Simone - Arts District


#61

Hi @PorkyBelly -

I like this report and the photos you chose (short & sweet). You give a good feel for the restaurant.

So, let me see. Based on your report, the comments and @Chowseeker1999’s interpretation of the dishes it seems Simone has a SF feel, they’re not nailing the shared plate concept and a tasting menu might fit the chef’s style better?

Oh, and congratulations on your first Avocado Toast! Too bad about the dessert. It looks very pretty.

Happy DTLA Eating!


#62

Hi Y’all -

Interesting reading the varied opinions on bread charges, how to handle the 4% fee, etc.

I have different a question. This is not a criticism, because I’m not even sure of my own position on this. But does anyone who goes to a restaurant on opening week - finds it disappointing and writes about it - feel an obligation to go again at a later date to give them another shot? I’m not talking about an awful experience, but one where perhaps the execution needs improvement?

Happy Eating & Critiquing!


#63

pretty much. i would also add the menu is very vegan-hamster-forward.


#64

They process food more in San Francisco, and it’s heavier and tends to have lots of ingredients.

For example, the burrata with plum confit, which looks like a confit plums purée; most chefs in LA would serve the burrata with sliced fresh plums seasoned in some way. Also, marrying a celery root purée with charred squash is adding heaviness to a light vegetable dish.

It’s not a bad thing, I think it’s simply a reflection of how cold and damp it is up there.


#65

This is exactly the thought I have after reading all the various reports and seeing the menu. Hence why I ended up canceling my reservation. Not my cup of tea.


#66

I personally do not feel a strong obligation to return, if the report is accurate as to what was experienced on that particular day. We all understand that there are singular dishes that are sometimes messed up, off-nights, etc. The power of FTC is that we get multiple data points from familiar people, and can draw our own conclusions. But I don’t think that returning to a restaurant 3-4 times over several months should be required before you can write a non-professional report, particularly since dining out at some establishments is not exactly cheap. I see FTC-ers as reporting on individual experiences, rather than “rating” a restaurant like a professional food critic might. Hell, I’ve probably only been to my very favorite restaurants, much less any restaurant I’ve commented on here, four times total in a year.

That said, members here like @PorkyBelly and @Chowseeker1999 do tend to make multiple visits over a period of time, so I think at least as far as their comments go, the restaurants get a fair shake.

For the record, I find FTC reports far more useful than Yelp.


#67

Good stuff. Thanks.


#68

I would go back if I read positive reports from others, otherwise no.


#69

Oh, that’s a good one too.


#70

I generally avoid going to places until they’ve been open a month or two unless I hear consistently good things.

When I do go to a new place and encounter problems, instead of saying something specific I usually say that there were some typical new-restaurant issues and people who don’t want to put up with that should wait a while before trying the place.

People who go to new restaurants, don’t send back problem dishes, and review them by the same standards as established restaurants are nitwits.


#71

Went last night with my wife.

We ordered 6 things cause we are fatties.

  • Sourdough bread and butter : Bread was very nice. Butter was average at best.

  • Tomatoes: I really liked the dish. Great pick up on flavor, really bright. The tahini addition gave it a lot of depth. Definitely the thickest tahini i’ve ver had.

  • Avocado Abalone toast - I think it was decent, but it felt kinda dull. Texture execution was good but i think I was probably looking for something more aggressive in the pickle/acid department. They topped it with small dill pickles but they were pretty flavorless.

  • Kanpachi: The rice cakes were kinda dry cause it’s multi grain. The fish was fine. The citrus candied oil was a nice touch. I enjoyed it and really liked the flavor of the oil.

  • Sturgeon: Salt bomb central. The fish of the day was black cod - something super delicate that gets overpowered quickly by the salt. Then there wasn’t really anything to offset the salt. The charred corn husk puree reminded me of taro. It was a really one note dish. Maybe it’s just me but i really like more light flavors with black cod. But the salt was tough to get through. Also only two pieces opposed to the three pieces @porkbelly had.

  • Pork Cheek: SALTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT. I think the brine solution was off. It almost tasted like cured pork. Then on top of it they sprinkled salt on top. The charred bok choy and peanuts were nice. But at $38 that’s a rough one to bite into.

I’ll probably give it a few months before I go back again and I’m definitely not ordering anything from the main protein sides. Even if they weren’t salty, they were relatively bland dishes especially at the price. We informed them of the salt levels. I think the dish composition and flavor profiles have less to do with opening week jitters and more of a conceptual style of the chef. Not sure if going in a couple months would change that. You can tell there was a lot of thought put behind these dishes. The presentation is great, the technique is well honed. Just the flavors fell flat for me for the majority of the dishes. Service was pretty spot on there. Almost too attentive


#72

I have a question: How many of you have been to the restaurants where she was CDC? Was the food delicious?


#73

Maybe it’s insecurity, creative overthinking, instead of just focusing on what tastes good. And again, I sound like a broken record, but a lot of out-of-town chefs don’t do enough research on the L.A. / SoCal palate. Market fresh is only part of it. But, unlike others, I don’t think she’s bandwagoning for dollars. She seems to really love living in L.A. I hope it works out for her and Simone.

Sidebar: This has nothing to do with nothing. But Nina Simone was an extremely difficult person who supposedly - when she wasn’t performing - made everyone around her miserable. I would be really interested in hearing about Chef Jessica’s relationship to the singer - is it the music, her activism or her difficult personality, and the significance of naming the restaurant in her honor.


#74

Here’s a little insight into her frame of mind. I hope the disappointing reviews don’t cause a relapse.


#HangInThereChef


#75

I’ve been to Manresa several times. I’ve been both when she was CDC and after she left. For what it’s worth, I preferred the individual dishes and menu as a whole when she was Manresa’s CDC. The talent is there (it’s also there with chef Mitch, I just didn’t care for the menu that night I last visited).

With that said, I have maintained the opinion that Manresa is 2* Michelin, not 3*, at least according to my tastes and experience. I’ve had 2 great dishes there (under chef Largey), but otherwise mostly good dishes. I’ve dined at Manresa and Saison on back to back nights and Manresa and the Restaurant At Meadowood I’m back to back nights. In both cases, the difference between Manresa and the others was apparent both to me and my party, though Manresa was good and certainly nothing to sneeze at.

With that said, I do think she is talented and has potential. I haven’t been to Simone yet but I think it’s early yet and given her technical prowess she can get things dialed in. It sounds like some calibration is needed to realize her potential but the ingredients are there to make this a good restaurant. I’d give it a few seasons to find their groove with the food style and menu.


#76

Agree.

Admittedly, many of us rabid diner-outers (myself being guilty as charged) on this board (hey, we’re on the board because we are rabid, right?!) tend to “pounce” on hotly anticipated openings. It often takes time for kitchens to find their prime conditioning, and we should give each culinary team a chance to find their bearings.

The only caveat with waiting is that many times, the fickle L.A. market doesn’t allow restaurants to stay open that long before the dreaded 86.


#77

Yah. I think there’s nothing wrong (and even useful) for FTC’ers to visit a restaurant during the grand opening and early days. People do want to know how the food is.

It’s just that if we see potential, it might be worth visiting it again after a bit to see how it’s progressed.

And sometimes new restaurants do quite well even in the early days but those are rarer (Howlin’ Ray’s, Shin Sushi, Torihei, etc., knocked it out of the park even in its early days). :wink:


#78

…and sometimes you gotta get in early before the bait & switch happens.


#79

Or before the opening chef walks out mid-service on the very first night.


#80

This applies to doing reports too. I have good photos and experiences that I can’t report on because the places are already closed.