My wife and I flew to Las Vegas for a quick, two-night getaway as part of our Valentine’s Day festivities. First stop of José Andres’ restaurant at the SLS, Bazaar Meat, where we were joined by my brother-in-law . . . .
This was either our third or fourth time dining here – it’s somewhat embarrassing that I can’t recall, but it’s been often enough that the hostess informed us that our “usual waiter” wasn’t working this evening, but that Michael would take very good care of us. We took a brief look at the three Tasting Menu options – two of which looked interesting – but we opted instead to simply order off the menu a la carte.
We began with two starters: Cotton Candy Foie Gras with Crispy Amaranth (cubes of foie encased in a delicate “cloud” of cotton candy on a stick) that is truly devine, and the tried-and-true classic Ferran Adrià Olives, Modern & Traditional (yes, we’re talking spherification!) – for me, somehow, no meal is complete at one of José’s restaurants without this iconic dish, presuming it’s on the menu, of course.
Next came the classic carpaccio, Vittore 1950¹ (tenderloin of beef, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, capers, croutons, with a Sherry dressing) that ranks among the best carpaccio I’ve ever had, paired with the “Beefsteak” Tomato Tartare (tomato, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cucumber, black olive, romaine leaves) that is one of those creations that stops all conversation at the table, and you remember it for weeks, months, even years after it’s gone. Incredible!
Moving on, we had Grilled Pulpo a la Galena (Galician style octopus with potato and pimento) – so tender and delicious. This was followed, as a sort of palate cleanser, by Gazpacho Shots (tomato, cucumber, green bell peppers) – cool, refreshing, and with just the right touch of spice.
This was followed by a huge bone-in rib eye cooked to perfection – simply and wonderfully amazing!
All this paired with a bottle of the 2001 Bodegas Faustino “Faustino I” Gran Reserva (Rioja, Spain) that, at 15 years of age, is amazing now but still has another 5-10+ years to go, and – with the rib-eye – some 2011 Prats & Symington “Chryseia” (Douro, Portugal), which was available by the glass; round, rich, and full of fruit, with a firm backbone to stand up to the massive 2.5-pound rib-eye.
And yes, I’m already looking forward to going back again . . .
¹ Supposedly this is the “original” recipe from Harry’s Bar in Venice.