José Andrés will open Bazaar Meat and more restaurants in downtown L.A.
After a 16-month hiatus, José Andrés and his D.C.-based ThinkFoodGroup are returning to Los Angeles, with plans to open three restaurants and a bar at the Grand L.A., a new retail, residence and hotel development designed by Frank Gehry. Located across Grand Avenue from Walt Disney Concert Hall, Andrés’ restaurants will join a number of shops, apartments and the Conrad Hotel Los Angeles.
An open-air restaurant with a “Latin- and Asian-inspired menu” and a restaurant dedicated to classic Spanish flavors with California ingredients will be located on the 10th floor of the hotel. Andrés and his team also will be responsible for the lobby bar of the hotel and a pool deck area.
On the sixth floor of the Grand L.A., Andrés will open a Bazaar Meat, his high-end steakhouse that originated in Las Vegas and has locations in Miami, Chicago and New York. (He closed his tasting-menu Michelin-starred restaurant Somni and the modernist tapas restaurant the Bazaar, both at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, in August 2020.)
“The first person I told was Gustavo, and I said I’m going to see you more often,” Andrés said on a recent afternoon. He sat on a couch in the space that soon will be transformed into one of his restaurants on the property, and he motioned toward the concert hall that loomed large, just outside the window.
Gustavo, of course, is Gustavo Dudamel, the music director of the L.A. Philharmonic. (Andrés has a habit of referring to his celebrity friends by just their first names, as if we’re all in the group on a first-name basis.) “For me to have a bar overlooking the Disney Hall … I was just calling Gustavo, we became very good friends three years ago. Seeing his face right there. I know I’m going to see him more,” Andrés said.
ThinkFoodGroup President Sam Bakhshandehpour said he’s been working on the project with Related, the development company behind the Grand L.A., and architect Gehry for more than a decade.
“This combination of a mixed-use development that will be a flagship for decades to come, with Frank’s vision, is a rare opportunity for us versus just another stand-alone retail location,” Bakhshandehpour said. “The project itself is really in line with the DNA of what José is always trying to do, and that’s bring communities to life.”
The names of the hotel restaurants and lobby bar are still under development, but Andrés was able to share a few working details.
The Bazaar Meat, for example, will serve many of the signature dishes the Las Vegas restaurant is known for, including the tomato tartare: a preparation of raw beefsteak tomatoes made to look and taste like steak tartare. “It’s funny that you have meat eaters eating tomato tartare and it’s become so popular,” he said. “I cooked it with Ellen, yesterday.”
By “Ellen,” he means Ellen DeGeneres.
The pool deck area will offer what Andrés describes as “pool fare” with big salads, dips — and plenty of sangria.
The Spanish-meets-California restaurant will be designed to feed the needs of any traveler. “You want to have enough to cover travelers and be what every hotel needs,” Andrés said. “You will have certain people that because they find a Caesar everywhere, they want a Caesar and nothing else, but we will always try to push them to try new things.”
The open-air restaurant will be what Andrés calls “slightly more conceptual, heavy on the vegetables and heavy on the fish,” he said. “If I see abalone at the fish market, you’re going to see it there. The bounty of vegetables here quite frankly is unfair.”
And similar to the hotel arrangement Andrés had when he first opened the Bazaar at the SLS in 2008, the chef and his team will be responsible for the entirety of the Conrad Los Angeles’ food and beverage program, including room service.
The Conrad Los Angeles, the two restaurants, the lobby bar and the pool deck area will open in late spring and the Bazaar Meat is scheduled to open in the fall. But the multiple downtown L.A. restaurants could be just the beginning of Andrés’ expanding footprint in Los Angeles.
“Once we have the presence, do we have space for Jaleo in L.A.?” he asked, referencing the Spanish tapas restaurant that in many ways launched the chef’s career when it opened in Washington, D.C., in 1993. “I think there is room for a pure Spanish restaurant in L.A.”
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