If you have been reading my site for a while, my apologies for long absence since essentially, life has changed for everyone because of COVID-19. I work in a hospital (administrative side) in New York City, one of the major U.S. cities that was hit hard by the first wave. I’ve heard many tragic stories from nurses and doctors and I personally have seen the large refrigerated trailers storing those who died from COVID-19. It was a very dark time and it didn’t feel right to post anything frivolous like food, especially during those peak months. I primarily went to work and stayed at home but eventually ate out whenever I felt comfortable in recent months. I hope you all are still staying safe since the case numbers with the different variants are rising.
Since people are getting vaccinated and the case count was on the low end (before the Delta variant became a major concern), my family and I felt comfortable enough to hop on a plane and travel to Las Vegas for vacation a few weeks ago. The whole airport and airplane ride experience was more or less what I’ve expected to be: most, if not all, passengers wearing masks and all and thankfully, nothing dramatic happened during the flight over.
For our first dinner at Las Vegas, we headed to Sahara Las Vegas for Bazaar Meat By José Andrés. Two primary reasons why I chose to eat here: 1) I adore Chef Andrés’ cuisine and 2) I need to satisfy the wants for the meat eaters of my family. This particular restaurant concept is essentially a high-end, curated steakhouse meets tapas restaurant but Chef Andrés’ style. The restaurant itself is huge. Besides the bar area that you’d see first behind the hostesses, you’d see the refrigerated displays of the glorious cuts of beef and the open grill.
The long dining room is outfitted with wallpaper of the mountainous wilderness, baroque chandeliers, wall taxidermy décor of reindeer, crocodile (with necklaces of beads in its mouth), and partially open kitchen galley on the opposite side of the restaurant. There’s also a smaller, separate dining room toward the back that reminds me of a sushi counter but it isn’t. The whole vibe of this place is a mix of sexy, be a little weird (in a good way), and having a good time.
Of course, you’re still reading because you want to know about the food. They offer a tasting menu and a la carte. We opted for the latter since we tend to eat family style.
We started off with the cotton candy foie gras. These clouds of sweet, spun sugar wrapped in a savory, cube of cold foie gras were delicious and frankly, a little to easy to eat multiple skewers of. It’s a great start to the meal.
The Josper roasted leeks, lemon beurre blanc, and smoked almond was a tasty vegetable dish that had a ton of flavor and the sweet, faintly smoky, onion-y leeks were great with the crunchy smoked almonds.
The grilled pulpo a la Gallega or Galacian-style octopus was rich with a big punch of flavor. The smoky octopus sprinkled with smoky pimentón, olive oil and garlic was delicious. If anything, it was a tiny bit too salty and some pieces were undercooked (hence rubbery). Otherwise, it’s a very enjoyable dish.
The dish I was looking forward to the most was the Rossejat paella-style pasta, Gulf shrimp, pork, and aioli – and it didn’t disappoint. The pasta was beautifully cooked like a proper paella: crunchy socarrat on the bottom of the pan and the pasta was crisp-tender. The sweet, large shrimp was delicious and those tender chunks of super smoky pork belly really made this dish and the creamy dabs of aioli to add some texture.
When it comes to the meat eaters of my family, they looked forward to the Vaca Vieja Chuleton from Mindful Meats, Petaluma, CA. The beef is really the point why you are eating here. This chuleton (translation: rib eye steak on the bone) was incredible. Perfectly rare, incredibly tender steak with a good amount of fat, and it was properly seasoned.
We also had the Butifarra Catalan-style pork sausage and grilled pan de cristal, fresh tomato, and honey aioli that was incredible. The house made sausage was perfect in terms of texture and flavor. What I was particularly swooned by was the very crisp but airy pan de cristal that’s rubbed in tomatoes. For me, the honey aioli wasn’t necessary with this elevated version of pan con tomate but it was a nice addition.
For dessert, we stuck on the small end by sharing a tray of miniature pastries. They range from cheese and guava tarts, chocolate hazelnut tart, cream puff, chocolate chip cookie, mango passion fruit, double chocolate cookie, lemon meringue, and strawberry éclair.
Overall, it’s a very delicious, satisfying meal. Keep in mind it’s on the expensive end but it’s worth the splurge. The entire staff were wearing masks and the servers wore gloves too when they brought over our food, so we felt safe. Everyone was courteous and professional. Would I eat there again? Absolutely.