Bazaar in Madrid
We arrived as usual, without reservations (which, in any case, Bazaar doesn't take) and demanded a table for three. Bazaar is a double-decker which still accommodates smokers as well as non-smokers (at least it did in August, 2006). Since we arrived a few minutes before the "dinner rush" began, the required table was quickly provided to us in the non-smoking section, downstairs.
The scene to me felt very Tribec-ish (or is it the decor?), in the best possible sense of this word. Anyway, the majority are 30-somethings who might have to dress up during the day, but at night feel quite comfortable without their jackets. That is to say that for gentlemen, shirts and T-shirts are equally popular, but jackets are non-existent. Judge for yourself from the illustration attached.
As far as the design of the space, personally I couldn't ask for more. If you liked Sosa Borella in Tribeca (I did), you'll like this restaurant... or at least, will see many similarities. Of course, Bazaar is much bigger than the original Sosa Borella on Greenwich Street.
THE MENUThe menu consists of two pages of small dishes. Our deep and extensive knowledge of Spanish was insufficient (or irrelevant) for deciphering them, since the menu had all kinds of dishes we'd never heard about. But of course, that's exactly the point - Bazaar is decidedly international and eclectic.
We stuck to the relatively familiar fish and seafood territory. After a shared salad we each got our own dish, mine being the Rollitos de Lenguado (lenguado is sole). It was delicious. Other selections on the menu reveal Asian, pan-American and Italian influences.
The wine section offers a small list, all falling in the 7-10 euro range. We tried a 2005 Rioja white for €9.50 and were satisfied enough to ask for the second bottle.
Most of the waitstaff seems to be Filipino (or possibly just Asian); relatively quick, absolutely impatient, barely comprehensible and unwilling to joke around. In other words, just order from the menu and shut up. There's a line of people waiting upstairs and ellos no estan para bromas.
Overall, (after two visits in as many years), I decided that I like Bazaar and will bring more friends here. The cuisine probably won't win any major awards, but the combination of the variety of small, tasty dishes, the affordable prices and the relaxed atmosphere makes it a good choice in Madrid. Of course, the service could be better (or at least they could try to smile more) but I feel that other factors more than compensate for the lack of amicability.
Calle de la Libertad 21
(m) Chueca or Sevilla