Simon LA. The Bryan Adams of chefs.
Kerry Simon is known as the Rock n’ Roll Chef.
But as far as rock stars go, he’s the culinary equivalent of Bryan Adams. Well crafted, familiar and accessible. A working class dream in a million dollar venue.
Don’t get me wrong. Bryan Adams is more successful than most musicians will ever be. Has more fans, sold more records, played more shows than most. But on the international stage, he’s no Bono.
And I have to admit, the thing that pushed me to try Simon LA was Restaurant Week. Which is basically the culinary equivalent of scoring cheap tix.
The venue itself was kinda sexy. Like a darkened nightclub meets a haunted forest. We sat down to the support act. A glass of prosecco, which got us suitably warmed up for the headline act.
Kerry Simon opened his set with a jumbo lump crab salad with avocado, micro greens and a grapefruit vinaigrette. Maybe not the most innovative dish but very tasty. The crab was chunky and the salad was well dressed. For a reluctant salad eater, I polished this dish off.
Next up was the grilled skirt steak with balsamic roasted root vegetables. The skirt steak was left nicely pink in the middle but with a heavy sear. The marinade was well caramelized. To my palate, it reminded me of Malaysian satay. I loved the sweetness of it. There was ample jus to keep the meat moist and the vegetables were simply cooked but delicious. The dish was comforting, hearty and left me wanting more. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
For his encore, Simon broke out some more crowd pleasers. Cheesecake and cotton candy. The cotton candy was a fun element but, obviously, insubstantial. Still, a playful addition. The cheesecake came out looking like a scoop of ice cream on top of a crust. But it was indeed cheesecake. An incredibly smooth and creamy cheesecake. Not what you’d think of as a traditional cheesecake presentation but I loved this dessert.
Looking back over the meal, I can’t say that there was any one dish or component that was particularly outstanding or challenging. It was like a collection of greatest hits. Perhaps safe but very enjoyable. And that’s what Kerry Simon does. Food we know and recognize but executed very well. So well that you can’t help but like it, even if you’re not wowed.
Much like Bryan Adams.
I still find myself singing along to “Summer of ’69” whenever it comes on the radio. I can’t help it.
And I’m willing to bet a lot of you out there do too.
I guess, despite myself, I’m a fan.Simon LA
Sofitel Los Angeles
8555 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048