Bazaar Meat Chicago by José Andrés is Inventive & Daring
If you ever find yourself in the Windy City and enjoy upscale dining (like I do), you simply MUST visit Bazaar Meat Chicago by Michelin-starred Chef José Andrés. This steakhouse truly transcends the idea of sophisticated dining with colorful and inventive dishes that makes for a rather intriguing dining experience. No seriously, our heads were constantly on a swivel taking in all the sights of plates and drinks ordered by nearby tables, not that our own wasn’t fascinating enough!
Dining for special Occasions Like the Opera
Because of the short distance from the infamous Lyric Opera House, Bazaar Meat Chicago makes a perfect pre-opera spot for dining or drinks. As an Associate Editor for Chicago Star Media, I was invited to cover one of their most glamorous events, the 2023 Wine Auction. Prior to attending, I figured I would take my friend to see one of their performances! Of course right next door was Bazaar Meat Chicago and its seafood-themed brother Bar Mar, so we decided to make a reservation.
Bazaar Meat Chicago is Romance at its finest
Bazaar Meat Chicago sits above Bar Mar and offers spectacular views of the river. The ambiance is quite intimate with red velvet chairs and a massive matching chandelier. Upon entering the steakhouse, meat lovers will find a glass display of huge cuts of meats from different animals. For me in particular, being on the Carnivore Code animal-based diet, I found this more intriguing than a turnoff.
We were sat at a window table overlooking the river, which was just breathtaking! There are also a couple trees inside the steakhouse, giving it more of an earthy feel.
Service Fit for a queen
I have a tendency to describe several Chicago restaurants and their service as “fit for a queen” LOL. This is probably because I tend to also choose some of the most upscale and elegant restaurants to try! Well, Bazaar Meat Chicago was no exception. Our waiter was incredibly helpful in explaining their large menu and making recommendations based on our dietary restrictions and tastes.
Every time a dish was brought out, the waiter would take time to educate us on its ingredients and how to best eat it. All the staff are dressed impeccably and add to the ambiance. I also found it kind of funny that the guy serving a large cut of meat — which came out on a rolling cart — was not only wearing a super nice suit but had an earpiece in as if he were CIA! Of course as an espionage thriller writer, I got a hoot out of that.
By the end of our meal, the Bazaar Meat Chicago manager came over to say hello and ask about our experience. She even complimented our outfits and asked us to stay in touch. It was such a small yet highly personal gesture you don’t get just anywhere.
The Cuisine: A little goes a long way
After just coming from brunch, my friend and I decided not to order a huge meal and opted for a couple items off the Little Snacks menu. To drink, I opted for the 2019 Raventós Blanc, an extra brut sparkling wine from Spain, which was refreshing and light.
Tacos with Caviar? Yes, please
We started with an order of the José’s Tacos, which are not your average tacos. This popular Bazaar Meat Chicago dish comes with two bite-sized pieces. A layer of seaweed is topped with a Spanish ham called jamón ibérico de bellota. A dollop of Ostreta caviar is laid on top with a sprinkle of gold leaf. This was perhaps my favorite dish, as it is both chewy and tangy. I ended up getting another order just for myself of these.
Cotton Candy isn’t just for the fair
My friend tried the Cotton Candy Foie Gras three times! It comes with crispy amaranth in the center, which is a grain or seed similar to quinoa. She really seemed to enjoy them and couldn’t quite place her finger on its taste.
Upscale French Fries?
We tried one order of the Patatas Bravas, fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and alioli. I’m actually not much of a potatoes fan, but it was one of the few snacks without dairy, which I wanted to avoid like the plague before a two hour opera LOL. While the potatoes were okay, I rather enjoyed the two sauces atop them. If you’re a French fry lover though, definitely try this elegant version from Bazaar Meat Chicago.
Brunch for dinner
My friend also had the Bagels and Lox Cone, which I did not try due to the dill cream cheese. Don’t get me wrong though, had I not had plans after, I so would have loved to try this one! This little cone also comes with salmon roe, which is basically fish eggs.
Not Your Average Salad
To finish, we ordered the Grilled Gem Lettuce from the salad menu and opted to have the dairy left on the side. This one comes with an anchovy vinaigrette, which wasn’t too overpowering. It was also topped with herb oil and capers, which added to the pleasant tanginess. We had the parmesan on the side along with some sort of parmesan cream that typically comes dolloped atop the salad.
What really made this salad special was the temperature. The lettuce is lightly grilled, so rather than a cold salad, it’s actually warm! This kind of made it taste similar to cabbage, which I really love.
My Next Date Night?
I will definitely be coming back with my boyfriend (and dropping lots of hints to him) to experience more of the menu at Bazaar Meat Chicago! And on another occasion, I’m making it my mission to try Bar Mar as well, which boasts tall gorgeous window-walls and a giant octopus o the ceiling. Bar Mar also offers Wine Days on Sundays and Mondays, which is right up my alley!
Chef José has a plethora of restaurants around the globe to check out. If you’ve been to one of his others, let us know your experience in the comments below!