This last weekend, J and I returned to Los Angeles to celebrate one of my best friend's weddings. Somehow this fun-loving little kid from my childhood is now a married man. What's more, we attended the wedding with another one of my best friends who has recently become a father. Suffice it to say, this weekend was a wonderful - if not shocking - reminder that times they are a-changin.
When change is in the air, I think we all appreciate things that remind us of the stability of home. Since home is now Washington, D.C., what better way to feel at home than to visit Jose Andres' new LA restaurant, The Bazaar.
After The Bazaar opened in late 2008, it received a very rare 4 star review from the LA Times. Shortly thereafter we promised my parents that we'd take them there. This weekend they cashed in.
It goes without saying that we love Jose Andres and his restaurants (see here, here, here, and here) so we were eager to see what he would do in Tinseltown. Even more, we were looking forward to sharing his culinary artistry with my parents.
The appropriately named Bazaar is many things. It is part bar, part lounge, part art gallery, and of course, part restaurant. For those of us in DC lucky enough to have sampled Chef Andres' offerings, we found the menu - split between traditional and modern tapas - to be a tasting menu mainly consisting of adaptations from Jaleo and Minibar. As always, the flavors, textures, and artistry were outstanding but having access to the entire world of Jose Andres rather than a single (though diverse) menu has left us spoiled. Other than the eclectic environment (imagine if Cirque du Soleil designed a restaurant), it was hard not to pity the City of Angels for only having a singular taste of our DC master.
Still, for the uninitiated, Bazaar is unequivocally top-notch in a town that is not devoid of dining options. To borrow from the words of my father, it was "a rare and exciting culinary experience amongst LA's glitterati in a very hip venue. What fun to tantalize the taste buds with such wonderful combinations of gastronomical delights. The restaurant was aptly named and interestingly imbued with the theme of eclectic forms, sights, smells, and exotic flavors." While my father may be prone to a little hyperbole, Chef Andres' expertise is clear. And that sentiment certainly has a familiar ring to it.
Like B said, The Bazaar was like a taste of home. Though the dishes were familiarly fabulous, the setting was like another planet when compared to some DC restaurants. Everything about the restaurant (including the staff and most customers) was trendy and beautiful.
After chatting with our adorable waiter, we found out he was from Maryland. I asked how he ended up working in Jose Andres' LA outpost. His response was classic LA: "Well, like almost every person working here, I'm trying to be an actor." While working in LA's four star hotspot is sure to get you noticed, the staff at The Bazaar have to work extra hard to outshine the food. In a city of rockstars, Jose Andres holds his own.