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Jan 29, 2009 12:48 PM

our own thi, posted on simon's, inthe times.

are other hounds also fans?

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  1. I don't think I qualify as a fan.

    He likes to do things like make a sausage that's very fine, and *elegant* in texture, but very fiery and wild and punchy in flavor. But I feel that in his food, there are emotional *layers* - a layer of suave, a layer of excited, a layer of careful, a layer of spikey beautiful, a layer of calm.

    Anyway: yes. Simon's Cafe. I love it. It's a happy place. One of my two favorite pastilla/bastila's in town. Sunnin's is the homiest, most comfortable, and most My-Lebanese-Gramma-Baked-Me-A-Meat-Pie-And-I'm-Cozy; Simon's is complex, austere, surprising artiness.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Thi N.

      sounds good, i'll have to try it.

      the owner/chef is jewish but i take that it's not kosher???

      also, i might have missed this but the bestilla = pastilla, correct? is that just different areas of morocco with the different spellings and slightly adjusted names. what do you think of the version at chameau, and is it always supposed to be dusted with powdered or confectioners' sugar, i still can't quite wrap my head around that one.

      was the tiramisu really that good, top 5 for la, if so it might really be something special.

      1. re: kevin

        Bestilla, pastilla, bastila, b'stila are all versions I've seen on the menus.

        The French desserts are quite nice and fine - not demandingly bold, just straightforward, classic, simple, casually perfect. I think the eggplant and syrup is the real genius dish.

        I've never been to chameau. But they are always dusted with confectioner's sugar, and frequently with cinnamon. It's a definite sweet/savory thing - sweet inside and out. I think it's connected to the older Middle Eastern-ish aesthetic - cinnamon/sugar/poultry hits a similar note to meat/date, or meat/honey. I've read about (but never had) meat halwah, also....

        Why can't you wrap your head around it?

        I have no idea if it's kosher - it didn't say so in any obvious place, but I'm not exactly attuned to that sort of thing.

        1. re: Thi N.

          powdered sugar with chicken or duck or meat. but then again it's like a monte cristo sandwich so not that out of the ordinary i guess.
          or like the beef stew with dates.

          1. re: kevin

            No weirder than, say, duck with plum sauce. Actually, there's a similarity - mirrorings across cultures. Plum sauce and cinnamon/sugar have the same sweet-but-hefty-with-some-nice-butt to the taste.

            1. re: kevin

              This is actually the *least* sweet bastilla I know - Sunnin's is much sweeter. This is much *meatier* and a little bit gamey, in a good way.

              1. re: Thi N.

                hopefully i'll try this wkend.

                and i hope they'll have that eggplant with ginger on the menu, is it actually on the dessert menu? or on the dinner menu as an appetizer that bascially works as dessert/

        2. re: Thi N.

          Just tried it. And it was prettty good, it's a good thing there is parking in the back. Simon (i presume) served us along with another server. tiny space, almost a hole in the wall but not quite. prices are a little bit higher than what one may be expecting especially at lunch.

          the pastila was really interesting, but the filling was heavier than i believed it was going to be. didn't know it would be dusted with cinnamon too, and yet i could have even liked it a notch or so sweeter. the pastilla arrived on a huge plate and looked almost like a folded over masala dosa. the pasty was great though. the merguez sausages were nicely spicey and a little gamy and grainy, which works in the framework of moroccan merguez (as Simon says, the merguez is mostly beef with a hint of lamb added into the mix). and the appetizer plate especially the tomatoes with spicey sauce and the lightest, fluffiest falafels i've had in quite some time were pretty darn good. the stewed eggplant dessert didn't taste like eggplant at all to me but rather much like a quince chuntey or jam, which you can find in persian grocery marts. my friend raved about the pecan tart, which he thought was out of this world. sadly, they did not have the tiramisu. but the chocolate layer cakes looked great and the chocolate mousse sounded great too.

          1. re: kevin

            The Sunnin bastilla is far more sweet, and more typical - there's a definite 50/50 meat/sweet balance - Simon's bastilla is a weirder, denser thing.

            Yes: the falafels. Fluffy. I have, on my computer, about 40 failed attempts to describe those godly falafels. I have one attempt that comes sort of close, but it took 800 words, just on the falafels, which is longer than my word limit for the entire piece.

            I *love* those falafels.

            Also, kevin - did you see the La Pupusa Loca piece last Wedn? My guess it that it's super in your aesthetic.


            1. re: Thi N.

              must have missed la pupusa, will have to check it out.

              i almost wish they had a falafel sandwich on the menu at simon's. but i don't think they deal in sandwiches as much. i've never tried the sunnin bastilla/pastilla, etc. but will try soon hopefully, usu. i just order their mezze combo, or their great hummus and savory pastries filled with ground beef and pine nuts (not the kibbe, though), are the pastila at sunnin all chicken or a ground duck and ground chicken combo like at simon's?

        3. This self-appointed board shammes humbly adding the link to article in question:

          1 Reply
          1. re: RicRios

            Thank you for posting, it helped to clarify the op for me as well. Now I get it!