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José Andrés’s new cocktail tasting menu is a total trip

José Andrés’s new cocktail tasting menu is a total trip
Photograph: Courtesy The Bazaar by José Andrés/Dustin Downing

Strap in and prepare for takeoff, because Bar Centro’s new cocktail flights are a wild ride. Fittingly, the first “course” in the city’s most intriguing new beverage menu arrives in a silver spoon shaped like an airplane, a nod to the beverage-based jetsetting you’re about to enjoy.

The new six-course cocktail tasting launched at the tail end of May; it’s an exercise in method—liquid nitrogen, centrifuge and clarification, to name a few—and charming presentation, but first you’ve got to find it.

Like a nesting doll, the cozy 12-seat Bar Centro is tucked into restaurant the Bazaar by José Andrés, which itself sits within the Beverly Hills adjacent SLS Hotel. As you walk through the lobby to reach the bar’s new offering—it’s all the way in the back—you’ll pass by sculptures, Philippe Starck’s colorful and eye-popping décor, a charming confections counter and entrances to Andrés’s multiple dining concepts within the Bazaar all vying for your attention. But keep your eyes on the prize, because what you’re here for is that new $55 cocktail flight, which, as it turns out, is more of an hourlong experience than a simple tasting.  

 

The LN2 Caipirinha
Photograph: Courtesy The Bazaar by José Andrés/Dustin Downing

 

That silver airplane isn’t full of a simple liquid cocktail: It holds a gelatinous gin-and-tonic-inspired bubble of sangria, meticulously engineered to hold its shape. You eat this after you spritz your mouth with gin from an old-timey glass perfume bottle; you’re steps away from the chef’s new presentation-forward Somni restaurant, after all, and plating is one of José Andrés’s specialties. The fun, games and mad science continue throughout the remaining five courses, which include a trip to the Colonies with Ben Franklin’s recipe for milk punch—served in a glass milk carton—and a jaunt to Brazil with a shockingly cold caipirinha made with liquid nitrogen, fog billowing over the rim of its mixing bowl.

Of course, it’s entirely possible the drinks will be different when you visit. General Manager Ricardo Garrido Gomez and the rest of the Bar Centro team want to keep the cocktail tastings fresh, and expect to rotate the flight seasonally. 

You probably won’t need to reach the end of the six courses before feeling just how boozy these drinks are, small as some may be. The staff are well aware, which is why they’ve even more recently launched a included bar snacks to complement the beverages and help pad your stomach. Of course, we recommend putting in an entire order of José Andrés’s famous chicken-and-béchamel croquettes to really do the job. (Okay fine, we’re always just looking for an excuse to order those.)

Bar Centro can be found within The Bazaar by José Andrés, at 465 S La Cienega Blvd. Bar-flight reservations are not required but can be made by calling 310-246-5555.

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