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First Look: Chef Jose Andres opens Bazaar Meat at new SLS Las Vegas Hotel

Chef Jose Andres (JaleoMinibar, The Bazaar) unveiled his Spanish-inflected steakhouse in the new SLS Las Vegas Hotel, and it’s a real looker.

Tucked into a secluded area in the back of the hotel’s main floor, Bazaar Meat is Andres’ celebration of all things meat.

“I didn’t want to open a traditional American steakhouse,” Andres told me over dinner at his meatery a couple of days ago. “I don’t really understand Americans’ fascination with aging meats, which just dries out the meat. To me, flavorful meat comes from an older animal, not from how long you age the meat.”

So instead of spending money on a dry-aging locker or 200+ day dry-aged beef, a la Carnevino, Andres says he tasted nearly 600 different steaks from dozens of purveyors to whittle down his menu to what he considers to be the best grass-fed, corn-finished beef in America.

At the moment, he’s sourcing his rib steaks from Washugyu Ranch in Oregon  and Harris Ranch in California, but Andres says he’s focused on using purveyors who farm or ranch sustainably. Soon, he’ll be featuring steaks from 6- to 7-year-old retired dairy cows.

At Bazaar Meat, steaks are mostly sold by weight ($50-$80 a pound) and sliced for sharing,. “This is meant to be a tapas style meat restaurant, with family style service and an easy pace,” said Andres.  The shared plates philosophy extends to vegetables and seafood (from fish to urchin), too, which occupy about a third of the two-page menu.

Philip Starck is credited with Bazaar Meat’s design, which takes styling cues from both upscale hunting lodges (wildlife paintings, taxidermy, knives as décor) and lounges (buttery leather banquettes, soft carpet, dim lights, AOR music). The kitchen also gets the whiz-bang treatment, divided into distinct display kitchens for meats, vegetable and seafood cookery rather than typical French brigade stations squirreled out of view.

A variety of charcoal and live-wood fired grills provide the smoke and fire (cherry and apple woods at the moment), plus a Jasper grill that Andres says replicates the super-hot charcoal ovens used in Spain.

“Here, I’m trying to capture the flavor of a meal in Southern Spain, when you are surrounded by friends and family, good wines, grilled meats, roasted vegetables. and there’s no rush.” Andres told me.

As with Andres’ Los Angeles and Miami restaurants, Bazaar Meat is a collaboration with hotelier (and SLS owner) Sam Nazarian.

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