The Unvegan

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In the Woods with Simon LA (CLOSED)

It’s the truffliest.

To celebrate yet another Dine LA Restaurant Week, we found ourselves at Simon LA in the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills. I’m not usually one for restaurant ambience unless that ambience is dingy and dirty, but I really appreciated the way that Simon LA was decorated. In our little booth, we were seated near the middle of the restaurant, yet felt like we were in our own little world because the booth was half-surrounded by some really cool woodsy decor. Not like backwoodsy, but modern and classy. I looked at both the Dine LA menu and the regular menu, then quickly came to conclusion: Dine LA was dead to me.

Okay, not really dead to me, but the Dine LA menu was just so limiting and regular menu had a couple things that jumped out to me instead. The first was called “the meatloaf” and was described as their special recipe with garlic mashed potatoes. The second was a side of truffled macaroni and cheese. But, instead of getting the mac as a side, the waiter offered it up as an app so I wouldn’t feel left out when everyone else got their apps and salads. It was a good idea and I accepted the brief respite from loneliness.

When the mac and cheese came out, it had a healthy yellow color and some nice browning on top that showed it had been cooked for the perfect length of time. I dug in and found myself a pretty nice bowl of mac and cheese. It had a great gooey consistency and didn’t feel overly oily. It did, however, get a little too truffly at parts. Yes, I never thought I would say, but it is possible to have too much truffle. The mac and cheese didn’t quite get there, but it was teetering on the edge, just beckoning of a little more of that delicious oil that apparently must be eaten in moderation at times.

Would you like some meatloaf with your ball of meat?

Soon, the meatloaf arrived and I stared at it aghast. This was no ordinary meatloaf. This was a ball of meat, which some might call a meatball. It was giant, but it was also apparent that this wasn’t just sliced off some loaf of meat. It was topped with what I can only describe as meatloaf sauce and sitting on top of the potatoes was a pile of vegetables that seemed some distant cousins of the carrot. I quickly removed the vegetables that had not been mentioned in any way on the menu and got to work. My initial reaction upon cutting into the ball of meat was that it had some really good seasoning that reminded me of the meatloaf I used to eat growing up. Unfortunately, it was missing something pretty essential to meatloaf – moisture. Yes, it seemed that the cooking style of a traditional meatloaf helped retain the essential juiciness of beef. The ball of meat at Simon LA, however, was on the dry side and reminded me more of an overcooked burger than meatloaf. Perhaps that was why “the meatloaf” was in quotes on the menu…

The mashed potatoes were also a bit disappointing. They were quite viscous and not very flavorful for supposedly being of the garlic variety.

Perhaps I would have been better off sticking to the Dine LA menu, but I really had faith that they could handle meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I guess I was wrong.