To avoid the crowds on Valentine's Day, J and I decided to have our Valentine's day dinner early on Friday, 2/12. I made reservations for The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel on La Cienega since he has never been there. I always love coming here so I was excited when J gladly agreed on the restaurant choice.
ultimate gin & tonic
liquid nitrogen caiprinha
J got the ultimate gin & tonic and I got the liquid nitrogen caiprinha. The tableside preparation for my caiprinha was impressive and the slushee-like drink was delicious and strong. J's gin & tonic was extremely strong! He wasn't up for drinking so I ended up finishing his drink for him after I was done with mine and by dinner's end I was drunk!
mussels, olive oil, vinegar, pimenton
We started off with the mussels and what a great way to start. I've never had mussels prepared this way and was pleasantly surprised. I loved the vinegar in this dish - it created another dimension for me. J, being a mussels lover, really enjoyed this dish.
norwegian lobster, seaweed salad, lobster essence
The lobster was tender and the seaweed salad underneath provided a nice texture. But the star of the dish was the lobster essence broth. We were instructed to take a bite of the lobster and sip the broth and honestly, I could have just had a whole bowl of the broth by itself! As a seafood fanatic, I absolutely loved the strong aroma and taste of the ocean in the broth.
sea scallops, romesco sauce
The scallops were perfectly cooked and the romesco sauce was full of flavor. It was a good dish, but didn't really stand up to the wonder that was the lobster essence in the previous dish.
philly cheesesteak, air bread, cheddar, wagyu beef
I always order the philly cheesesteak when I dine here. The thin crust of the "air bread" which houses the cheesy goodness topped with thinly sliced Wagyu beef on top is a wonderful and delicious take on the philly cheesesteak classic. This time around the cheese was a bit salty and overwhelmed the dish.
sauteed wild mushrooms, almond praline
The mushrooms were perfectly seasoned and really delicious. I know sauteed mushrooms is a simple dish, but I always enjoy really well seasoned vegetables.
foie gras, quince, toasted brioche sandwich
The foie gras mini burger is another staple of mine. (I just sang the "foie garas mini burger" in the Jack in the Box "mini sirloin burger" melody...) I love the combination of the foie gras and the brioche bread together. The quince provided a nice sweetness that balanced out the richness of the foie gras.
king crab steamed buns, pickled cucumbers
I was really looking forward to this dish, but unfortunately it did not live up to y expectation. The sweetness in the crab mixture was overwhelming which masked the crab flavor. The pickled cucumber was also lost in the dish. Maybe a few more slices would have helped match up to the sweetness of the crab. The dish was good, but I may have expected great.
beef hanger steak, piquillo pepper confit, natural jus
The hangar steak itself was a big tough and chewey for me. But, when eaten with the pepper, it took the piece of meat to another level - very good.
Instead of heading over to the Patisserie for dessert, we decided to leave and arrive early at our reservations for La Descarga. La Descarga is a new rum-based bar/lounge located just off the 101N on Western and Santa Monica in Koreatown. We arrived around 10:30ish p.m. to a line outside the door. They were at max capacity already and so, there was about a 20-30 minute wait. Luckily after 10 minutes or so, I checked in with the very cool doorman and he let me and my BF right in since there was only 2 of us.
Once you go through the front door, you are led up a narrow flight of stairs into a small room where a hostess greets you. She explains briefly on what you should expect and then turns to what looks like doors to a big dresser. Much like how the other reviewers have mentioned, it is like stepping inside the closet and over to Narnia. Instead of snow and a faun by the lamppost, you step into Havana circa 1920s. You are led down a flight of winding stairs to the main room. There is also a second room in the back reserved for cigars and rum cocktails. It was pretty packed when I went in, but it was a great experience.
I ordered their mojito, which was delicious by the way, and sat down in the cigar room since it was a lot less packed than the main room. I must warn you that if you sit in the cigar room for a while, your clothes will reek of cigar smoke. But, still, I had a great time here drinking my mojito and people-watching - it really is hilarious watching drunk guys hit on sober girls... haha!
Overall, a wonderful early Valentine's Day date!
The Bazaar by Jose Andres
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048