Best Restaurant Yet to Come - 2012
The Bazaar by Jose Andres
1701 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
The SLS Miami Beach has been slow to rise from the ashes of endless construction, which leaves us sad. The hotel's restaurant is the Bazaar by José Andrés. Who's Andrés? He made Time's 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world (for running his culinary empire combined with altruistic efforts; he feeds the homeless as well as rich people in D.C., Vegas, and the 90210). The menu remained unconfirmed as of press time, but the existing restaurant at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills has us dreaming of what wonders will arrive in Miami. Proteins such as sea urchin (with Andalusian vegetables, $14) and king crab in raspberry vinegar ($20) are canned in-house daily. "Bar selections" venture beyond the usual bites: "Ottoman carrot fritters" with apricot and pistachio sauce ($9); Japanese tacos stuffed with eel, shiso leaf, cucumber, wasabi, and chicharrones ($10); and oxtail steamed buns — the only things required are an open mind and a table of adventuresome eaters. Andrés does traditional tapas as well, and it's thrilling to be able to describe a chef as traditional and avant-garde all in the same sentence. Mainstays such as codfish fritters ($10) and chicken wings with Spanish green-olive purée ($10) display an obvious nod to tapas lovers' expectations, yet dishes such as Norwegian lobster with seaweed salad, and a seared veal loin prepared as a tribute to French chef Jacques Maximin ($18) showcase more of a global influence. Designer Philippe Starck is handling the restaurant's environment, envisioned as a "modern-day, European-inspired, indoor piazza." We eagerly await the Bazaar's arrival on South Beach.