It's hard not to gasp in amazement when you first enter Bazaar Meat, José Andrés's newest restaurant inside his brand new casino/resort, north of the Strip, the SLS Las Vegas.
José Andrés went all out with this restaurant's concept, what he calls a "celebration of the carnivorous in all its forms."
There are the impressive displays of meat in huge glass counters around the open kitchen.
Every piece is tagged.
Like this beautiful Washugyu skirt loin from Oregon.
Or this A5 (the highest possible rating) Wagyu tenderloin from Japan.
They even display certificates of authenticity showing background information about the specific animal.
And then there are the super hot charcoal grills. They are so hot that you can feel a wave of heat coming towards you as you walk by the front part of the open kitchen where you can see all the grilling being done.
Kudos to the staff who get even closer to those flames all day.
Keep walking, and the impressive displays do not cease. Next to the grilling area is a huge charcuterie area, where you can see dozens of jamon hanging from above.
Even the vegetable locker is gorgeous, full of farm fresh produce. Another meat locker stores whole suckling pig, house made sausages, and other larger pieces of dry aged steak.
The dining space is huge (over 13,000 square feet!), and there are several different rooms in which you can dine.
The menu borrows a few classics from José Andrés's other restaurants. We recognized some dishes we've had at his other restaurants (e.g., Jaleo, Samm, e by Jose Andres, or minibar), such as Ferran Adrià Olives and Croquetas de Pollo Chicken from Jaleo.
However, the majority of the menu is brand new, with a focus on meat and seafood. There's a raw bar, caviar flights, cured meats, tartares, carpaccios, and a dizzying array of steak and seafood from all around the world.
Prices are all over the map, from a $3 gazpacho shot to a $350 caviar flight. Most of the seafood and steaks range between $50 and $75, though there are plenty of opportunities to upgrade. Vegetables sides run $10-12, and there are lots of small bites that are available to try as well.
Finally, if you just want to sample a bunch of stuff, you can choose between a few tasting menus at various prices points (around $150 - $200). They are willing to help you customize it too, if you'd like.
We decided to go with the $200 tasting menu, but substituting or eliminating some of the courses that I'd had before at other José Andrés establishments. We replaced the first three courses with an upgraded caviar flight. We also replaced two of the meat courses (beef and sausage) with a portion of the Suckling Pig, something Bryan really wanted to try.
Join me as I show you, course by course, this crazy meal!
We started with a stunning caviar flight. The menu offers several different Caviar Flights. The tasting menu includes a smaller portion of the most basic one (a la carte price $95), which has Rainbow Trout Roe from Solex Catsmo, France; Salmon Roe from Solex Catsmo, Caspian Sea; and Flying Fish Roe from Iceland. These are served with chives, crème fraîche, egg, shallot, and pomme soufflé.
We got an upgraded version, which came with Kaluga from the Noir Caviar Company in China; Tsar Imperial Siberian from Petrossian, FL; and Salmon Roe from Solex Catsmo, Caspian Sea.
Caviar flights come with Pomme soufflé, deep fried crunchy "puffs" that taste like potato chips except that they are hollow inside.
Fill the "puff" with creme fraiche (served in a tiny squeezable bottle) and your choice of caviar.
The next course was Smoke and Ice Fresh Oyster, which consisted of six apple wood smoked kushi oysters served with an apple mignonette. It was served in a glass cover that, when removed, release a big puff of smoke. The dish was pleasant, though I felt that the oyster was not as fresh as the ones I have enjoyed out East. Perhaps it's harder for land-locked states, since they need to import their raw oysters from a farther distance.
Vittore Carpaccio 1950 consisted of thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin from Washington topped with black pepper, Parmesan cheese, capers, croutons, and sherry dressing. I loved this dish. The beef was super soft and tender, and the flavors were superb.
The Classic Tartare was beef sirloin chopped and mixed with savora mustard, egg yolk, HP Sauce, anchovy, and served with a side of Parker House rolls.
You could eat each portion separately.
Or make cute little sliders! I loved the sliders, and thought that the tartare worked really nicely with the warm, slightly sweet, and super soft rolls.
Our next course was a Gazpacho Shot made with tomato, cucumber, and green peppers. I personally thought this was only OK. It was a bit too salty for me, and didn't have that intense, sweet tomato flavor that you find in summer tomatoes.
One of José Andrés' signature dishes is the Croquetas de Pollo, deep fried and breaded chicken-bechamel fritters served in a glass shoe. Chef Andrés used to serve them in a real shoe until some a particular state's health department disallowed it. These were well executed and tasty, though they were very rich and creamy, so I found it hard to eat a lot of them.
Grilled Pulpo a la Gallega is a Galician style octopus served with potato and pimenton. The octopus was cooked really well. It was super soft and not a bit rubbery at all. I liked the slight tartness of the sauce, which balanced out the savory octopus really well.
After all that meat and seafood, the tasting next moved onto showcasing vegetables. Our next course, Baby Carrots, consisted of several grilled carrots served with Greek yogurt, smoked pepper, and sherry vinegar. The carrots had a nice char, and the flavors were sweet, complex, and really nice. Bryan especially liked this dish.
Mushroom Caps came filled with an intense and flavorful mushroom broth that popped when we bit into each mushroom cap.
I loved the multiple dimensions of mushroom flavors in the dish, from the caps and the inside "juice" to the flavorful sauce on the outside.
The Cauliflower Steak consisted of a few "slices" of blanched and then roasted cauliflower florets served with pine nuts, preserved lemon, and a delicious creamy sauce underneath. The cauliflower was perfectly seasoned and worked really nicely with the preserved lemon.
The Robuchon is named after one of Joel Robuchon's most famous dishes, his velvety mashed potatoes. The menu simply describes this dish as "butter, butter, more butter, and some potatoes", which is probably a pretty accurate rendition of these potatoes.
They were decadently smooth, very buttery, and simply divine.
To make a divine dish even more special, shave white truffles on top.
Though it looks like a small amount of mashed potatoes, it is very rich, and thus you don't need much.
Lucia's Salad was a simple endive Caesar's salad with anchovies, Parmesan, and air croutons. It was nice, refreshing, and a needed balance from the richness of the rest of the meal.
The one thing Bryan really wanted to try at Bazaar Meat was the Sucking Pig, a whole 9-11 lb suckling pig roasted in a wood-fired oven using a traditional Spanish pot (cazuela). According to the menu, there were only two ways to enjoy it: order a quarter of a pig ($140), or a whole 9-11 lb pig ($520). There was no way that we could eat a whole one, and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to eat a quarter.
Thankfully they let us design our own tasting menu that included a smaller ⅛ portion of the suckling pig as the final course for us to share. It was fantastic. The skin was gorgeously crispy and the meat was super tender.
It came with a tiny side salad to balance out the richness of the pork.
Dessert was a lovely assortment of sweets already prepackaged in a Team Bazaar take away "jewel box" (how convenient!). Inside we had a maple pecan tart, chantilly cream puff, bacon strawbery caramel, Earl Grey apricot tart, and speculos filled chocolate.
What a meal!
I was very impressed with the overall care and attention to quality at Bazaar Meat. Yes, it was very, very pricey (sort of like the rest of the Strip at Las Vegas). However, the quality of the ingredients was excellent, and we enjoyed our meal a lot. I appreciated how they were willing to be flexible in allowing us to design the tasting menu according to our preferences. I liked how I could cut down on the number of courses (thus avoiding extreme overeating) while upgrading a few of the items and custom-building other parts so that we could try what we wanted.
It's a bit of a distance from the main Strip area. We took a taxi, but I guess if you really wanted to walk you could, but it would take some time. Even if you don't do the tasting, you can still enjoy an excellent meal just trying a few things, like one grilled steak, a few of José Andrés's signature appetizers, and a few items from the raw bar. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Bazaar Meat Las Vegas
SLS Las Vegas
2535 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Bazaar Meat Las Vegas