September 28, 2023
Great Steakhouses - Las Vegas’ Bazaar Meats Is Uniquely Delicious
Forbes Lifestyle ForbesLife Great Steakhouses - Las Vegas’ Bazaar Meats Is Uniquely Delicious Larry Olmsted Senior Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I am an award winning travel journalist & bestselling author. Follow me on Instagram travelfoodguy or Twitter @travelfoodguy Following Sep 28, 2023, 07:15am EDT | Press play to listen to this article! Got it! Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin A Master Chef cooks the perfect steak, using Spanish cooking techniques on a boutique Texas ... [+] Wagyu/Angus hybrid. Louiie Victa/Bazaar Meat There are countless “celebrity chefs” and far more “pseudo-celebrity chefs,” but there are only a handful of highly acclaimed and globally iconic chefs whose work drives culinary trends worldwide. These are the all-stars of the foodie world, the best of the best, and for many years, José Andrés has been a member of this elite club. A Spanish native, he grew up around tapas, and in the restaurant industry is often credited with popularizing the small plates concept in this country, where it has become widespread and wildly popular. Andrés’ cooking career took off when he worked at Spain’s now closed 3-Michelin-starred El Bulli, at the time considered the number one restaurant in the world (5-time winner of the award from Britian’s The Restaurant Magazine). El Bulli alums including Andrés, Italy’s Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana) and Denmark’s Rene Redzepi (Noma) are all in this top-tier pantheon of the world’s best chefs. Since then, Andrés has opened about three dozen restaurants , mainly in Washington, DC, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York, as well as Dubai, the Bahamas, Orlando and Miami. These run a broad gamut and range from fine dining to tapas to cafes to steakhouses to a food truck. He also opened the wonderful Mercado Little Spain (I’ve been, and loved it), a Spanish gourmet grocery store and food hall in the style of Eataly, located in New York City’s Hudon Yards. His restaurants have earned Michelin stars and Bib Gourmand awards, and he has won multiple James Beard Awards, including Outstanding Chef. He was named Chef of the Year by both Bon Appetit and GQ Magazines and one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine. A New York Times bestselling author, he has written half a dozen acclaimed cookbooks. He taught a course on culinary physics at Harvard University, founded the Global Food Institute at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and was named Dean of Spanish Studies at the International Culinary Center. For his vast humanitarian work, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by the White House and was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Spanish Chef Jose Andres is famous for his paella - and for cooking in a larger than life style ... [+] (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®) getty MORE FOR YOU Ukraine’s Improvised Fighting Vehicle Is So Slow That A Soldier Can Walk Just As Fast FC Barcelona Charged With Bribery For Referee Payments Face Champions League Exclusion Reports Powerball Jackpot Rises To 925 Million Here s What The Winner Will Take Home After Taxes All of which is backstory and a way to say that I’m not exaggerating when I describe him as one of the world’s greatest chefs. Andrés certainly knows his way around a kitchen, and while he has tackled very diverse cuisines and fusion styles, he is especially skilled in Spanish food, famed for his tapas and paella. I’ve eaten several times at his Las Vegas Spanish eateries including paella temple Jaleo, and was always wowed. But one area of Spanish food that is often overlooked by Americans is steak. Spain is home to several world-famous steakhouses (you can read my Forbes story on the country’s most iconic one here ), raises legendary cattle, and has a fantastic steak culture, focused on aged meats cooked over live fire. But little of that wonderful tradition was exported here before Andrés opened Bazaar Meat in Las Vegas nine years ago. It is currently ranked the tenth best steakhouse in the world by World’s Best Steaks , the highest in Las Vegas, second highest in the U.S., and interestingly, two of the top 10 are in Spain. There's more to life than just great steak - like caviar. Louiie Victa/Bazaar Meat Las Vegas is one of the world’s top steakhouse cities, with great independents (I love the Golden Steer ), all the high-end chains, and star chef-run examples by Gordon Ramsay, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Michael Mina, Emeril Lagasse and Tom Colicchio. I’ve been writing on Las Vegas food for decades and have eaten at most of these standouts, but was missing Bazaar Meat until recently. Because of its odd location it requires a special trip, as it’s in an unlikely spot for one the city’s very best restaurants, inside the Sahara casino hotel, which lacks the culinary and luxury firepower of the popular Strip mega-resorts housing all the other big names in cooking. Back when Bazaar Meat opened, the property was the SLS, a branch of a popular Los Angeles hotel, but that turned into the Sahara, and frankly I’ve never found any reason to set foot inside the place until I made a reservation at Bazaar Meat. But it’s absolutely worth the trip. What Andrés has done that is so special is to create a trifecta, combining the best elements of a world-class steakhouse - chiefly excellent steak alongside a staggering wine list - with many of his more traditional Spanish standouts, from unbelievable Iberico de Bellota Spanish ham to creamy croquettes to grilled octopus. He also adds a heavy dash of his famed molecular gastronomy, such as foie gras cotton candy. One of the most interesting and vivid demonstrations of this scientific magic I have seen to date is his Ferran Adria Olives, Modern & Traditional, credited to his old El Bulli boss. He serves a single, perfect stuffed Spanish police, alongside a deconstructed olive in the form a gob of crème. You eat one than the other and they taste exactly the same. Even the signature cocktails, like this smoked Manhattan, are showpieces of gastronomic perfection Louiie Victa/Bazaar Meat The unique concept makes Bazaar Meat much more than another great steakhouse. It is a top choice for lovers of steak, of Spanish cuisine, of molecular gastronomy, of fine dining, of wine, or of any combination of these. Nothing misses here, from the design and decor to the first-rate service, with multiple staffers for every table. The biggest problem is the menu, which is so vast and all over the place that it is virtually impossible to choose, especially for smaller parties. For this reason, I suggest turning yourself over to the Chef, since after all, he is the reason for coming. There are two levels of tasting menus, Jose’s Way ($205) and the Ultimate Tasting ($290). Each combines his classics (beef tartare, croquettes, the finest Spanish ham), molecular gastronomy (the cotton candy and olives) and a big piece of red meat. The smaller menu has a dozen entries including sides and dessert, the larger one sixteen. This notably adds bison carpaccio and a serving of Japanese A5 wagyu beef (tasting menus are subject to change, these are examples). Let’s get to the steak. If you are more a classic steakhouse person and not interested in Spanish fare or scientific wizardry, you’ll still love it. The big thing here is fire, aging and meat sourcing. When you walk in, you see an open kitchen with a huge array of wood fired grills and ovens. They use the kind found in Argentinean steakhouses, with heavy metal grates over live fire, raised and lowered with big wheels. It’s a showy, dramatic way of cooking and the results are wonderful crusty char paired with perfectly cooked interiors full of juice and flavor. Before Andrés opened, he searched and experimented and was extremely particular about his meat, choosing many small ranch domestic selections from California, Oregon, Texas, and elsewhere as well as some imported Japanese wagyu. The success story at Bazaar Meat begins with sourcing, ageing and cutting the finest beef available. Louiie Victa/Bazaar Meat The steak entrée for our tasting menu was a Washugyu Ribeye from a family ranch in Oregon, cut in the Spanish style of a thick bone-in “chuleton,” the signature cut of the Basque region’s great steakhouses and cideries. But unlike Spain, it’s a wagyu hybrid, so you get just enough of the fat dispersion Japanese beef is coveted for to make it extra rich and decadent without overpowering the large servings and flavorful red meat. Along with the amazing, charred exterior, this amounted to perfection, one of the best steaks I have ever tasted, and I have written extensively on steak around world for many years. They also serve similar chuleton cuts of a Black Angus Wagyu cross from a Texas ranch, and an older Holstein from California, which is very unusual in this country but closer to the cattle used in Spain. A chuleton serves three easily, so for smaller groups and appetites they have more standard cuts including strip loin, chateaubriand, flat iron and skirt steak, and speaking to Andrés’ perfectionism, each is sourced from a different ranch. Finally, there are several Japanese full-blooded wagyu options. The steak is amazing, but don't overlook Jose Andres' signature fire roasted suckling pig. Louiie Victa/Bazaar Meat A couple of other things of note. If you do go a la carte, there is a full raw bar, and appetizers including a traditional Spanish gazpacho, tartares, carpaccios and caviar. In addition to the steak, there are two very notable carnivore specialties, including a fire roasted suckling pig, one of Spain’s greatest dishes - and something Andrés is famous for. There is also Secreto, a rare “butcher’s cut” of the finest Iberian pork. Spain’s acorn fed pigs are generally considered the world’s best pork, and this may be the best cut you can have. It’s the mother of all pork chops and a dish I have had in Spain and long for, but I have only seen it on one or two other menus in this country. I need to go back. Many reviews of the restaurant (generally excellent reviews) note surprise at how many non-meat offerings there are, and in yet another unusual twist on the steakhouse paradigm, Bazaar Meat offers separate Celiac, Vegetarian and Pescatarian menus. There’s truly something for every taste. When it opened Eater Las Vegas wrote “Leave it to Jose Andrés to take on the steakhouse - the most boring dining concept - and completely turn it on its head.” Conde Nast Traveler called it “a bacchanalian feast,” Gayot “a celebration of the carnivorous,” and the Daily Meal “A must-stop when in Las Vegas.” They are all correct. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn . Check out my website or some of my other work here . Larry Olmsted Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions
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