319 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 6/4/2016
I first dined at Simbal in February but recently returned for this second visit. Coincidentally, the restaurant celebrated its first anniversary this past week. The restaurant is still going strong serving up its modern southeast Asian-inspired cuisine.
We got seats at the kitchen counter again providing a view of the action. In terms of ordering, we opted to order entirely different things this time just to try more of the menu.
Hamachi crudo fish sauce dashi, pickled green papaya, shallots
Thick slices of hamachi were bathed in this nice fish sauce dashi. Cubes of green papaya added some texture to these clean, fresh bites.
Wild octopus grilled, wax and cannellini bean salad, vietnamese herbs
I thought this was an excellent dish. Tender, charred octopus segments were matched up with a cool salad of creamy cannellini beans and waxy yellow and green beans.
Roasted eggplant and squash pickled tomatoes, scallion oil, fish sauce caramel
The kitchen sent out this salad featuring eggplant, squash and tomatoes. Served cool, there was a mix of sweet-sour flavors and a variety of textures from the soft eggplant to waxy squash and juicy tomatoes.
Wild shrimp congee, caramel sauce, poached egg
The shrimp congee really felt like an Asian version of shrimp and grits. The porridge was smooth with plenty of depth of flavor from the caramel sauce, while the egg yolk added an extra level of richness.
Pungent seasoned rice chili jam, salted duck egg yolk, bonito powder, crispy garlic
Our server warned us that this fried rice was very pungent; maybe it was expectations, but I found the fried rice to be very mild in “pungency” and actually could’ve used some more oomph and salt, maybe from some fish sauce.
Jidori chicken thigh ginger caramel braised, scallions
Juicy jidori chicken thighs sat in a savory caramel-ish sauce, addicting over the jasmine rice.
Heavenly beef coriander, garlic, dry aged beef fat
Heavenly beef featured tender cubes of beef with plenty of peppercorn and some herbs. It reminded me as a sort of Asian steak au poivre, but less saucy.
Coconut flan tamarind caramel, coconut snow
The meal ended on this flan, light with plenty of coconut flavor.
We had another good meal at Simbal. Highlights in this visit were the hamachi, octopus and jidori chicken thigh. I intend to return to try more of the food here.