I hadn’t been to the restaurant “The Bazaar” in LA yet (at the SLS Hotel) , it’s been open for at least a year or two, and I’ve been hearing rave reviews from everyone. “You have to have the sizzling mojito”, or “the salt air margarita made at your table with dry ice and lots of smoke is the absolute best!”, “it’s amazing, you walk around from room to room for various courses” are just some of the comments I’ve heard.
Walk around from room to room for different courses — what’s this, deconstructed dining? I’ve been avoiding it for two reasons, (1), “it’s expensive” (another phrase often heard) and (2) I hate attitude places and this sure sounded like an attitude place. But last night, with friends in town from South Africa, my friend Jonathan (who lives here, also ex South African) insisted we go there. “It’s a buzz, Caren, it has a vibe, the boys will love it”, so off we went. I was determined to hate it. Talking about attitude, you couldn’t find a bigger or badder one than the one I had on. The restaurant is designed by Philippe Starcke and the chef is Spanish Jose Andres who, this fall, is lecturing on culinary physics at Harvard in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. And that’s obviously where this “deconstruction” of food comes into play. For example, we ordered a thing that is called an olive, looks like an olive, but is a soft gel type thing that explodes in your mouth (delicately). On the same plate
was another type of olive, more solid, stuffed with an anchovy and served in an anchovy tin. The mozzarella cheese was another deconstruction, looks like, tastes like …… but is nothing like! Jonathan told me that a lot of the recipes come right out of science labs where they spend forever coming up with ways to deconstruct the food.
After a wide range of beyond delicious tapas we moved to the dessert area where the best we sampled was the nitro coconut floating island — a sumptuous mix of candyfloss and snow cone melted icily into our mouths, just like one would imagine clouds would taste. I think that was the hands down favorite taste of the evening.
My bad attitude melted away with this (whatever hadn’t already been blown away with the explosion of tastes and textures during our tapas-type meal). It’s not the kind of restaurant one would visit on a weekly basis, but it’s certainly a fun place to go for a very different experience and a fun change of pace.
But explain to me, how did a few deconstructed tapas turn into an additional three pounds on my scale this morning?