***** (5 stars)
The is an enormous restaurant that feels surprisingly intimate due to clever use of draperies and display cases as partitions. It definitely has an upbeat vibe, but isn’t deafening, and doesn’t make you feel like you’re not cool enough to be there.
Let’s get this out of the way first: it’s not cheap. In particular I thinking of the “cones” that look like little ice cream cones but are filled with ingredients like caviar. The operative word is “little”. They are literally smaller than your thumb, and couldn’t possibly be considered more than one bite, and not a very big bite at that. At $9 each they simply aren’t worth it, even if they are good.
But moving on, there are some much more noteworthy items on the menu. It’s divided between traditional tapas and modern tapas. The modern items were so interesting we just kept exploring, and never got to the traditional side of the extensive menu.
Scallop ceviche was Peruvian style with an unusual creamy but very tart broth. There were only a few bites of fish in the large bowl, but the tart broth made that seem like plenty.
The most inventive item we tried was the foie sandwich, which looked just like a Wonder Bread sandwich, but the bread was made of a somehow soft apple meringue! A thin layer of foie gras and jam was just enough.
Four raw oysters were served under a smoke-filled glass dome. The released smoke makes everyone around you want them, too!
Pork Bahn Mi Buns were three mini sliders with traditional flavors.
The octopus toast was extremely tender, and a generous serving. Raw jalapeno slices added a kick.
Squash tempura blossoms were stuffed with a cheese and olive mixture. The pungent olives overwhelmed the delicate flavors of the squash.
Philly cheesesteak is their signature dish, and it’s easy to see why. Four thin slices of wagyu are served atop a football-shaped pastry filled with a sharp cheese sauce. Eat this over a plate!!! It was delicious.
The wine list is fairly extensive, although most prices are pretty high. However, the Spanish wines are priced quite fairly, and there are some real gems.
A large section of the restaurant has been devoted to a separate dessert room, so at the conclusion of your meal they can transfer your drinks over there for a second experience that is seamless. The only other place I’ve seen this done is Berns in Tampa.
The dessert room lets you survey an array of dozens of items to help decide what you want to order. The rose filled with chocolate mousse was good, but the mille-feuille with salted caramel filling was even better.
Service in both parts of the restaurant was professional, attentive and pleasant. This is definitely one of the more interesting dining experiences in LA.
The Bazaar by José Andrés
465 South La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90048