A couple of weeks ago I needed to organize a last minute dinner party for a dear friend’s birthday. It was Friday. I needed a table for eight for Saturday. I called Pinot Bistro–nothing doing. I called Marche–no dice. I called Simon’s–hurrah! They came through. And that’s the thing about Simon’s: They should be super busy but they’re not. I’ve never had to wait for a table there, and I’ve never been disappointed in a meal. Simon, the owner, chef, waiter, and so on, was born in Morocco and opened the first Moroccan restaurant in Japan. He’s been in Encino for at least as long as I’ve been in LA (8 years) so he must be doing something right.
In any case, he was able to make room for our party and, as usual, the service and food were both fantastic. My friends who ordered the brochettes said they were a bit dry, which is unusual, but my chicken tagine was delicious–chicken with currents, apricots, and apples. Simon’s merguez is one of my favorite Valley meals period. I believe he makes the spicy lamb/beef sausages himself and they really are amazing. Also be sure to have falafel to start. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a better falafel. For this trip we had lots of desserts as well and they were all great, but I particularly liked the spiced eggplants and pears I’m sure there’s a fancy French name for these. I just don’t know it. I’m not a foody. I just like food. In the end, the bill was very reasonable and Simon came out and gave the guest of honor a box of cookies for her birthday. Next time you’re at the Arclight Sherman Oaks, do yourself a favor: skip the Cheesecake Factory and walk across the street to Simon’s Cafe. It’s located on Sepulveda just south of the boulevard (across from Whole Foods). There’s parking in the back. You can thank me later.