Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Experience @ The Bazaar

The Bazaar
SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills
465 S. La Cienega Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90048

There is a restaurant in Spain called El Bulli that is helmed by Chef Ferran Adrià. He is well known for creating culinary foam and often referred to as the founder of molecular gastronomy. I've been dreaming of going there to experience molecular gastronomy at its finest. Unfortunately Spain is a bit out of reach, and even if I did go, it would be very difficult to get a reservation. They are only open 6 months out of the year, and is booked well over a year in advance (sometimes longer). In January, I read that El Bulli will be closing it's doors for 2 years (opening back in 2014). I'm not quite sure what Chef Adrià has up his sleeves, but I'm positive it will be nothing short of genius. 

My curiosity of molecular gastronomy does not stop at El Bulli. When I heard that Chef José Andrés (he trained under Chef Ferran Adrià at El Bulli) was opening The Bazaar, I was excited to finally get a chance to experience something completely new. I'm not sure why it took me sooooo long (over 2 years since it opened) to eat at The Bazaar. I think it was partly because I was waiting for a special occasion and I assumed that it would be really expensive. 

Anyhow, the opportunity finally presented itself when my sister and one of our closest friends decided to meet for dinner. It had been over a year since my sister and I had seen her, so we were all excited. Luckily they were both up for a "dining experience" and this special occasion was marked by a reservation at The Bazaar. I was so happy to be able to cross this restaurant off my list. 

The great thing about taking pictures is the ability to capture moments that you can look back at a later time and be reminded of how you felt at a particular moment. Here is a look into my dining experience at  The Bazaar.
Bellini ($16) Fresh Peach Juice,  a very cute Japanese peach and sparkling wine
We all started off our night with a bellini which tasted absolutely wonderful. It's exactly what I needed after a long day at work. There was a small little Japanese peach inside which was definitely a treat when you reached the bottom of the glass. We had a few of these. 
Japanese peach inside bellini
This is the peach inside the bellini. It had a wonderful sweetness to it, and was especially good after soaking in the sparking wine.
Apple "Nigiri" ($13) Yellowtail, compressed apples. ginger foam, shiso and lemon
Whenever I order raw fish, yellowtail is always one of my choices; however, I wasn't a fan of this dish. I loved all of the components separately, but in my opinion, it didn't work well together.  It wasn't the best way to start off the meal that I had been looking forward to for so long, but the dishes that followed made up for it.
Mussels with olive oil, vinegar, and pimenton ($8)
I'm really a big on seafood, so I was excited to try this. I loved the presentation of the canning, but I think the olive oil drowned the mussels in this dish. I would have opted to get the sea urchin, but unfortunately due to the tragedy in Japan, it was not available at the time.
Sea scallops w./ Romesco Sauce ($14)
Now we're talking!!! This was the first dish that made me smile. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the romesco sauce was the perfect pair.
Cotton candy Foie Gras ($5 each)
I love love love Foie Gras. I've had it prepared in so many different ways, but never would I have imagined it being paired with cotton candy. The interplay of sweet and savory was well executed, and I really appreciated this dish. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this dish since I tried it, and will probably continue to think about it until I have it again.
Not your everday Caprese ($12) Cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella, pesto, and fresh basil
Pure genius. This is definitely "not your everyday Caprese". It was AMAZING. This is the reason why I came to The experience something completely out of the ordinary. Chef Andrés takes the most simple dishes, dissects the natural components, and creates a complete masterpiece. The combination of the skinned cherry tomatoes, pesto, and liquid mozzarella was like a party in your mouth. The flavor was spot on. It seriously is the best Caprese salad I have ever eaten.  The next time I dine at The Bazaar, I will be ordering this dish for myself. There will be no sharing.
American caviar cone ($9 each)
This was delicious. It was served in a wafer thin cone that had a touch of creamy creme fraiche underneath the roe. I can't wait to go back and try the bagel and lox cone.
Philly Cheesesteak ($8 each) Air bread, Cheddar, and Waygu Beef
This was another highlight of the night. This is the most sophisticated Philly Cheesesteak that I have ever had. The air bread was hollow. It pretty much crumbled when you bit into it, and what you find inside is white melted cheddar that goes perfectly with the waygu beef. I could have eaten five of these on my own.
Sauteed shrimp ($14) Shrimp with garlic and guindilla pepper
This dish was pretty solid. The shrimp was cooked perfectly and the chili had a good kick to it. My only regret is that I didn't ask for bread to sop up the sauce. Yum!
Speciality Drink served table side
My sister saw the people dining next to us have a drink prepared table side, so she decided to have one of her own. The liquid nitrogen that was used created all that smoke. It was really cool to watch. 
Caipirinha ($20) Brazilian cachaca, fresh lime and sugar frozen by using Liquid Nitrogen
This was the finished product. The liquid nitrogen turned the alcohol into a smooth slushy consistency. It was quite delicious, and refreshing.
Braised Waygu Beef Cheeks ($18) California Citrus
Waygu beef is known for its marbling characteristics which makes for a very rich flavor and tender texture. While this dish was definitely tender, I wasn't in awe with the taste. It wasn't as good as I had expected it to be. I'm a red meat eater, so next next I will definitely try Beef Hanger Steak. After dinner, our waiter asked us if we wanted anything else. We mentioned that we wanted to try their desserts, and he told us that they would set a table for us. A few minutes late, we were escorted to the Patisserie. Wow! Now that's what you call service.
Salted Chocolate Caramel with Edible Paper ($3 each)
This was delicious. It was a bit much for $3 a pop, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Red Velvet Cupcake ($6)
I'm not a fan of red velvet anything. I went though a phase in my life where I was in search of the best red velvet cupcakes and ate way too many for my own good. Naturally,  I got so sick of it and never ate another one. Since there were three of us, we each picked a dessert, and my friend picked the red velvet. It was surprisingly delicious. The cream cheese frosting on top was good, and the cupcake reminded me of a filipino dessert called "puto". I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would definitely order this again. I could have sworn that I wrote off red velvet a long time ago, but I was clearly mistaken. =)
Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta ($12) Served with Apricots and Muscat gelatin
I was recently introduced to Greek Yogurt, and have been addicted to it every since. I've been eating it for breakfast for the past 3 weeks. It's just that good. Anyways, every time I see Panna Cotta on a dessert menu, I always order it. I'm a sucker for it, so you could only imagine how happy I was to see Greek Yogurt and Panna Cotta together as one. I really enjoyed the tanginess of this dessert. The apricots and muscat gelatin was a nice touch.
Another look at the Greek yogurt panna cotta

Nitro Coconut Floating Island ($12) Passion fruit and vanilla
This was an interesting dessert. I'm digging the whole nitrogen thing. This was basically coconut ice cream that was frozen with nitrogen which made the outside look hardened. When you break it open, it was soft and fluffy inside. The caramelized bananas, and passion fruit puree combined with the airy coconut worked well together. It was a good ending to our dinner. 
Overall, I was very happy with this experience. There were definitely some dishes that stood out more than others. I would highly recommend the cotton candy foie gras, not your everyday caprese, philly cheesesteak, and the nitro floating island for that OH MY GOD experience. It's definitely out of the ordinary. I thought that the meal would be a lot more expensive than it ended up being, but I thought the price was definitely reasonable. I don't mind spending money on good food, especially on things I've never tried before. This was definitely one experience I will never forget. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I felt like I went on that journey of food with you! Thanks for I'm hungry and want a wine-soaked Japanese peach and a frozen Caiparinha.