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Mar 13, 2009 08:14 AM

The Bazaar-stop the madness

Was there last night. The vibe is great. The decor engagingly eclectic. The service was on par for the price. The food was a let down after all the glowing phrases knocked around by the lemmings. In all we covered 16 different items, most of which were gleaned from the chaff on the various boards. Maybe I am spoiled, but the Bazaar had few, if any, OMG moments. It was steady and for the price enjoyable. It is not El Bulli, it is not Melisse, Spago, or for that matter TFL..

Come on people; let's not think that somehow this is Nirvana. Some honest notes from a non-lemming-

1. Tortilla de patats- mom's egg salad- (my mom makes great egg salad.)
2. Watermelon and seeds- it the gook inside a tomato on top of Watermelon.
3. Caprese- okay, I thought you throw out the buffalo water?
4. Cotton candy Foie- this was good and whimsical
5. American Caviar cones- go to TFL if not get them here
6. Pa'amb tomaquet- think bruschetta with Manchego
7. Sautéed shrimp, garlic, guindilla pepper- good deal, plump shrimp and garlic oil
8. Croquetas de pollo- this is well executed but traditional and not special
9. Olives “Ferran Adrià” old and new- If you have never had a spherification-try it- once you have tried it -stick with the traditional stuffed olives which were great.
10. Sliced apples and fennel- Looked really promising but the apples and the fennel had little apple and fennel flavor.
11. Sautéed cauliflower “couscous- Again for tapas is was really good.
12. Ottoman carrot fritters- Nice colors, lack some ommmff on the flavors (judging by the over 50s crowd in the place more flavors are a must)
13. Tuna ceviche and avocado roll- again bold flavors are lacking. Taste your food before it leaves the kitchen- to put together lovely plates and ingredients and then not spice them to bring out their layers is just wrong.
14. “Philly cheesesteak”- Everyone raves about this one. It’s cute and once again visually pleasing but the sharp oozing cheese masks the wagyu. (and I love gooey epoisse)
15. Hot chocolate mousse- it's hot Pudding with cubes of pears, nuts and rice crisps- this was good.
16. Apple Carlotta- Again a well put together dish- saffron hints- and overall a good end to an adequate meal.

All of the above (doubles on the Foie, Philly and Cones)-
$150 sans tax and tip

Had the Magic Mojito which was great, but not $16 great
The Caiproska- good but not $16 good.

Go there, try it for yourself and decide.

Would I go back with a mind free from everyones gasps and talks of greatness-yes. Would I stray more towards the traditional tapas- definately.

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  1. I went, I reviewed - and I certainly didn't say it was on par with TFL or Spago. It was a helluva lot better than Cantu's overhyped Moto though, and much cheaper. It is a good meal at a good pricepoint with some hits, few misses, and many "good but not greats."

    Good review - but really no need for the name calling as many including myself, Kevin, Liz, and others have certainly not called it Nirvana.

    9 Replies
    1. re: uhockey

      I would go back - although I totally disagree with Irene that this is 4 star dining, I enjoyed it, it was fun, not too expensive and some items were absolutely delicious - philly cheesesteak.

      1. re: lizziee

        She may be right in one respect. Four star Los Angeles is much different for four star just about anywhere else. But the experiences at Spago, Melisse, Provence..... are just different.

        As far as the Cheesesteak- i just thought the chesse was too sharp for the wagyu.

        1. re: coastcash

          "Four star Los Angeles is much different for four star just about anywhere else. "

          Can you expand on that?

          1. re: RicRios

            Everything in its context. Here are the NYC four star spots:
            Jean Georges
            Le Bernardin
            Per Se

            Can I really compare those experiences (i have not been to Masa in NYC) to The Bazaar- no way. But I am not trying to. Four Stars is different in every city.

            1. re: coastcash

              "Four Stars is different in every city"

              I'd rephrase: "Four Stars in different with every critic".
              I wouldn't equate "Ms. Virbila from Los Angeles Times" with "Los Angeles".

              1. re: RicRios

                dont know about that- if you go to the "top" spot in Paris, NYC, ect- they are so much different than L.A. Critics are who they are. But cities have vibes, all are different, expectations vary, formallities, service, ect. Take it for what it is worth but L.A. tends to have lower standards than other citys when it comes to "top" spots. IMHO

                1. re: coastcash

                  "the "top" spot in Paris, NYC, ect- they are so much different than L.A."

                  Vive la Différence!

                  "L.A. tends to have lower standards"
                  I'd say: LA tends to have a more relaxed attitude.
                  Like: I walk out of Spago or Providence or Craft LA as happy foodwise as I walk out of Le Meurice or Pierre Gagnaire or Senderens. However, there's less tension in the air. I wouldn't call that lower standards.

                  1. re: RicRios

                    tension is highly personal. A three star michelin has three stars for so monay reasons-- service, atmosphere, food, attention to the minute details, all the way down to carpeting. some may say relaxed is lazy. some may say relaxed is pretentious.

                    Bottom line is that i agree to disagree with everyone.

      2. re: uhockey

        First there was no name calling intended. Secondly, I respect and often follow peoples advice. Thirdly, I should have specifically stated that the "lemmings" I am referring to were not on this this board. I was referring to certain unnamed reviewers (SIV) and certain los angeles eating blogs who have gone gaga,

        Sorry if any offence was taken

      3. Wow! Just thought I'd let you know that I appreciate your review, but the tone is really off-putting, including the repeated use of "lemmings". What happened to different strokes for different folks?

        That being said, my wife and I went opening week, and had a great experience (key word being experience). Is it the best food I've ever had? Of course not. But as uhockey and others have pointed out, there are some hits, some "goods", and some misses ... just like every other restaurant (including Valhalla itself, TFL).

        edit: thanks for the clarification, and I know what you mean.

        15 Replies
        1. re: a213b

          I was actually debating the use of lemmings or sheep : ) . Lemmings are cuter. My point is that people just get taken up by this big wave of enthusiasm and personal experimentation is better than some over the top accolades which sometime smack of brown-nosing.

          That being said - I hope I did not offend any of the hard working bloggers, reviewers, or hounds. If I did Magic Mojitos for everyone-

          1. re: coastcash

            It's all good; I must have been posting my thoughts when you added your upthread post explaining what you meant (hence my edited comments).

            1. re: a213b

              No problem. I admit to being really spoiled jaded about food. I was lucky enough to be in college at a time and a place which defined a movement. Unfortunately, my lack of recent OMG moments has left me a bit maudlin. Time for a Langers Pastrami

              1. re: coastcash

                So if folks agree with you they are the among the discerning, whose eyes and taste buds are open to the "truth" about the food at Bazaar.

                And if they disagree with you they are the lemmings/sheep - who are following the herd over the cliff/about to be sheared, all led by their Critic Queen - the one eyed Sherry "My Name is Irene Dammit" Virbilia?

                1. re: Servorg

                  Not at all- I believe in well balanced reporting- I respect everyone's opinion- but after reading more than a few "reviews" in which The Bazaar could do no wrong- I went there which such high expectations that you may just have to call me one of the lemmings.

                  Also I think it is important to stop slamming the Lemming. In fact while many people believe that lemmings commit mass suicide when they migrate, this is not the case. Driven by strong biological urges, they will migrate in large groups.

                  1. re: coastcash

                    Hey, you handed out the pejorative lemmings. I was just making lemming aid out of the furry little fuc*ers.

                      1. re: trojans

                        OK if TFL was an enigma- FFS will fly by everyone ; )

                        1. re: coastcash

                          Strangely, that one is something I think I can figure out... : )

                            1. re: trojans

                              yep... The French Laundry goes over my head, but thow in an f'ing anything, and I have it pegged

                      2. re: Servorg

                        I here once they are in season that they will be spherified and served at The Bazaar

              2. re: coastcash

                When are we going?! Anyway, I do appreciate your review, as I haven't been, and I also appreciate the fact that I am not one of those lemmings who take SIV's word as gospel, in fact I think she, well, anyway that wouldn't be polite & the mods will probably kick me off again.

                I will consider it an "experience" if we do go, however, I have to say, in this economy, for those prices, the food better be f'ing awesome, with no regrets. Reason why I haven't been back to Sona & Grace. Good food/concept, just not living up to the hype, IMHO. And, there hasn't been a great "experience" since TFL.

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  I learned a long time ago that the "experience" is all encompassing- ie. who you are dining with, whether the market went up that day, ect.... ; ) That being said the price points for some of the courses were really reasonable considering the portions- the value, quality and taste lay on the traditional menu.. while the hype lies on the modern side. If you have never experienced molecular gastronomy, go and experience it, but realize that this is not WD-50, Alenia, or El Bulli - this class in the process is elementary and expensive at best.

                  1. re: coastcash

                    Thanks for the input, again, guess I'm not inclined to go in and think it'll be like TFL or Alinea, both of which, I've had no comparison.

                    But, it does sound like a fun night out, as long as you know what to expect. Again, if relying on a certain critic's review, you would think it was a gastronomic revelation, which seems a bit exaggerated. Will let you know my humble impressions if we decide to go one night, but there are so many spots on my list, Bazaar isn't going to be first in line.

                1. re: Jack Flash

                  Sorry I need to be more user friendly ; )- yes it is The French Laundry

                  1. I've been there twice now and would say it's wildly over-rated. Even the service last time was off. One of our dishes came out a bit of a wreck. A server (not our waiter) noticed and promised to be back with a replacement, which never arrived. I asked for it to be taken off the bill (fair since we didn't get it) and got an unbelievable huff of attitude from our waitress.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mattt

                      i had no problems with the service- but it was early and not very busy. the only extra warning would be to not heed the wait staff and do not order all at once- eventhough they say they will not bring it out quickly they do