I would stay away from Bazaar. We were just back from Spain and expecting good things after enjoying Spanish gastronomic delights on our travels.
The dinner we had there was one of the worst meals I've had in my life. We actually had to send food back to the kitchen for being excessively oversalted and inedible --- and I am a fan of heavily seasoned foods and have never sent food back. Dish after dish was a disaster. They were 45 minutes late in seating us for our reservation. The dining room was full of incredibly tacky parties, not upscale to put it politely. And they allowed a large party to remain in the dining room after 10pm with a screaming infant. The valet line after dinner extended more than an hour, with total disarray and inability to manage crowds. Management to back of house, an appalling and disappointing evening. Steer clear if you want a good experience.
Honkman I agree with your assessment. What a major disappointment to see how little Carl has stretched with the menu for this restaurant. Not a single dish boasts any creativity. Shrimp cocktail, mussels, snooze inducing crab cakes, the burger, the oft-everywhere truffle fries, the typical seared salmon, and I could go on. A shocking lack of options for vegetarians. (And god forbid if you are vegan, nothing was alterable in any way.) I shudder to think that with all the plentiful and exotic produce at our doorsteps here in San Diego, this is the best the kitchen puts forward. (And the lack of a cocktail menu is shortsighted indeed.)
The SD dining scene continues to be very one-note... I am sorry that the creativity more food-centric markets demonstrate (SF, LA, Chicago, NYC) can't trickle down here. Clearly the SD food consumer and I don't agree, as the restaurant was packed and the noise level at record decibels on the night I went. (Acoustical elements, anyone?) But I won't be rushing back, as unlike the yelpers, I actually expect some creativity and responsibility from the kitchen... dishes that are more than just a heart attack on the plate. The only thing this restaurant is perfect for is taking any out-of-town visitors who are picky eaters, because they won't have to stretch an inch.
I want to thank everyone for your very helpful comments. Unfortunately this is the only week of year I have off to take from my small business, but I am hoping that the inconveniences of traveling during this time will be outweighed by some of the special aspects being in Japan at this time will bring. It is never possible to experience everything in one trip, so our wish is for a handful of meaningful experiences that pave the way and inspire future trips.
It sounds like we should be prepared to hit the ground running when we land on the 27th for our first 3 nights, which will be in Tokyo. I am glad we have two mornings when Tsukiji is open.
Understanding that much is in fact closed from Jan 1 - Jan 4; do you feel we will be more successful in Kyoto or Tokyo on evening of Jan 2nd? (We will be in Kyoto evenings of 30, 31st and Jan 1st.)
Greetings all. I have greatly enjoyed all the posts from chowhounds on Japan.
I am planning my first trip to Japan this New Year's and am very excited to experience the food, architecture and design of this wonderful country. My husband and I are quite adventurous eaters and have with regular occurence enjoyed some splendid izakaya & sushi in our home city of San Diego and nearby LA.
We are flying out the day after Christmas and return on 4th January.
> Would you recommend spending an equal # of days in Kyoto and Tokyo? Currently we have 5 nights in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto.
> With the New Year's holiday, I presume many restaurants may be closed. But am hopeful that there will be many that remain open. Do you have any advice on this point based off your experiences in Japan at this time? Any advice on dining out during this holiday week and sightseeing (shrines, museums, et al), regarding closures, is much appreciated.
> We love local, seasonal, simple foods and flavors. I imagine we will do at least one formal night out, but any tips on smaller authentic restaurants, street food, noodle shops, et al, and overall, undiscovered places, are much appreciated.
> Any tips on markets? Must experience sake shops? Shops for ingredients, knives, etc?
THANK YOU in advance. I appreciate all your suggestions!
I have been to Modus several times, different nights and different times of night. (We live in the neighborhood). Knowing what Nathan Coulon is capable of, the menu has been a sad disappointment. It's pricey and not very imaginative. It's also the last place you'd want to bring a vegetarian. (I don't think I've ever seen a seafood or veggie-friendly main.) I think 90% of the menu is dedicated to some form of red meat; a big mistake in my book. (Region's over-affection for beef and pork was a big factor in its waning popularity before it's closure.)
Having had the pleasure of living and working in many of the culinary capitals of the world, I do not think we are asking too much for San Diego restaurants to strive to a higher level of culinary imagination, quality and service. The comments regarding Modus needing to decide what it wants to be when it grows up are spot-on. I'd take it one step further and suggest that rather than trying to present an amalgamation of a handful of trendy dining concepts (Ooh, we're a gastropub! No wait, we're a French supper club! No, we're a bar with great food... ALL things Modus staff have claimed), instead Coulon and Johnson put their collective (and talented) heads together and come up with a concept that has originality and a purpose. Let's start with a menu that doesn't assume San Diegoans aren't sophisticated enough to know and expect better.