advertisement

One of the hottest dining rooms in L.A. is SAAM, the restaurant-within-a-restaurant at The Bazaar, a playground where celebrity chef José Andrés (PBS’ “Made in Spain”) unleashes his avant-garde Spanish cuisine in the splashy SLS Hotel. In one cavernous open space, disparate lounge spaces are fashioned as a piazza, each with its own playful ambience—bullfighter pictures and the open kitchen in Rojo, glossy pink walls in Patisserie, the uncluttered Blanca, and the cool, moody Bar Centro. You can order a variety of impeccable tapas, such as garlic shrimp, chicken-bèchamel fritters or ceviche and avocado roll, in any of these. But it’s the small molecular-gastronomy bites dispensed in SAAM that inspire people to swoon. In the quiet, intimate room, which seats only 40, Andrés unveils 22 tiny courses. These may include a cocktail served with lotus root chips, liquid black spherified olives, a tiny carrot fritter, jicama-wrapped guacamole, a chicken wing with a dab of buffalo sauce, ranch dressing and a bit of celery artfully arranged on top, or a tiny wagyu sandwich—all are chosen by the chef, and no two presentations are alike. Safe to say it’s nothing you’ve experienced before. Even cocktails get the molecular treatment at Bar Centro: Margaritas come with salt “air,” and slushy caipirinhas are made at your table with liquid nitrogen.