Dinner at Simone had been in the diary for quite a while so I was excited when the day finally came around for me to visit.
I celebrated by walking to the recently opened venue in LA’s arts district along the actual Skid Row. Whilst there I met the biggest cockroach of all time. It wasn’t the most comfortable walk of all time. I got a cab home and I’d recommend you do likewise when coming and going.
Simone has a strong Edinburgh connection with Panda & Sons and Hoot the Redeemer co-owner Iain McPherson the creative director at the restaurant’s cocktail bar, Duello. In addition, legendary bartender Kaiko Tulloch, late of Panda and Lucky Liquor, is weaving her mixology magic behind the bar. It was lovely to see my old pal.
The kitchen at Simone is led by James Beard Foundation Award winner Jessica Largey. After a couple of aperitifs at Duello I took up station at the chef’s counter and contemplated the menu over a glass of cremant.
I sought advice from my attentive waiter who recommended I start with the burrata, then follow with the cabbage before a main course of sturgeon. This all sounded good to me.
Following a nicely crisp corn fritter amuse bouche, the burrata dish arrived looking very bonnie. The soft and creamy strands of cheese were served in a persimmon confit with nigella seeds, pomegranate and purslane. It was highly accomplished stuff.
The kitchen then sent me the first of two bonus courses with a nicely fresh sweet potato salad. This was followed by the very stylish cabbage dish. Crisped outer leaves sat atop grilled cabbage on a bed of macadamia, celeriac and pickled apple. It was excellent.
We then moved on to the outstanding dish of the evening, pork meatballs topped at the table with parmesan broth. With puffed rice and spinach bringing crunch and freshness, this was an exceptionally well-balanced dish with the meatballs beautifully soft, bursting with meaty flavour and the deep umami hit of the broth just splendid.
The main course brought together the firm white flesh of sturgeon with elegant cauliflower and zingy yuzu. It was spot-on.
I was pretty full but having been introduced to the pastry chef Nina Subhas before sitting down at the counter, I felt dessert was essential. I chose the persimmon cake which was beautifully light and airy with an aromatic black cardamom ice cream. It was an excellent end to a first class meal.
Simone has an alluring elegance about it with top-notch dishes, some deft drinks pairings, and a general feeling of assured class emanating from all aspects of the offering. For such a new restaurant – it opened in September this year – it feels very settled and established. Make sure to put it on your list for a visit.
Blythe scores Simone
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4.5/5 for service
giving an overall 17.5/20
I ate: burrata, cabbage, pork meatballs, sturgeon, persimmon cake
I drank: cremant, Riesling, palo cortado, local red, espresso
I wore: SundayFunday shirt
Total bill: $150.32
Address: 449 South Hewitt, LA, California