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DineLA 2009: Simon LA

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Simon LA was chosen as the first stop on our Dine LA blitz because of the impressive appetizers we sampled at the Behind the Unseen event held there. Simon Kerry, who is known as the rock and roll chef, stood in the kitchen staring intently at the dining room, which was not empty but definitely not bustling. The servers were bursting with enthusiasm and friendliness. They responded to our bad jokes by adding their own quips, and their positive energy was contagious.

The decor of Simon LA, which is nestled into the Sofitel and adjacent to Stone Rose, is hip and stylish, but maintains a mellow and relaxing vibe. The taupe interior and comfy Eames-inspired chairs that are offset with metal features and glossy black surfaces makes the dining room feel like a room you could live in.

The menu is solid, and dotted with bits of whimsy. There are surprises throughout the meal and for the most part food is handled with a deft hand. Occasional problems with execution kept it from being a perfect meal, but only one dessert was truly a letdown. The regular menu holds lots of intriguing possibilities and I'm sure there are many surprises yet to come, such as the big puff of cotton candy that arrived at our table at the end of the meal.

DineLA: The First Bite