My Evening at Simon LA
We went last night, had a party to go to at 10, so we decided to have dinner there before. I tried to get an 8pm reservation on Monday, they said, "just come in - we'll find something for you"... well, what they found was this odd long, low plank table in the center of the restaurant they called "the chef's table"... it was more like the Children's Table, and was really uncomfortable. Low, sat on upholstered stools with no back. We waited 20 minutes before anyone arrived to take drinks orders - Luckily the evening improved from there. There were lots of apologies and the service was fine. The food was actually very good. We had no intention of ordering off the DineLA menu, but after looking at the standard menu, the DineLA menu was more appealing.
Starters were a Crab salad - DELICIOUS and a Yellowtail Carpaccio, also good. The mains were braised short ribs which were great and a huge portion, and I had Red Thai Chicken Curry which was very good, if standard curry. Desserts were little red velvet cupcakes, so so and a doughnut bread pudding which was AWFUL. The little touch at the end was some fresh, fun cotton candy! Nice fun touch.
Would I go back? Nope. Just not special enough. Fine but not good enough in this town where excellent restaurants have FINALLY arrived.
Hmmm... We had an almost identical experience at SimonLA last night, although we were specifically there for the DineLA menu. We ordered the crab salad and the grilled radicchio salad as our first course. I found the crab far less impressive -- almost no flavor, and severely underdressed. The grilled radicchio was more flavorful, but "grilled"? No -- more like "barely singed".
We ordered the same two entrees, and I agree with your take on the short ribs -- nice portion, delicious. However, the Thai curry was indistinguishable from bad mall food, and accompanied by a single chicken satay that was severely overcooked.
The doughnut bread pudding was not just awful, but detestable; it tasted foul, and had no discernible texture (did they run the doughnuts through a blender?). The soft chocolate tart with lemon gelato was much better, but tiny. When we told the server how disappointed we were with the bread pudding, she returned with one of the red velvet cupcakes, along with the cotton candy. The cupcake was laughable -- miniscule (i.e., smaller than the bite-size cakes you'd buy at any reputable bakery), soaked in vanilla, with red dye leeching through the paper wrapper. We agreed, regrettably, that the cotton candy was the most fun and interesting element of the entire meal.
Service was prompt and reasonably warm, but what's up with the servers' uniforms? Black polo shirt and slacks are way too casual for a restaurant with $35 entrees. And the uncovered wood-laminate tables -- straight from Denny's, and seriously at odds with the high-design room dividers and lighting elements.
Overall, our experience hardly merited a B+. I doubt we'll be back.
Re: the crab salad either we have different tastes or there is no uniformity in the kitchen; I suspect the latter. You're right on that doughnut thing, I was trying to be kind, you "went there" and you're right, it was vile. I'm no fan of Red Velvet ANYTHING, and this certainly didn't change my opinion. And I agree on the Red Thai Curry, v. average. And I think a B+ is more than generous.