If you’re tired of your regular spot and are looking for a fun and unique dining experience to spice up your weekend, then look no further! Jose Andres’s, Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a revolution in food preparation and presentation.
Before I attempt to explain the technical aspects of Andres’s approach and his ability to handcraft the divine flavors of my favorite dishes, I feel obligated to describe the incredible atmosphere at The Bazaar. To simply describe it as unique would be an understatement because, without an ounce of exaggeration, I can say that there are almost no two chairs that are exactly the same in any one of its four fabulously decorated rooms — including a dessert bar! Every inch of the sprawling restaurant exudes extravagance — from its ornate chandeliers, retro wall paper and uniquely crafted chairs, The Bazaar has left no stone unturned when it comes to having an unparalleled dining atmosphere.
As if the unbelievable atmosphere isn’t reason enough already to make The Bazaar your next birthday, graduation or anniversary destination, let me tell you a little bit about what makes their food every bit as unique as their atmosphere…
Andres’s Bazaar is known for its modern take on traditional Spanish tapas. To this end, Andres has become famous for his use of an incredibly delicate technique called molecular gastronomy which transforms his dishes into true culinary creations. As awesome as it sounds and as amazing as it tastes, I am barely able to understand the chemistry of how it happens. Although, after a bit of research and a dictionary at my fingertips, I can finally explain how one of my favorite dishes, the “Not Your Every Day Caprese,” is made.
As you might have been able to guess, it consists of tomatoes and mozzarella BUT in no ordinary fashion. This dish requires a technique called spherification, which results in a small, translucent ball of mozzarella that seems to be held together, as if by magic. As much as I wanted to believe that, I recently learned that this is possible by combining calcium chloride and liquified mozzarella, and then immersing it into a mixture of water and alginate. Minutes later, a mozzarella filled, tasteless gel capsule the size of a grape forms and remains as such until punctured, at which point it pops, and delicious mozzarella explodes in your mouth — Yes, it is just as magical as it sounds!
These spherified mozzarella balls are served with equally sized, succulent cherry tomatoes, resting on a thin layer of creamy pesto sauce, and accompanied by a miniature crouton. The knowledgable waiters at The Bazaar will instruct you about the method of preparation (of all your dishes), as well as the proper way to eat this dish — carefully scoop up a mozzarella ball, cherry tomato, dollop of pesto and a mini crouton onto a single spoon and — voila — you have your perfect bite.
Another seemingly magical item on the Bazaar menu is the Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) Caipirinha — a combination of Brazilian cachaca, fresh lime juice and sugar, blended with liquid nitrogen to form a delicate, flavorful and strong, frozen cocktail tastier than any frozen margarita you have ever had before. The best part about ordering this futuristic drink is that it is made table-side! You get to watch as a magician with a whisk stirs the liquid nitrogen with the other ingredients as the frozen smoke spills over the mixing bowl. It is then scooped into a glass and served to you with a tiny wooden spoon for consuming.
With every dish more exquisite and delicious than the last, you’ll have plenty of tapas to choose from to create your very own culinary adventure at the SLS’s Bazaar. Despite the seemingly outrageous combinations and preparations, I have yet to taste a dish I didn’t absolutely love — from cotton candy coated foie gras, to jicama wrapped guacamole bites, and even passion fruit and espresso foam Wagyu beef — everything somehow, magically fits together like pineapple on pizza (only SO much better).
Address: 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Type: Spanish Tapas
Price Range: $18 – $100
Must Haves: Caviar Cones, LN2 Caipirinha, Not Your Every Day Caprese, “Philly Cheesesteak,” Cotton Candy Foie Gras, Brussel Sprouts, Croquettes De Pollo, Papas Canarias
Reservations: Yes – Tough
Full Bar: Yes
Dessert Bar: YES!
Parking: Street, Valet