José Andrés Opens His Latest Restaurant Inside the Former Trump Hotel

The Bazaar debuts today in the lobby of the new Waldorf Astoria.

The Bazaar sits prominently in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria, formerly the Trump hotel. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

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José Andrés will open his whimsical Spanish-inspired restaurant the Bazaar inside the former Trump hotel today—eight years after he backed out of a deal in the same location, leading to a high-profile legal battle with the former President of the United States.

Andrés initially signed on to open a fine-dining restaurant in the lobby of the historic Old Post Office building before it was converted into a hotel, and before Donald Trump became a political candidate. The chef says his initial interest in the iconic address actually dates back three decades, when one of his Jaleo customers, then-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, planted the idea of revitalizing the property. It was finally set to become a reality when Trump announced his bid for president in 2015 with incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants. Andrés decided to cut ties, leading to lawsuits between the two parties (which were ultimately settled with undisclosed terms.) Steakhouse BLT Prime moved in instead, becoming the city’s most prominent right-wing gathering place.

Flash-forward: Andrés is now a superstar celebrity and humanitarian, popping up at every major global crisis with his non-profit, World Central Kitchen, ready to feed those in need. Trump, more divisive than ever, has moved out of the White House and sold off his once-prized hotel lease to Waldorf Astoria. Call it karma. Call it a comeback. Andrés’s return is certainly a poetic epilogue to the hotel’s long-running drama.

Foie gras wrapped in cotton candy is a signature Bazaar dish that dates back to the original location in Los Angeles. Photograph by Louiie Victa.

So, what can you expect from the restaurant? Like the Bazaar’s offshoots in Miami Beach, Chicago, and beyond, this one pays homage to Andrés’s Spanish heritage with global inspirations and a modern twist. Imagine foie gras wrapped in cotton candy and seaweed funnel cake alongside more traditional Spanish tapas like oxtail croquetas and stuffed piquillo peppers.

As a nod to the prominent Pennsylvania Avenue address, this location also riffs off classic and historical Americana cuisine. The menu describes the approach as a “peek into the archives”—similar to the food at Andrés’s now-closed America Eats Tavern. Crab Louie salad, which originated in San Francisco in the early 1900s, is transformed into a mini one-bite cone with Maryland blue crab, avocado mousse, creamy dressing, and a topping of raw and pickled vegetables. A “Philly cheesesteak” is comprised of super-light “airbread” and wagyu beef. Another dish riffs off Moynihan’s favorite meal in the Senate cafeteria: beans and sausage. This version, however, uses Spanish butifarra pork sausage and cuttlefish for some surf-and-turf flair. A tasting menu is still in the works.

The restaurant is also open for breakfast and lunch. Mornings kick off with olive oil pancakes and waffles with Manchego and jamon Iberico. Andrés is an egg obsessive, so naturally there’s a whole slate of egg dishes—from fried egg-topped patatas bravas to black truffle omelets (with optional caviar add-on).

In case you’re wondering, no, there was no sage burning ceremony after the Trump hotel moved out. But the place has gotten a significant makeover thanks to Spanish designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán. The new look is full of color with flowered wallpaper, brightly colored furniture, and greenery galore. The first floor features a bar with fringed marigold-yellow seats on one side, and a standing-only pintxos and jamón bar on the other.

The Bazaar’s Caipirinha will be prepared tableside with liquid nitrogen. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Up on the mezzanine, you’ll find the main 150-seat dining room and an open tapas kitchen, where you can watch more than half of the menu and desserts being produced. A service bar will send out carts for tableside cocktail presentations. A caipirinha, for example, is frozen with liquid nitrogen in front of guests to create a super velvety texture. Andrés’s famous salt air margarita and gin and tonic also makes an appearance, alongside even fancier options like the “Around the World in 80 Days” ($32) with a global mix of spirits including rare Iberico-infused mezcal, sparkling sake, cachaca, and manzanilla sherry. Meanwhile, the wine list leans Spanish but also features local Virginia growers and newer, younger producers from around the world making an impact in the industry.

José Andrés like to build “longer tables”—literally. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Andrés loves to talk about building “longer tables,” and here the design team has taken a literal approach with two 16-foot-long tables flanking both sides of the marble staircase. The most coveted tables along the mezzanine rail overlooking the hotel lobby—once prized by Republican power players like Mark Meadows and Matt Schlapp—have been reimagined with couch-like seats and fox-patterned pillows.

The changing of the guard is sure to bring in a very different set of fans, many who boycotted the hotel under its previous owner. In the days leading up to the opening, Andrés himself was off juggling relief efforts in Turkey and Ukraine while finding time to shave chef Andrew Zimmern’s beard on the beach in the Cayman Islands.

But Sam Bakhshandehpour, the president of Andrés’s restaurant and media empire, promises, “he’ll be posted up here regularly.”

The Bazaar by José Andrés inside the Waldorf Astoria. 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. 

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.