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With his minibar insideCafe Atlantico, Jose Andres has a well-earned reputation for experimenting with food and science, but with the opening of The Bazaar in Los Angeles, the celebrity chef toys with the very idea of a restaurant itself. The concept, as described on The Bazaar’s Web site, is a “collection of magical dining experiences, entwined in a modern-day, European-inspired ‘indoor piazza.'” Translation: You eat, drink, and snack your way across a hotel lobby. It’s sort of like migrating from one tapas bar to another in Spain, I’d guess.
Frankly, it’s a little hard to imagine the place without pictures and a journalist’s knack for cutting through the marketing BS. Thank God some of our colleagues in the City of Angels have already started to chime in on Andres’ new baby.
Eater L.A.: “The best way to describe the whole concept: Gastronomic playground. Huge menu with a wide array of traditional tapas (for Rojo) and “modern” tapas (Blanca). Hits: bread with tomatoes and jamon Iberico; sea urchin in a can with what was, in essence, a pico de gallo; fideo paella; carrot fritters; Catalan spinach; juicy homemade sausage and white beans. Misses: tough pork cheeks; way over salted sea scallops; “world’s greatest” stuffed olives just basically stuffed olives (but the spherification olives get us every time). There are some kinks to work out, but overall, good stuff. Exciting stuff. Escorted to the Patisserie: split a few bon bons for dessert, saffron candy in edible paper was a fun twist.
Thrillist: “Semi-partitioned by curtains, Bazaar’s a sprawling enclave festooned with ADD-friendly surprises like Viking-horned chairs and LED screens flashing 17th Century paintings transforming into monkeys. Because sitting still for ten minutes totally sucks, your bill follows you around as you enjoy three mini-venues, each with distinct small-plates menus…”
Chowhound:“At this point, Chef José Andrés decided to pay our table a visit! He was very cordial, asked us how we enjoyed everything so far, and posed for a few photos with Mrs. J.L. & myself. Mrs. J.L.’s mom is a big fan of Chef Andres back in Madrid – she’ll be truly excited to see the photos. I asked where he obtains the jamon Iberico de bellotas; it turns out that the jamon is imported by the Chef himself.”