Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saam @ The Bazaar, SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA

How do you ever get through 22 courses in a meal?

This was my question in anticipation of what I knew would be at the very least an impressive and fun experience, filled with lots of play with food (call it Molecular Gastronomy if you'd like) although chefs are moving away from that term more and more... but why? Who cares what you call it... it was a food-fun-tasting 4 hr marathon!

The making of liquid cheese, spherification with Creme de Cassis imitating caviar, cocktails with Jalapeno, etc, etc... the evening was filled with anticipation as most of our large group of 10 decided against perusing the menu prior to our meal... we went all in blindly, without any knowledge of what they had in store for us, hoping some of the "favorites" would be included... but they were not.

We missed the Liquid Olives (although I have tried them before, as well as Mr. Adria's in Barcelona), and would have liked to try the Philly Cheese Steak or the mini Foie Burger, but sadly none of these made their appearance that night.

Having been to The Bazaar and Bar Centro, I would describe them as a hip, over the top decorated establishment, bordering Gaudy... Filled with trust fund babies, women who look like sausages in tight dresses, and if you are allergic to makeup... just don't go in! LOL

Don't get me wrong, I love, love Bazaar & Bar Centro, don't feel intimidated, especially if you wait until midnight, when the crowd has sort of loosened up... with $18 cocktails... :)

But Saam (sort of a private dining room behind The Bazaar restaurant), was a breath of fresh air from all that commotion, with superb service, very attentive staff who anticipates your every need.
A grandiose fine dining experience, only slightly tinted by an exuberant charge of $15 per person for Water! (Total of $150) ...There better be some booze in that water! LOL

In hopes not to bore you to death, I won't go into detail of all 22 courses, instead, I will give you my "Hits" and "Misses", however, as always, if you have any questions I will be more than happy to elaborate.

* The Maitre D' was amazing, starting from the moment we were waiting in Bar Centro and grabing some drinks... once our tables were ready, he took our drinks and delivered them to SAAM.

* The lovely waitress from Bar Centro remembered me from the prior time I was there... that makes you feel special, right?
*The service all night was superb and elevated leaving us with the feeling of royalty.
*The Halle Berry Drink- Amazing! Sweet notes from the Berries, hints of spice from the Jalapeno and as soon as you move the martini glass towards your mouth, an almost instant whiff of the spicy chili hits all your senses, but in a sort of soft, subtle way... this will be the one drink I must try to replicate at home!
*Beets & Yogurt: this little Amuze melted in your mouth, the Beet crunchy merengue filled with tart, rich and thick Greek Yogurt.
* Parmesan macaron: spicy notes of the Parm, though very light.

* Uni & Eel Risotto: Admittedly never having tried Uni... it was surprisingly yummy... I really couldn't describe the taste...but it was very mild in flavor and the risotto was as should be, creamy and al dente (being a Risotto fanatic... I seldom order it, because I'm usually disappointed...but not this one.

* Mini Banh Mi- I loved this little Vietnamese sandwich delight!...soft mini baguette, rich & delicious with a hint of spicy and notes of acidity from the pickled veggies.

* The Foie Gras & Mushrooms were my favorite of the night... I think i even made a sound on my first bite, because the rest of the night the joke was "I'm having a moment"... "are you having another moment"?? LOL anyways, I guess you had to be there.... It was super rich tasting, the broth with a bit of heavy cream, and tasting of the woodsy mushrooms, the rich Foie Gras and Mushroom dish was a hit throughout.

* Dragon's Breath.... of course this was a hit!... lots of fun! took turns capturing each of us on film!

* Our first dessert was Apricot Timbale with Amaretto, a Rich, delicious frozen Apricot puree with a crust that seemed "caramelized" ... not sure how that was done... but it was superbly rich and almost creamy, flavorful yet refreshing at the same time.

Misses: Not many misses, but there's were some...

* $15 per person for water... Totaling $150 in our bill for water... we didn't request any "special water"... not sure what happened, but it was a lot!

* My Wagyu beef was delivered overdone... no pink in the middle as all the others... but they happily took it back, even agreeing with me that it was so.  The fact that they remedied the situation without blinking... won me over.

* The Sexy Little Sweets did not impress... I wished the chocolate would have been richer, more depth of flavor...I did like the white chocolate with the pink peppercorns... but the dark chocolate with salt could have used a heavier hand on the savory component.

Total 1 person: $223, including 2 cocktails, 1 $5 coffee, the famous $15 water, tax and tip. ouch!

Smoke on the Water Drink

Inside SAAM (Private dining room @ The Bazaar) SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills

Kaviar Kir Royal

Beet & Greek Yogurt

Oyster & Jamon

Seabeans in Tempura

Parmesan Macaron

Jose's Combination - Jamon Iberico de Bellota with Caviar
Patatas Bravas

Chicken Skin and Cigala

Not your everyday Caprese - with Liquid Mozzarella spheres

Crispy Nigiri

Uni & Eel Risotto


Banh Mi - Mini Vietnamese Sandwich

Carrot & Scallops
Halle Berry Cocktail - Spicy & Amazing!
1 Slice jalapeƱo
7 Blackberries
2 oz Gin
¼ oz Cointreau
¾ oz Lime juice
¾ oz Simple syrup
1 Twist of lemon


Wagyu Beef & Mushroom Escabeche

Mushroom & Foie Gras
Waiter mentioned they are not allowed to use the words "Foie Gras any more!... they are calling it Duck Liver... Guess who's going to be still serving FG after the ban in California starting July 1?
Inside the pouch
Japanese Baby Peaches

The making of the "Dragon's Breath - Tableside

"Dragon's Breath" Popcorn ... I have been waiting for this dish not only all night...but for weeks! It was soooo fun!

Frozen Apricot Timbale with Amaretto

Dessert Desert
Sexy Little Sweets - Mignardise

At the end of the night, and a record for me of a 4 hr dining extravaganza, I was rather content and satisfied, although by no means "full" as the portions are somewhat minuscule and someone with a rather larger appetite might need to supplement this 22 course marathon with a pre or post 4th meal.

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  3. I just took my husband last night night to Saam for his birthday... WOW, what an experience! We decided to go every quarter... Since that's how often they change their menu. Thank you for your posts and pictures, it was nice to look back at those beautiful tapas!