant Of The Year” in 2009. Then inexplicably in 2010 it won Zagat LA’s “Top Newcomer” award and was ranked number 3 by GQ on their list of the ten best new restaurants in America. Go figure.
I’ve been trying weasel my way into dinner at Bazaar for some time. When my sister announced she was coming to town for my birthday I immediately made us a reservation. Then I had to change it, cancel it, renew it and change it once more before we finally got in, at 10:30 on Saturday night. Good things come to those who make, cancel, renew, and change.
Despite our reservation, we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table to clear in Rojo y Blanca, the main restaurant. We stood in Bar Centro mulling over the drink menu and watching as “salt air” margaritas and “liquid cherry” manhattans found greedy hands. When we were seated, our attention shifted to the food menu, and after much deliberation, we decided on about ten different dishes. The menu is broken down into Traditional Tapas and Modern Tapas. We leaned heavily towards the modern options, but tried to vary our order with a few traditional plates. Here’s how it went:
At this point our main course was complete, and we were asked if we wanted to move to the dessert room. Well, duh, obviously. We waited a few minutes while our table was cleared. Then a different hostess from the one who seated us ushered us to a table in the Patisserie, on the other side of Bar Centro. The menu here is broken up into smaller bites and heartier options. You can choose between a selection of chocolate bonbons, mini-tablettes, pastries and candies ($3 a piece), fruit ($1.50 each), cookies ($1 each) and cakes/tartes ($12). Or you can have a legit patisserie dessert and cupcakes. After ten minutes of mulling over all the different dessert options we made our decisions:
Overall I’d say The Bazaar provided a unique and fun dining experience. While most of the meal was phenomenal, a few plates less than spectacular. Flavors aside, what really sets this restaurant apart from most everywhere else in Los Angeles is the creativity factor. While The Bazaar isn’t WD50 or Aliena, it still offers the chance to enjoy progressive, modern cuisine, which is something not many chefs in this city are attempting right now. Hopefully with restaurants like the Bazaar, ink., and maybe on a much smaller scale Providence and Ludo-Bites, more menus will incorporate these elements in the future. Or, you know, I’ll just move to New York. Whichever comes first!
Landing – White Walls [MP3]
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