So writes Reuters’ lifestyle reporter Mary Milliken, who has this to say about The Bazaar in Beverly Hills:
Spanish celebrity chef Jose Andres worked on his Beverly Hills venture The Bazaar for two and a half years, only to open in the midst of the worst economic and financial downturn in decades.
But Andres may have found the recipe for a successful recession-era restaurant: offer customers a menu of options under one roof and offer them something they can’t find elsewhere.
I haven’t been to The Bazaar, but I’m tempted to call bullshit on this theory. From my perch here in D.C., diners still haven’t lost their taste for the new and media-hyped. As an example, I’ll throw out Ristorante Posto , the Italian hot spot on 14th Street NW opened by the owners of Tosca. I’ve only eaten there once, but the meal and service were average, at best. A couple of colleagues have reported similar experiences to me. And yet: The place is so packed, you typically have to wait 30 minutes for a table—-even on a weeknight.
I’m not trying to disparage Andres or his team at The Bazaar. It sounds like a dynamite place. But it’s way too early to say The Bazaar holds the secret to navigating around a train-wreck of an economy, particularly given the huge amount of media attention the place has generated. Andres, in an interview with Reuters, seems to understand that this economy may be bigger and nastier than any celebrity chef and his latest Philippe Starck-designed playpen. Reports Milliken:
Alas, not even a celebrity and luxury shopping mecca like Beverly Hills is immune to this deep financial crisis. And although Andres, 39, has never been more popular thanks to his “Made in Spain” television series and cookbook, he can’t ignore the economic chill.
“Of course, I am worried. You can only not be worried if you are a multimillionaire not invested in anything and with cash in the bank,” said Andres, who is based in Washington D.C. where he opened a string of acclaimed restaurants over the last 15 years.
But a recent feverish Friday night at The Bazaar belied the economic downturn and Andres said he was pleased with the bustling crowd and the critics’ reviews in the first month.