Sam Nazarian, son of Younes Nazarian, co-founder of the telecom conglomerate Qualcomm, has created one of L.A.’s best eateries and certainly one of the most bizarre, called Bazaar, by chef Jose Andres.

Sam was born in Tehran in 1975 and transplanted to Beverly Hills.  This guy has his fingers in everything that’s hot. Right out of a Fellini movie, central casting has provided a host of over-the-top clientele who drink and dine at this Philippe Staark designed restaurant that resembles an acid trip personified. If it’s loud and frenetic entertainment that you desire, do not miss this experience, the décor, and food orgy.

If it’s a polished, elegant, fine dining experience that you desire--away from the platinum blondes with way too-short-skirts and accented Euro-trashy men with open shirts and remnants of gold chains--then do not miss the “in the know” semi-private room hidden within Bazaar, called “Saam” (pronounced like “Sam” but with an extra “a” just to keep with the unconventional theme).

Located almost secretly in the back of the restaurant, you need to know that it’s there in order to obtain a coveted reservation. When you enter, the din of the insanity outside its walls fades away to a peaceful, secluded oasis with quiet music and a serene, upscale pace that is more “private and chic” Las Vegas than it's step-sister, Las Vegas casino crazy.

It's almost inconceivable to think that $120 is a bargain for dinner but this 22-course tasting menu at Saam may just be the best deal in Los Angeles. From the moment you enter this intimate dining room you realize this is going to be a singular occasion.  Chef Jose's creations are inspired, flavorful and creative.

We were immediately ushered to our table in the corner, and presented with a Kir Royale cocktail, but this time with caviar-like Cassis balls, setting the tone for our experience. Every item we tasted was delicious and, in fact, there was not one course of the 22 that we didn't enjoy. Admittedly, that was also partially due to the fact that our server made an exhaustive list of what we didn’t like prior to delivering it to the kitchen.

Some of the highlights included Polenta Gnocchi with Parmesan water, a little nugget of powerful tastes. 

Michael devoured the Uni and eel which brought him right back to his most recent experience at the incomparable Urasawa.

Scott's favorite was the Fried Egg and Jamon which was delivered in a tiny personal skillet. The bacon seasoned the dish like no other egg dish he’s experienced. This one was a true stand-out and itself worthy of the visit.

When the meal almost concluded Michael was presented with a Waygu and Mushroom Escabeche (you may recall that Scott hates mushrooms because his Father always told him they were just picked off the front lawn) a fitting way for him to conclude the entree portions.  It led the way to Dragon's Breath, which is a palette cleanser/dessert created with liquid nitrogen that is not only a taste bud sensation but also makes you look like a snorting dragon (mirror provided by the wait-staff for personal inspection and verification).

The dessert selections were equally inspired, and believe it or not, we had just enough room in our stomachs to enjoy them.

Speaking of wait-staff, we had two amazing servers, Quiana and Cameron, who elevated the usual L.A. dining experience to New York or Las Vegas caliber. They delivered a flawless experience, and defined each and every dish with knowledge and aplomb, as if it were the very first time they spoke of it. Bravo to them for making our 3.5 hour “ride” worth every minute and every dollar.

As bizarre as it may sound, Saam’s room at Bazaar is like finding a valuable gem at a local Bazaar.

Appetizingly Yours,

Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo

Posted by The Dining Duo | 6:21 PM | , , , , , , | 0 comments »

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