Friday, February 27, 2009

The Saga Continues in Search for Perfection (Part II) @ The Bazaar By José Andrés (Los Angeles)

Please check out my 1st installment of the Review for Bazaar for the appetizers and starters.
Then check out the final installment of the Review for Bazaar for desserts.

The evening now progress to the meat and seafood sections of the tapas. The previous review reveal our delights in seeing the inventive molecular gastronomy of an olive being deconstructed and then rebuild in a liquid form. Now we get to see the flavors and taste of the more traditional tapas being presented.

The first one up was the Sauteed Shrimp being beautifully arranged on a transparent iced bowl plate. The plate looked like it was put in a freezer like a cold mug that most bars would do instead of adding ice to the beer. The shrimp is like is in a skewer, but wait there is a catch! That is not exactly a skewer stick, but rather a syringe where you can squirt out the little sauce as you took the bite of the shrimp.

Sautéed shrimp with Garlic Ajillo and Guindilla pepper ($12)

As we were about to settle down, a new lineup of seafood dishes started to fly out of the kitchen that is on our table as if was reminiscence of our experience of ordering a massive round of dim sum dishes.

First up we got the Codfish Fritters and the Norwegian Lobster. Both were very satisfactory with the lobster having cutely presented with a teacup of soup essence to add a little flavor like a sauce (although some of us treated like a soup, while others only want use it like a accompany sauce). Both were fried with light batters that is not to be too heavy. Just light enough for the great taste in a little bite.

There is also the sea scallops we have that was seared cooked very well. The sweet tomato-almond sauce that accompanied the scallops was amazing. It only enhanced the scallop that was excellent if it were served by its lonesome self.

"Buñuelos" codfish fritters with honey alioli ($8)

Norwegian Lobster with Seaweed and Soup Essence ($16)

Sea scallops with "Romesco" Tomato-Almond Sweet Pepper sauce ($12)

Our servers were excellent and very knowledgeable at the dishes that we have ordered. All of them took their time painstakingly explaining each of our dishes. Our server was also very entertaining lady as she enchanted us with her story of her first paella.

As she presented our dish of Rossejat de Fideos where she proceed to mixed it up and divided equally among all of the little plates. If you looked at the picture, I don't blamed you for thinking this looked like a fried noodles at a Chinese restaurant with a shrimp on it. In fact it almost feel and taste like a Chinese vermicelli noodle that I get sometime for only $3. The texture of the noodle was a little rough. It was the only dish we didn't really find anything awe or feel satisfied.

'Rossejat' de fideos - Paella-style pasta with shrimp, cooked in seafood broth ($12)

Out of the darkness came the best dish of the night out of nowhere. It was the Lobster Medallion. I think I was a hog with my dining mates as I took one bite of this beautifully season lobster with a touch of foam (it disappeared by the time I took the photo), immediately I want to take another piece. It was the most delicious thing out of all the seafood dishes that we have ordered. The potatoes that sit beneath the lobster was not bad, but you got to order the Lobster Medallions when you can.

Galician Lobster Medallions with Olive Oil crushed potatoes and paprika ($15)

We took a moment when all of the seafood dishes were cleared from our table after we were finished. Finally there was a lull as we waited for the carnes dishes to come out. As we took a few photos, a manager stopped by. He looked like the maitre'd that we have seen in Hell's Kitchen with smooth European accent. This gentlemen convey to us that it was the chef's wishes that no photos on the food, but we can take a picture of anywhere in the restaurant.

What does it all mean? No Photos policy back in effect? The ambiguity was hard to understand at first. Based on the carefully worded sentiment given by the gentlemen, it looked like it's only the chef's wishes (José Andrés) that no photos were to be taken of the food. He can't really enforced the rule once he mentioned that we can take photos of the restaurant.

Simply this, if I decided to take photos of the table and the servers presented the dishes on the table, the food is going to be get in the way of our photos. It really didn't make any sense unless it's a full strict rule on "No cameras". By the way, I doubt any of the servers or staff would be inclined to play the hall monitors in checking for cameras. In fact, I showed one of the pastry chef my photos of his works and many of the servers also had positioned the dishes at such of way that they know the pictures will be taken. Yes, the servers might be working up for the gratuity fee, but they also don't want the performances to be based on the misunderstanding of a weird policy.

No clear policy at this point until they can put a strict "no camera" rules like some places with cell phones.

Finally, our meat dishes have come out of the kitchen. At first we were a bit befuddled when we saw a cream like substances over what it looked like a chocolate. Did the desserts comes early? No, it was the lamb loin hiding in the potato puree. The lamb was delicious as well, so we are on a high note at this point. The potato was strained to a nice looking creamy potato sauce, which is a much better way serving it than having a gravy.

Lamb loin with foraged mushrooms and potato puree ($14)

My two final dishes for the main course tapas were the beef hanger steak and the Butifarra pork sausage. The hanger steak cooked on the rare side with demonstration of the beautiful juice and redness on the meat makes it very mouthwatering for me when I first saw it. Along with the lobster medallion, this was one of the highlight dish of the night for me. Just well executed.

The pork sausage was delicious as well, but the beans was a little salty for my taste. I think it would have worked well if that dish had either used a different bean or just a little less salt on the beans.

Beef hanger steak with piquillo pepper confit ($10)

"Butifarra" pork sausage with white beans and ceps Senator Moynihan ($9)

So far, so good. With our main savory courses done, now it's on to the sweets.

I hate to play the game like the hostess at Osteria La Buca who teased you by promising you it will take 15 minutes for your table, but in actuality it will take a hour. I will finish the desserts and the Patisserie room later on when I finish uploading the rest of the photos.

In the mean time, do check out my 1st installment of the Review for Bazaar as well.
Then check out the final installment of the Review for Bazaar for desserts.

The Bazaar by José Andrés
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5567


gourmetpigs said...

Man, for someone who claims to eat at hole-in-the-walls unlike me you sure are having a FEAST here!! I need to go back and try their lobster medallion.

Unknown said...

I really really really really like the food at Bazaar. The day we went, maybe the chef wasn't there? We had no trouble taking pictures of the food. Can't wait to go back again! Did you have dessert? Is that part 3?

Right Way to Eat said...

Awww Burumun!

You know I'm still a hole in the wall guy. After this meal, I definitely will be a hole in the wall guy for the rest of the year. Yeah, I really needed a huge group to have this kind of meal so that everyone can ordered different things. It was the only way for it to work.

Do try the Lobster Medallion!

Hey Eileen,

We went around the same time as you. I believed the Chef was in Miami for a food festival down there. Maybe that was the reason he was not here.

Yes, the dessert is part 3 and is ready for the view public. LOL.

elmomonster said...

OK, I'm finally going today, and I'm re-reading your posts to study up on what to look for...but are they really asking people not to take photos of the food? That would be a bummer...part of the reason I want to go is to share my experience with people who have shared their experience.

Also I'm going to their brunch, less expensive I gather, since I'm not the one paying!

Right Way to Eat said...

Hey Elmo,

Glad you can make it up there!

Just as post shows, I don't think you will any problems taking pictures in that place because they are used to it. They figured not to mess with it after the Ainsette fiasco up in Santa Monica (where it now get less coverage because of the early cameras ban).

You're not paying??...damn I would have gone too if the tab included one more monster. LOL.

Glad you finally experienced it!