Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Baazar - South Beach - as good as it gets * * * *

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Four FANTASTIC meals including three in one week, two with chef José Andrés in the house and one that was EPIC in every way.  The Bazaar opened last month in the brand new SLS Hotel on the corner of 17th St. and Collins Ave. in South Beach.  I'm not going to bother discussing the forty or so dishes I've tried thus far because it would take me forever to do and it would probably put you to sleep.  Plus almost every dish was great to outstanding.  Instead, I will simply tell you that it is as good as food gets and a complete culinary treat from start to finish in every way.

Service has been equally impressive (with the exception of the busboy who removed half filled gin and tonics from the table on two occasions during my first visit) thanks to general manager Giancarlo Pagani and his friendly team.

Kudos to chef de cuisine, David Thomas, who was previously at Tomas Keller's Ad Hoc, for executing this extensive menu almost flawlessly from the start while continuing to improve with each visit. Thomas and his kitchen crew quickly made The Bazaar one of the best restaurants in town.

It was also great to meet and chat with Minibar chef  Jorge Hernandez who was in town to assist with the opening and menu tweaking.  Great guy and great chef.  Remember that name food fans.

Of course, the biggest treat of all was meeting chef Andrés on two occasions and having the opportunity to discuss food with him along with his overall philosophy and vision.  Hearing about the teaching and work he continues to do in Haiti was impressive and touching.  Nevertheless, the highlight was being invited to join him at his table where I witnessed an exciting rapid fire session where every dish and cocktail was brought to the table for him to taste and tweak.  Inspiring.  Oh and the best "scraps" I've ever had.

The food, creativity and passion of chef Andrés plus the super South Beach setting, easily make this one of the best all around dining experiences in the country.

                                          sls hotel

As promised, I am not going to bore you with details about each dish since I've enjoyed too many.  The following is a photo recap via my iPhone of my first four visits.  I missed some shots of great dishes along the way and contrary to my dining partner in crime for three of these meals, Steve "Blind Tastes" BM, my flash was off for a majority of these shots.  Although I'm not a photographer and don't carry a fancy camera to restaurants, I still wanted to share my fantastic experience with you via my crappy shots.  Enjoy!!

Bull con lucha libre mask
Blanca room w/ shell chandelier

Tableside LN2 Caipirinha

The finished product. $5.00!!!!

The ultimate gin & tonic (great drink)

'colada cubano'-coffee with foie gras

Liquid mango nigiri- sea urchin, shiso, pickled sansho pepper

Corte de foie gras-tamarind, olive bread, mango chutney

Baby Japanese Peaches-fresh burrata, hazelnuts, arugula

Watermelon and Tomato Skewers-pistachios, caramelized tomatoes

Traditional Sui Mai-pork, shrimp, peanuts, water chestnuts

Sea Urchin Cream-seaweed, ponzu (on right)

'Bagel and Lox'-salmon roe, dill cream cheese

Aceitunas Rellenas-piquillo pepper, anchovy, olive oil

'Colada Cubano'-coffee & foie

Bao con Lechon-Chinese bun, pork belly

Yuca 'Churros'-with peanut butter and honey

Cuban Escabeche "Estefan's Way"-hamachi, pickled onions, sour orange

Kueh Pai Ti-Singapore's favorite street food-shrimp, peanuts, chili sauce & Croquetas de Wade Pollo

Sea Urchin-butter, black pepper, toasted bread

Dragon Fruit Ceviche-tuna, pecans, lime, hibiscus

Smoked Oysters-ice and smoke, apple mignonette

Sauteed Catalan Spinach-apples, pine nuts, raisins

Cuban Coffee Rubbed Churrasco-passion fruit

Black Rossejat-paella-style, squid ink, shrimp, alioli

Special off menu treat from Chef Andrés- His Traditional Cuban. Outstanding!

'Cubano'-Secreto de Iberico ham, Iberico ham, swiss, mustard, pickles

Tembleque-'jiggling cocnuts', mango, cinnamon

Chef Andrés tasting every dish!!

GM Giancarlo pouring Chef Andrés the best sangria!

We need salt!!!

Best seat in house!

Jose's Taco-caviar, jamon Iberico

Sauteed Shrimp-garlic, parsley, lemon, guindilla pepper

Bone Marrow-Hamakua Farms heart of palms, Florida citrus, capers

Baby Japanese Peaches part II!!

Ajo Blanco-Mango, sherry ravioli, king crab, fresh almonds

King Crab, raspberries

Empanada a la Gallega-"Spring Roll" soy sauce

Papas a la Huancaina-Peruvian potatoes, sea urchin

Not Your Everyday Caprese-cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella

Pisto-vegetable stew, tomato, eggplant, zucchini & golden egg

Liquid Mango Nigiri

Scallop-on the half shell, Caribbean dressing

Frozen Blue Cheese Sandwich-lemon marmalade, walnut bread

Jamon de Toro-salt-cured fatty tuna with Iberico fat, picos

Japanese Taco-grilled eel, shiso, cucmber, wasabi, pork, chicharrones

No clue

Tres Leches-Cuban rum, pineapple & 'tres leches' ice cream

Tembleque-jiggling coconut

Banana-Mojito-mojito sorbet, mint & caramelized bananas


Pre dinner New York Sour @ Bar Centro

Embutidos Platter - They nailed the Pa amb Tomaquet. Iberico ham, loin & chorizo perfecto 

Wild Mushroom Idiazabal cheese, organic egg yolk  
Onion Soup foie gras 'capuccino'  
Gazpacho Patricia with lobstahhh
Black Cod Alcaparrado cooked in plastic bag
Foie PB&J on Wonder Bread
Hyde Beach Pool Side Pops & Frozen Mixed Drinks

RUN to The Bazaar soon and often.  There are a tremendous amount of treats on the menu coupled with great service and a fantastic overall dining experience.  Four stars for sure!!    

The Bazaar (at the SLS Hotel)
1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach FL

The Bazaar by José Andrés (SLS Hotel) on Urbanspoon


LAX2MIA said...

This is epic! Great you got Wade's croquettes in there. I'll always appreciate the simplest thing extremely well executed and those croquettes were phenomenal.

SteveBM said...

The croquetas are great & a recipe from Mama Andres I believe.

Flash was on in nearly every shot! Let the truth be told! hahaha