BY BROCK RADKE
DECEMBER 26, 2014
Bazaar Meat BY JOSÉ ANDRÉS is nothing less than the most spectacular new restaurant to land in Las Vegas in 2014. The innovative Spanish superchef was already a prominent force on the Strip with Jaleo and China Poblano. But at the hip new SLS Las Vegas, risen from the ashes of the iconic Sahara on the northern end of the Strip, Andrés creates a signature and singular culinary experience that must be eaten to be understood.
Considering the rest of SLS’ exciting restaurant lineup, it’d be easy to assume Bazaar Meat is the latest in a series of celebrity chef-powered steakhouses to join the carnivorous competition on Las Vegas Boulevard. But if you think José Andrés is simply going to char a steak, bake a potato and call it a night, you don’t know José Andrés. Bazaar is a celebration of meat, specializing in animals that graze or swim, served raw and cooked over fire. Most steakhouses might offer one massive, shareable ribeye or roast that could feed the table; Bazaar offers a variety of Spanish-style, bone-in beef rib steaks priced by the pound and fired over oak as well as suckling pig served in quarters or, if you order ahead, the whole thing.
An incredibly long, eclectically decorated dining room immediately sets the tone for a different experience, and open kitchen compartments with cutting-edge grills and smokers and hanging Iberico pork legs offer tasty theatricality. But Andrés’ experimental appetizers truly start the show. Play with your food in the most delicious way with a lollipop of foie gras wrapped in cotton candy, a shot of garden-fresh gazpacho, a “bagels and lox cone” of crunchy pastry filled with dill cream cheese and salmon roe, or the famous liquid green olives first created by the chef’s friend and mentor, the legendary Ferran Adrià. After those smile-inducing snacks, move on to raw bar options including spot prawns, sea urchin and blue fin tuna sashimi, or perhaps some grilled Rappahannock oysters.
Bazaar has another raw bar—one that’s all about beef, a brilliant selection of carpaccios and tartares. For a classic taste, the Vittore 1950 is peerless, paper-thin ribbons of perfect tenderloin with black pepper, Parmesan, capers, brown-butter croutons and sherry dressing. The beef tartare with oysters, fried eggs and pan de cristal is another memorable bite. Save room for a selection of Spanish cured meats as well, such as the legendary hand-cut jamón Ibérico de bellota.
Those succulent rib steaks from the fire pit are the centerpiece, but Bazaar has endless options. There’s Catalan-style pork sausage, a one-pound chateaubriand tenderloin with Périgord sauce, the New Zealand Merino lamb rack or the rare Japanese Kobe eye of the rib from Hyogo Prefecture. Seafood doesn’t get left out, with highlights that include bluefin tuna belly steak with piquillo pepper confit or Galician-style grilled octopus. Vegetable side dishes are delicious, including grilled asparagus with romesco sauce, Brussels sprouts petals tossed with apricots and grapes and topped with lemon air, and charred cauliflower “steak” with crisp pine nuts.
And don’t worry about being too full for dessert—these sweet treats are tiny, from saffron gumdrops in edible paper to tiramisu cream puffs. Just like the rest of the menu at Bazaar Meat, the diversity is astounding and the flavors are unforgettable. This will undoubtedly be one of the most talked-about restaurants in Las Vegas in the coming years.