If José Andrés is the Willy Wonka of molecular gastronomists — and any man who freezes popcorn with liquid nitrogen and calls it Dragon's Breath is worthy of the title — then the opulent tasting menu at Saam is his Everlasting Gobstopper. The menu varies but typically features at least 20 courses and a rotating cast of Andrés' signatures: his Wagyu-and-air-bread play on a Philly cheesesteak, or “liquid olives,” spheres of olive juice and alginate that burst in your mouth, transporting you to a Barcelona tapas bar. The trickery is served up in a serene, semisecret dining room, tucked away inside the otherwise bustling Bazaar at the SLS Hotel — which allows you to give the complex, whimsical bites the undivided attention they deserve. At $150 a head (or a whopping $350 for the seasonal white truffle tasting, which starts Oct. 23 and is offered for about a month), it's a splurge, to put it mildly. But a dining experience this unusual probably is worth every penny. —Andy Hermann

465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove, 90048. (310) 246-5545, sbe.com.

LA Weekly