One of the best meals of my life…
Food should be interesting. It should be exciting. It should be fun. My meal at the Bazaar by Jose Andres exemplified all three of these qualities. I had been slightly infatuated with Jose Andres recently, hearing his lectures from Harvard University’s Food and Science series is truly inspiring!
The menu is tapas style, divided in two… traditional tapas, and "modern" tapas. I of course, order off of the modern menu.
First course: "Spanish Tortilla" at the bottom of the small cup is a 63 degree egg (cooked with a circulator) that is topped with a creamy potato espuma, crispy fried potato bits, chives, and olive oil. The taste and texture is exquisite…like velvet in your mouth. The potato and egg blend into one texture with the flavors of each popping out independently.
Cocktail: "LN2 (Liquid Nitrogen) Caipirinha". Cachaca, lime juice, and simple syrup are frozen tableside with LN2. Then the cocktail is topped with chervil, edible flowers, and lime zest. The resulting texture is the best adult slurpee you’ve ever had…Silky, smooth, perfect frozen cocktail! And because there is no ice blended, the drink is full strength from start to finish.
Second Course: "Bagel and Lox" a perfectly crispy cornet, cream cheese in the bottom, topped with salmon roe and a touch of dill. Simple and delicious. Can I get about 4 dozen of these for breakfast?
Third Course: "Not Your Everyday Caprese". This dish is amazing, the perfect balance of a seemingly simple dish, executed perfectly. Sweet basil pesto on the bottom of the plate is topped with perfect cherry tomatoes and spheres of mozzarella. The white balls are liquid inside that burst in your mouth when you take a perfect bit. also on the plate are "air crackers" light, crispy hollow crackers. I imagine the cracker recipe is similar to Grant Achatz’s "Cheese in cracker" course. There’s also micro basil and balsamic on the plate.
Fourth Course: "Cotton Candy Foie Gras". This is my first time eating Foie…sadly, I think it won’t be my last…I saw it at Central Market for about $150/lb. I may need to take out a loan to cook with it at home. This is delicious…rich and buttery with a touch of sweetness from the cotton candy. I wonder if the cotton candy is made with isomalt instead of regular sugar because it is really not that sweet. In addition to being delicious, how fun is food on a stick? (VERY, VERY Fun!)
Fifth Course: "Jicama wrapped guacamole". This is another highlight of the night. The guacamole is perfect, with tiny bits of house made corn chips mixed in for texture. Those little green dollops of perfect guac are wrapped in Jicama and each package is topped with micro cilantro and fine diced tomato. The Jicama is sliced super thin, FREAKISHLY thin…I’m talking beyond mandolin thin. I think they might have used a meat slicer. Assuming that you could get the jicama thin enough, this is one of those dishes anyone could make as a party appetizer at home.
Sixth course: "Ottoman Carrot Fritters". These are really tasty, simple fried fritters of spiced carrot. Pretty straight forward, but not my favorite dish of the night.
Seventh course: "Cauliflower Cous Cous". This technique (like many of the ones Jose Andres uses) was invented by Ferran Adria of El Bulli. Cauliflower is grated with a microplane, blanched and sauteed like cous cous. A delicious preparation of cauliflower.
**About this point in the meal the chef at the bar sent me a complimentary cone- similar to the "bagel and lox" course. He said that he had "messed them up" but they looked fine to me:) This one was filled with creme fraiche and topped with american surgeon caviar. I didn’t take a photo because I was so excited to be getting free food!**
Second Cocktail: "Magic Mojito" Lime, Rum, and soda strained over cotton candy. The cotton candy instantly dissolves and sugarizes the cocktail. Now I see why Jose Andres loves cotton candy!
Eighth course: "Philly Cheesesteak". This is how Jose Andres does a "cheesesteak wit"…that is tosay the Philly classic of bread, beef, cheese sauce, and onions…The bazaar version? Hollow air bread filled with a cheese espuma, topped with onion jam, barely seared kobe tenderloin, and chives. YUM!
Ninth course: "Ox tail steam bun". This was a new special that my server Rosie reccommended. When dining at a restraunt like The Bazaar, ALWAYS TAKE THE SPECIAL/SERVER RECCOMENDATIONS. This was THE best plate of the night! Like a highly elevated Banh Mi Sandwich, slow braised Ox Tail (Sous Vide no doubt for at least 48 hours) watermelon radish, cilantro, and serano pepper on a steamed brioche bun. Incredible.
Tenth Course: Desert! "Nitro Coconut Floating Island". I am a sucker for anything prepared with Liquid Nitrogen! Here, coconut mouse is frozen in a balloon shape, it is served a top bruleed bananas, with a passion fruit sauce.
Another highlight of the dinner: Meeting Mike Kim from MasterChef season 1!!!!!!! Super nice, took time in the middle of a busy service to shake my hand and snap a photo! Thanks Mike!