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Is Bazaar Still Worth a Visit?

singleguychef Feb 19, 2013 11:40 AM

Hi, I'm going to be visiting LA for Easter weekend. On Easter, I made reservations at Bazaar. After reading some mix reviews, I'm wondering if it's still a good place for dinner? I thought it would be a special occasion place, which is why I went ahead with the reservations. What do you guys think? Is there any dishes to order or to avoid?

Also, I really want to get a reservations to ink for the next night (a Monday). They don't take reservations until two weeks in advance. Any tips about making reservations here to make sure a get a spot?

And while I'm at it, any hot places in LA right now I really should try? On my tentative list to possibly check out (if I have the time since I'm there just for the weekend) is Animal, A-frame, Gjelina, Tar and Roses, and UMAMIcatessan. Let me know which ones are "must try." Thanks!

  1. a
    AlkieGourmand Feb 20, 2013 12:02 AM

    This is maybe the most underwhelming restaurant I've been to in LA. The food was not very tasty.

    3 Replies
    1. re: AlkieGourmand
      singleguychef Feb 20, 2013 02:03 PM

      Oy, sounds like I should cancel. What would be similar in terms of a "special ocassion" spot? I'm taking my sister out for her birthday. Would Providence be better?

      1. re: singleguychef
        adelly Feb 21, 2013 07:15 PM

        Yes, Providence would be considered more "special occasion" and the food is phenomenal. If you like seafood, don't miss Son of a Gun. And if you like sushi, Sushi Zo is a must.

        1. re: adelly
          singleguychef Feb 22, 2013 01:38 PM

          Waah, so many good sounding options, my weekend is booked! I'm keeping these notes for a longer stay in LA! Thanks!

    2. f
      FranklinJefferson Feb 20, 2013 02:06 PM

      I will say, after trying both Bazaar and ink, if the term "special occasion" means there is a necessity for high-end decor or "scene-y" crowd then, by all means either one will fit the bill.
      If, however, you're more interested in the best representation of the kind of food both of those places are trying to present, let me suggest you consider Red Medicine...

      2 Replies
      1. re: FranklinJefferson
        singleguychef Feb 20, 2013 02:24 PM

        I just saw someone's else post about Red Medicine and started to read up on it. It actually sounds pretty exciting, so I think I might cancel Bazaar and try for a reservations there. Thanks! You're reading my mind!

        1. re: singleguychef
          nelehelen Feb 20, 2013 02:59 PM

          Totally agree. Red Medicine has amazing and delicious food!

      2. a
        andytseng Feb 20, 2013 02:14 PM

        I definitely would not consider Bazaar a special occasion place, but they have a few tasty, interesting things, particularly if you're into molecular gastronomy. On the other hand, Saam, the tasting menu experience inside Bazaar, is fun and a great way to have a crash course on all the things people typically associate with molecular gastronomy, and some solid, normal courses along the way.

        Providence and all the other things you have already looked up would provide good food (minus Umamicatessan), but their experiences are all very different, so maybe you could clarify on what you're looking for in that sense.

        Also, I have never had issues getting reservations at Ink.

        1. Porthos Feb 20, 2013 02:47 PM

          Red Medicine, Sotto, Gjelina for "hot places" with substance and downright delicious food. They are also more in line with your favorite Bay Area restaurants.

          Bazaar and Ink are more for show and scene.

          Depends what you're into.

          1. nelehelen Feb 20, 2013 03:04 PM

            I just recently went back to Providence for their seasonal tasting menu and it was fantastic. It is definitely bougie and expensive, but the food, to me, is always superb. I recommend getting the seasonal tasting as opposed to the full chef's tasting.

            Do/Can you eat raw fish? If so, my absolute favorite Japanese restaurant right now is N/Naka in West LA. It's pricey as well, but a fantastic meal.

            1. t
              taylorhameggandcheese Feb 20, 2013 07:15 PM

              ...agree with going to Providence.

              if you're only here for a weekend what side of town are you staying on? A-Frame, Gjelina, Tar and Roses on the Westside...UMAMIcatessan downtown and Animal Fairfax district...just something to think about so you're not spending so much time in the car.

              ...on your list above, I've been to them all, the 1 I'm craving again right now is Animal...

              5 Replies
              1. re: taylorhameggandcheese
                singleguychef Feb 21, 2013 11:20 AM

                I'm staying with my sister who will be in Marina Del Ray, so that's why I am leaning toward places in Santa Monica, westside area. But I know we'll probably have to head east to get some Chinese food. :)

                1. re: singleguychef
                  t
                  taylorhameggandcheese Feb 21, 2013 12:03 PM

                  Makes sense. Since you are on that part of the Westside you could also check out Superba Snack Bar, maybe for lunch..It's located on Rose which is pretty much where Santa Monica ends and Venice begins. They've spent the past couple of years building it up.

                  Another tip, I love this website. He pretty much hits every restaurant in LA and has been to each of the ones you listed and has great write ups and photos that give you at least of sense of the vibe of the restaurant and if it's a place you want to hit:

                  http://www.kevineats.com/2012/07/supe...

                  1. re: taylorhameggandcheese
                    wienermobile Feb 21, 2013 12:25 PM

                    +1 for Superba Snack Bar. Great Pasta dishes. They are open for lunch on only Fridays and brunch on Sat & Sun... plus dinner every evening.
                    http://superbasnackbar.com

                    I also recommend MB Post, Not far from Marina Del Rey in Manhattan Beach. Very original farm to table small plates. Wonderful seafood dishes too. One of LA's best.
                    http://eatmbpost.com

                    1. re: wienermobile
                      singleguychef Feb 21, 2013 01:50 PM

                      Thanks, interesting options.

                    2. re: taylorhameggandcheese
                      singleguychef Feb 21, 2013 01:49 PM

                      Thanks, Yeah, I've actually browse through kevineats blog before. He has great photos but his site is kind of hard to navigate to find recent, hot restaurants. Otherwise, I do like his thorough reports.

                2. m
                  miteymike Feb 21, 2013 01:52 AM

                  if you're still planning to go after reading some others, eat before going.

                  1. singleguychef Mar 27, 2013 09:34 PM

                    I have reservations for ink on Easter and Red Medicine the next night (Monday).

                    But now my sister wants me to make reservations for Saturday, and I was planning to just play it loose instead of making reservations. Of course, at this late date, it's hard to get reservations.

                    I'm wondering of the following places, which do you guys think we'd have a better chance to walk in for three with not too crazy of a wait?

                    Gjelina
                    Tar and Roses
                    Superba Snack Bar
                    MB Post

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: singleguychef
                      Porthos Mar 27, 2013 09:37 PM

                      Gjelina is your best choice if you walk in before 6. After that, you're taking a solid 1-2 hour wait.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        cookie monster Mar 27, 2013 09:47 PM

                        Ditto for Superba Snack Bar. You should be ok if you walk in before 6 (they open or dinner at 5:30 I believe)

                      2. re: singleguychef
                        a
                        andytseng Mar 27, 2013 10:03 PM

                        All those places are tough.

                        With the recent Twitter/Red Medicine hullabaloo, people have been claiming that there are plenty of empty seats there, so maybe you could move RM to Saturday, and try one of the other places on your list on Monday.

                      3. westsidegal Mar 27, 2013 10:32 PM

                        dunno your schedule, but the way i approach gjelina is to go there at a little before 2pm.
                        after 2:30 they switch to an abbreviated menu.

                        they go back to full menu at 5:30
                        by 6pm they are completely jammed until 10pm when they go back to their abbreviated menu.

                        1. singleguychef Apr 15, 2013 11:11 AM

                          Thought I'd give an update on my weekend in LA and what I ended up doing.

                          So for Saturday dinner, we ended up giong to Gjelina in Venice. We got there at 6 p.m. and waited an hour, which was fine because luckily the nearby stores stayed open until 7 p.m. I really enjoyed our meal there. The food reminds me a lot of what I get up here in the Bay Area (seasonal, local ingredients). I especially like the pate, which I'm normally not a pate person, but it really tasted good with great texture.

                          We went to ink. on Easter dinner and it was a nice dinner. The menu is really interesting and presentation is different and creative. Overall I liked most of what we ate, but there were a few dishes where the menu description seemed complicated but it didn't totally deliver on every flavor mentioned. I really liked the hamachi with asparagus fried in squid ink batter.

                          Had reservations for Red Medicine on Monday night and it's a cool space and friendly service, but I was a bit disappointed by the food. It was creative and interesting in presentation, but most times it was too much of everything. LIke too much fish sauce in the Brussels sprouts, or too much sauce in the young turnips, or too much aioli or some kind of cream in the base of the charred uni in fish bowl. Maybe it was an off night given the comments on this board, but I felt all the dishes would have benefited with some restraint or balance of flavors. The only real dish I liked was the coconut dessert, which reminded me of haupia in Hawaii, which I like.

                          Also, we went to Din Tai Fung for Shanghai soup dumplings for Easter lunch in Arcadia and everything we ordered was done well. I tried the Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong and I felt the soup dumplings at this location was better than what I had in Hong Kong. And the hand-made noodles are always good.

                          There were a lot more places I wanted to try (A-frame, Son of a Gun) but couldn't convince my sister to always make the long drive since she's over at Marina Del Ray. Hopefully will be back again soon to check them out!

                          Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

                          http://focussnapeat.com

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