Friday, July 3, 2009

Douchebaggery at The Bazaar?

Has the level of douchebaggery at The Bazaar risen to such heights that the staff must treat paying clients like schoolchildren worthy of a scolding? Apparently so, by both witnessing the complete takeover of the restaurant & bar area by the ex-Skybar crowd and experiencing a bit of a scolding by a waitress in Le Patisserie.

After supper in the neighborhood (more on that blissful experience later) the bright idea to revisit The Bazaar for a special after dinner cocktail struck us as inspired. We strolled over in the cool evening air, reliving our meal over and over in our conversation. As we rounded the corner of the parking loop at the SLS, I was amazed at the nightclub like frenzy at the valet parker, in energy and in dress. Y'all know what I mean.

Inside we headed to the very crowded bar and paid $40 for a vodka/soda and a vodka/caipirinha. Is that a lot of money for a couple cocktails? Yes. That was close to half the price of a 6 course small plates meal of quality equal to The Bazaar right round the corner. But we know where we are, and covering the heavy overhead of that décor & good address is spendy.

The problem arises in finding a place to drink the $40 worth of vodka. The bar area is packed. The music is a little thumpy, and there's nowhere to sit. So we stroll over to the Patisserie side and sit on one of their delicate couches, to be asked quickly if we'd like dessert and to be told in no uncertain terms that we cannot sit here without ordering dessert. We tried to explain there was nowhere to sit in the bar, and we were planning on staying about 10 minutes, finish our drinks and leave. "No, this The Patisserie. You can't just drink here." D, with his sweet tooth & sweet nature, naturally asks for the menu fully intending to order dessert. The server says of course we can see it and adds over her shoulder, "if you don't order you have to leave". After that comment, and it was far more about the method of delivery than the message itself, there was no way I was going to stay for one of Jose's beautiful desserts.

I understand that this is an "it" spot. Everyone wants to be at The Bazaar right now. The food is fantastic and fantastical. The atmosphere is a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Pan's Labyrinth. The people are beautiful. By only allowing people ordering dessert to sit in the Patisserie, management is actually trying to protect their serious diners' experience from what is most likely the temporary onslaught of the B&T/striped shirt/mini-skirt/Skybar brigade. However, I recall our second visit to The Bazaar. After dinner we strolled through the retail area with a cognac, I took snaps of the sweets, and we curled up cozily on a Patisserie couch & emptied our snifters unaccosted.

I love The Bazaar. I am beyond thrilled at Andres' success and happy to have a culinary venture of this genre and reknown in my fair city. I know their food will outlast the fickle nightclub crowd. I just hope in the meantime they can find a way to protect their foodie clientele from their professional partying clientele a little more nicely.

16 comments:

H. C. said...

Totally feel ya on this and one of the reason (well, asides from price-oint) that I avoid the Bazaar even though I find its fare intriguing and usually tasty.

Yeah, my only advice to avoid the d-baggery for now is going during off-times (non-weekend nights, and early!) or just making a rezzie at Saam and drop about $130 for the tasting (spendy, yes, but not bad for about 20 tastes...)

Pepsi Monster said...

Yeah, it's getting to be a night crowd now. So sad because I like the food at this place, but not the "club" crowd that goes to Sunset Blvd. *sigh*

Grubtrotters said...

I know what you mean. I F-ing loved this place the first time I went, but it seems to have been taken over by a very annoying crowd. It's really too bad, but the magic has dissipated, and the service on my second visit was atrocious. I won't go into details but they're on my blog: http://grubtrotters.com/2009/03/21/cirque-du-bazaar/ Luckily, my latest visit was a little better, but I still think the wow factor is gone for good.

kevinEats said...

Did I not call this three months ago? ;)

"Leave the glitz, the ostentation, and the douchebaggery to the throngs of scenesters and poseurs that fill up Bazaar on a Friday night--as far as I'm concerned, Saam is the way to experience José Andrés in LA."

Food, she thought. said...

Kevin, you and H.C. have the right idea. If I go again for supper, and that's a big if having been 3x+, I will go to Saam. We end up spending that much each time more or less anyway.

Grubtrotters: Your blog post perfectly describes the experience. And the last paragraph sums it up to a tee. They do indeed need to focus on some service goals. Your experience with the carts and the ill is unforgiveable in a restaurant of this caliber and price range.

Pepsi Monster: makes me sad too.

Grubtrotters said...

It got four stars from the LA Times. Not OK!

Food, she thought. said...

I agree that things seem to be sliding downhill rather rapidly. I was kinda shocked last night at the amount of party people. I ate their last on NYE & late January, and while there was certainly some hubbub, there was nothing off-putting. The four stars occurred back in late February. Maybe the locusts hadn't swarmed to this level yet at that time.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to be a lemming and go to the lemming places, you're going to be treated like a lemming. Don't be part of sending the message that some place is a lifestyle necessity, and then get upset when they act like they agree with you.

Food, she thought. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Exile Kiss said...

Hi Food, She Thought,

Wow, my condolences! :( I haven't been back to Bazaar ever since SIV dropped 4 Stars on the restaurant (anticipating it to be too crowded for months). Then I heard some people mention the club crowds invading the space, and wanted to go even less.

And now your experience has soured me on the place altogether. Thanks for the warning.

Anonymous said...

I dont think ordering two cocktails at the bar entitles you to a seat that could be given to other customers. I think the server was perfectly within limits.

Food, she thought. said...

Anonymous 2: I didn't say the server wasn't within her limits. Maybe you misunderstand my post. Nevertheless, the entire patisserie was empty. And there were no clients waiting for seats. Just wanted to clarify.

Anonymous said...

I know you're not offended by being asked to leave -- you're offended by the tone of the server. However, please think about the hundreds of people who have done and do just what you did. He probably gives that speech a dozen times a night. It gets annoying telling people not to sit there over and over again.

All that said, The Bazaar sounds awful.

mattatouille said...

I was at Bar Centro on a Saturday night and the place was absolutely swamped. I wouldn't have enjoyed dining at The Bazaar that night, with proximity to perhaps 150 revelers just a few feet away. I prefer the sanctum of Saam, which I have a reservation for later this month.

Food, she thought. said...

Matt: Cannot wait for your review of Saam!

UrbanGeishaLA said...

Ugh I too came here because my friend invited me, he said he "loved it here" and it was "snazzy". OK admittedly the cocktails were delicious and high quality, the prices I didnt care about because I wasn't paying. But we wanted dessert at The Dessert Bar or whatever and they refused, saying we needed to have reservations with The Bazzaar because priority seating was given to restaurant diners. Mind you the dessert bar was empty. I sat down at bench only to be quickly susshed away by a waitress. There was no where to sit in the bar or in the outdoor patio - everything was "reserved". I finally found a litterally wooden stump/stool in the patio corner to sit in (surprising not "reserved") after which the loose screw in it, actually snagged my stockings and i almost fell over because the stump was coming off its legs!! I considered dining here for my birthday and booking a room, but after that they can go to effing NeverNeverLand. Not The Bazaar. More like Bizarre.