Restaurant: The Bazaar

The story of the building in which this restaurant is located, the Waldorf Astoria, can be found at the end of the restaurant review.

Susan, David, Max, Debbie, and I went to “The Bazaar – By Jose Andres” restaurant on July 13th, 6 months after it opened.

There are male and female servers. It appears that each of the “waiters” is accompanied by an assistant. In our case the waiter was Lucas, and his assistant was Justin.

The restaurant is multi-floor with large steps between floors. There is a two-person elevator that can be used by those for whom the steps make entering the dining floor difficult if not impossible.

There are several traditional liquor bars on the lower floors below the main dining floor which seats 120+ at the same time on 2, 4, 5-6 tops.

There is on the menu a dinner called The Bazaar Experience, a five-course offering called an “exceptional” tasting menu at $150/person (pre-gratuity).

The regular menu is broken into several sections “A peek into the Archives”, “Little Snacks”, “Traditional Tapas”, “Modern Tapas”, and “Dessert”.

There is no “take out” or “delivery.” Although a couple of dishes that we ordered had leftovers and Debbie asked to take them home. Then we left the bag containing the leftovers in the restaurant.

As we were leaving the restaurant, a person who seemed to be a manager, escorted us to the 2-person elevator and mentioned that a large part of the cliental were visitors to Washington but not many local folks have visited. We promised to tell our friends.

We ordered 13 items which turned out to be too much. We ordered 2 items from Archives, 6 items from Modern Tapas, 3 items from Traditional Tapas, 1 desert and 1 item that was not on the printed menu.

By popular request, Max devised a rating system so we could figure out our favorite dishes. Everyone rated each dish on the following scale:

1 – Eh…
2 – Good!
3 – Great!!
x – Did not try

Here are our rankings of the tapas:

Rank Dish Avg. Individual Ratings
1 Steak & piquillo – short rib steak, piquillo chips, piquillo pil pil 3.00
2 Neptune’s pillows – sesame rocoto, spicy tuna, fresh wasabi 3.00
3 Crab Louie cone – Marie Rose sauce, avocado, garden pickles 2.80
4 Rossejat negra – paella-style pasta, squid ink, uni, sepia sofrito, shrimp 2.67
5 Key lime pie (dessert) – José’s way 2.50
6 Patatas bravas – not on the menu 2.50
7 Philly cheesesteak – airbread, cheddar, Wagyu beef 2.40
8 California funnel cake – seaweed funnel cake, avocado, Blue Crab, tobiko, mayo, cucumber 2.00
9 Ferran Adrià modern olives – liquid Arbequina olive, Gordal olive, Manzanilla olives 2.00
10 Ensaladilla de cangrejo – Maryland Blue Crab, potatoes, mayo espuma 2.00
11 Potatoes Pau Gasol – fried potatoes, labneh, cured egg yolk, Ossetra caviar 1.67
12 Spanish octopus – Potato espuma, fried potatoes, chorizo 1.67
13 Baby Japanese peaches – Fresh burrata, hazelnuts, arugula 1.40

The washrooms are located on a lower level of the building. One can get tired just looking up or down the very long flight of stairs. Presumptively, there are separate male and female washrooms, the following is from the male washroom.

There is a black marble counter in which there are located three washbasins headed by long mirrors. There are black figured floors. To the right there are 5 white ceramic urinals with partial walls between them. Behind them are a series of commode rooms. There is also a crib to rest or change a baby.

The Old Post Office building was built between 1892 and 1899. It was used as the city’s main General Post Office until 1914.

A year after the building opened, an accident there took the life of D.C. Postmaster James P. Willett. On September 30, 1899, Willett fell 90 feet (27 m) down an open elevator shaft. Nothing more than a flimsy wooden barrier prevented access to the shaft. Willett died a day later.

Thereafter, it functioned primarily as a federal office building.

Major renovations were made to the building in 1976 and 1983. Between then and 1991 it was used for a variety of commercial purposes and renamed the “Old Post Office Pavilion.”

In 2013, the U.S. General Services Administration leased the property for 60 years to a consortium headed by “DJT Holdings LLC” a holding company that Donald Trump owns through a revocable trust. Trump developed the property into a luxury hotel, the Trump International Hotel which opened in 2016 and closed in May 2022 after its sale to CGI Merchant Group. It reopened as the Waldorf Astoria on June 1, 2022. [Wikipedia 7/28/23]

The Bazaar
By Jose Andres
1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC