James Beard Award-winning chef Jessica Largey will open the doors to SIMONE in Los Angeles’ Arts District on September 20. The sprawling, “industrial deco” space offers produce-driven California fare, with a wine list by Beverage Director Jordan Egan (NoMad), and a bar called Duello serving cocktails from Iain McPherson (Edinburgh’s Panda and Sons). Shortly after opening, Chef Largey will launch a special tasting menu at the six-seat chef’s counter, available select evenings per week. SIMONE is a partnership between Chef Largey, Managing Partner Bruno Bagbeni, and film director Joe Russo. Reservations are available via Resy starting today for September 20 and beyond.
“I designed the kitchen to be both efficient for the service of the food but also with each position in mind, in hopes of creating a better flow between the front and back of house,” says Chef Largey. “SIMONE offers a range of dining experiences and having the transparency of seeing the kitchen ensures that we execute everything at the highest level, from bites at the bar to sharing plates in the dining room to a tasting menu at the chef’s counter.”
"We're ecstatic that Jessica chose to return to Los Angeles to open SIMONE. She's a dream chef—her cooking exudes pure warmth and creativity," says Partner Joe Russo. “The mission with SIMONE and DUELLO was to create a world class restaurant and a world class cocktail bar, housed in the same space. We worked diligently for three years to assemble an amazing collection of artisans from around the world to accomplish that goal.”
Drawing inspiration from her childhood spent in the agricultural region of Ventura County, as well as her fine dining background in Michelin-starred kitchens from Providence to Manresa, Chef Largey establishes her own culinary voice with SIMONE. The menu, which prominently showcases Southern California produce, retains the thoughtful technique of her previous restaurant experience, served in a relaxed, approachable style. The chef’s counter, set to debut soon after the opening, will give guests the opportunity to interact with Chef Largey as she serves a refined tasting menu. While vegetables are a vibrant highlight of the menu, Chef Largey demonstrates a mastery of protein as well; Peads & Barnetts Pork Collar and a Dry Aged Flannery “Jorge” Rib Eye are cooked on a Josper Grill, while Abalone finds its place atop a take on avocado toast.
To round out the opening kitchen team, Chef Largey tapped Chef de Cuisine Jason Beberman (Empellon), Pastry Chef Nina Subhas (Roberta’s), and Sous Chef Crystal Espinoza (Union).
SIMONE will open with dinner service only; the chef’s counter and brunch will follow in the coming months. Highlights of the dinner menu include:
- Charred Squash, Nectarine, Macadamia Salsa Macha
- Pole Beans, Urfa Chili Crème Fraîche, Purple Tomatillo, Almond
- Black Cod in Hoja Santa, Roasted Corn, Blistered Shishitos
- Pork Collar, Grilled Long Peppers, ‘Nduja, Olive Tapenade
- Brown Butter Maitake Mushrooms, Turnips, Shallot Miso
Greeting guests upon arrival, Duello is the bar within SIMONE from acclaimed barman Iain McPherson. An illustrated menu takes guests on a journey through the history of the Arts District, including a section of wine and sherry-based cocktails honoring its past as a wine producing region in the 1890s, Tiki and sour drinks referencing its citrus farming period in the 1920s, and cocktails inspired by the 1970s artists that gave the neighborhood its name. The final section includes modern drinks with esoteric ingredients and experimental flavor combinations, a tribute to the evolution of the Arts District as a true culinary destination.
McPherson, whose Edinburgh bar Panda & Sons was a 2018 nominee for Best International High-Volume Cocktail Bar in the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, will split his time between Edinburgh and Los Angeles in the months following opening, continuing to manage Duello and create new seasonal drinks for the menu.
Duello’s cocktails will also be offered in the dining room at SIMONE, and the full dinner menu will be available in the bar. Highlights of each era of the cocktail menu include:
- Lance Bishop (Wine Era)
- El Dorado 5 Year Rum, Merlot, Lime Juice, Honey, Barrel Aged Bitters, Clove Smoke
- Firing Blancs (Citrus Era)
- Sipsmith Gin, Sauvignon Blanc, Salted Citrus Oleo, Pineapple, Chuncho Bitters, Lemon
- Kimchi Gibson (Artist Era – a tribute to Po Kim)
- Botanist Gin, Kimchi, Dolin Dry
- Sage Against The Machine (Modern Era)
- Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof, Kefir Soft Cider, Ginger, Sage
Beverage Director Jordan Egan (formerly of New York’s NoMad and Chicago’s Boka Group) designed SIMONE’s wine list to complement Chef Largey’s bright, acid-forward flavors. With a penchant for Old World wines, Egan assembled an expansive list of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner in particular with a focus on Germany and Austria, as well as a deep selection of esoteric varietals that speak to everyone from an entry-level palate to the most well versed wine drinker. Drawing inspiration from the restaurant’s namesake Simones—Nina and de Beauvoir—Egan aims to capture the strong-willed nature of the former, and the European sensibility of the latter, through the wine list.
Housed in a historic building constructed in 1921, SIMONE invokes an elegant, yet comfortable ambiance reflective of the restaurant’s menu—simultaneously elevated and inviting. Interior designer Deirdre Doherty pays homage to the neighborhood’s history by retaining the original exterior brick walls and concrete floors of the former photography studio, adding Art Deco touches including bronze and glass elements.
Upon entering SIMONE, guests are greeted by the 25-seat bar, Duello. Channeled leather seats, leaded glass windows, and antique mirrors preview the 1920s influence throughout the design. Progressing into the space, bespoke brass and hand-blown glass lighting (custom designed by Jason Koharik) lead past the open kitchen and marble pastry area, to the six-seat walnut chef’s table, providing a glimpse behind the scenes. The 75-seat dining room, illuminated by skylights above and handmade brass chandeliers, is lined with channel-tufted velvet banquettes, spacious brass-edged walnut wood tables, and handsome tweed and leather chairs. Custom stained glass and iron doors imbue a sense of drama into the room. The smaller of the of the moody private dining rooms features hand-painted burgundy-toned Malachite walls by artist Michael Sullivan coupled with bespoke multi-armed articulating hand-blown glass and brass chandeliers, with seating for 12. The other boasts hand-painted gold, black, and cream wallpaper on the ceiling, hand-blown glass sconces and custom artwork by Ryan McCann, and accommodates up to 24 guests.
Chef Jessica Largey spent time at the renowned Providence and Bastide in Los Angeles before joining the team at three Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos in 2009. During her tenure, she was honored as a rising star chef by publications including Zagat, Eater, StarChefs, and San Francisco Chronicle. This September 2018, she joins forces with Partner/General Manager Bruno Bagbeni and director Joe Russo to open SIMONE in the Arts District of Los Angeles.
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