Welcome to The Gatekeepers, a monthly feature in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of your favorite tough-to-get tables.
Elizabeth Daniels 5/12
Until the inception of The Bazaar in the SLS Hotel, sbe founder Sam Nazarian was considered a club guy. Well, he still is considered a club guy, but with the launch of The Bazaar in 2008, cheffed by José Andrés, a disciple of the revered Ferran Adria (El Bulli), Nazarian showed that, for the first time ever, he was as serious about food as he is about scene. And then LA Times Restaurant Critic SIV dropped a whopping four full star rave review on the Spanish eatery, the highest rank a restaurant can attain. Boom. The Bazaar exploded. Tourists came, Angelenos visited, everyone wanted in on the action. Even Frank The Tank Bruni over at the NY Times. Three and a half years later the buzzy restaurant still packs a crowd for its modern spherified olives, foie gras cotton candy lollipops, and liquid nitrogen margaritas. Here now, GM Shanon Ferguson talks shop.
It's Saturday at 8 PM. What's the wait for two? We have a variety of options for our guests that include a tapas menu at Bar Centro, the counter at both Rojo y Blanca. Guests are provided with plenty to do during the interim of waiting, but we do our best to make this as minimal as possible!
Is there anything I can do to make my wait shorter? We do highly recommend reservations in an effort to shorten wait time; however, guests do find themselves quite pleased with the Bar Centro menu as well as the counter at both Blanca and Rojo.
What is the best time to come in for dinner during the week if you don't want to wait? As at most restaurants, the earlier the better.
What's the strangest request that you've accommodated? We had a guest who insisted on trying every menu item.
Have there been any requests that you guys haven’t been able to accommodate? When at capacity, it can prove to be a challenge to accomodate a walk in guest, however we do our best to place them in the The Bazaar or Bar Centro.
Tell us about some of your favorite customers. We love guests that are open to trying a new experience.
Does The Bazaar have regulars? Most certainly! I think we have a guest that has been to The Bazaar nearly 200 times now!
What's your most important tool for working in this space? Our radios are a must for efficient communication.
Who are your VIPs here? Everyone is a VIP.
Since inception, has The Bazaar's menu evolved much? The menu has evolved considerably. Jose provides direction that takes the menu into what is available seasonally as well as items that are indigenous to the location of the restaurant, both of which highly impact our menu.
When you're not at the restaurant, where have you been eating lately? Our sbe collection sister restaurants Mercato di Vetro and Cleo.
What's the most popular dish right now? Our Philly continues to take the number one slot!
What are your favorite dishes on the menu? Foie on Brioche, Market Ceviche and the Iberico de Bellota jamon.
Any off-the-menu secret dishes? Only in the menu development stages. Throughout research and development, we sample prospective dishes as specials.
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