STRIPLVDINING - SIMON PALMS PLACE by Vegas Food Nerd
Chef Kerry simon is the rock ‘n roll chef.
He was knighted that particular title by none other than Rolling Stone Magazine. His impact on our city cannot be debated. His signature culinary style and his partnership with Las Vegas’ queen of dining, Elizabeth Blau, has helped to redefine the way we nosh here in town. He has come a long way from the young kid in Chicago who took a job at his local Little Caesars pizza shop to earn money for an electric guitar. It was at that job his love for cooking was sparked. Caesars by day followed by experimental cooking out of Julia Child’s cookbooks at night. Do you think those pizza customers had any idea that they were picking up their orders of crazy bread from a future Iron Chef? Probably not. How could they have known at the time that this guy was going to create the perfect hamburger? That burger went on to help him defeat Cat Cora and ultimately give him the Iron Chef win. He is such an important figure in Las Vegas. My husband has met the dynamic and engaging chef several times, and in turn, has also dined at his restaurants several times. He would come home and rave about what the chef had created for him on each visit. Food nerd that I am, I was floored and honored to have him follow me on Twitter.
Sadly, now after conquering the culinary world and garnering a slew of celebrity friends and fans worldwide, our rock ‘n roll chef is now battling something that few are able to conquer, MSA. Multiple System Atrophy is an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease that affects multiple parts of the body, causing slowness of movement, muscle rigidity and poor balance. Chef Simon and close friends had known about the diagnosis long before he went public with the news. Now, while being treated with stem cells and battling MSA, Kerry has decided to go public, to help raise awareness for others who have it, and raise money for research. He has given a new voice to the disease, and his courage and bravery inspire not only myself, but also the many others who are going through the same thing as he is right now.
So it was only natural that I had to write about one of his restaurants this month. Simon at Palms Place, long known as a hot spot to view a celebrity or two, is also one of the coolest places to eat at night. I’d heard of the fun, come-as-you-are pajama brunches, but word of its nighttime ambience was what I wanted to experience. The vibe inside of this place is sleek, dark, romantic and cool. The tables across from the sushi bar look out onto the pools and some really fun-looking cabanas. Our table was situated in front of the outdoor fireplace that was outside by the pools. The effect of the light made for a very romantic vibe to the night. I loved the modern feel to the restaurant. It was modern done right – not cold and stark – but futuristic and warm. Even if you don’t get a meal here, it is a pretty sexy spot for a martini or two.
As I mentioned before, my husband had been to Simon many times and his experience was with the sushi menu, on which he had tried just about the entire menu. A big sushi lover, he told me that there wasn’t one that he tried that wasn’t prepared to perfection. So on this visit, it seemed only fitting to try some of his comfort food that Simon is so well known for creating. We shared an Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad, the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese, and finally the Steelhead Trout. We asked that each item come out separately and that is where the only mistake was made in our service. Our waitress was young and seemed to be a newer addition to the staff, and she interrupted us while enjoying our salad, which before I continue, I have to say is hands-down the best Burrata Salad in town. It’s one of my favorite things to order, and this version was the best I’ve had in Las Vegas. There was a slight char on the tomatoes, which intensified their sweetness next to the creamy and decadent cheese. Now back to the story about our server. Immediately after we were served the first course, she brought out our Lobster Mac and Cheese. It was immediately then sent back to the kitchen to be kept warm. The rest of the staff took quick notice of this, and we had the best service for the rest of the night, along with the manager coming by to check on our dining experience, as well. The Mac and Cheese was a bit of a let down, but I know part of that was it sitting under the warmers, giving it a grainy texture. The final course however was just impeccable. Our Steelhead Trout was served on top of a horseradish crème fraiche with bacon, greens, and a creamless cream corn. The skin on the fish was deliciously crispy and the sauce and greens underneath were just happiness on my tongue.
Chef Simon: We will be back, again, and again, and we at STRIPLV applaud not only your impeccable cuisine, but your courage and strength. You can help Kerry Simon donate to his fight against MSA at KeepMemoryAlive.org.
Follow me at: vegasfoodnerd.com • twitter.com/vegasfoodnerd vegasfoodnerd.tumblr.com • facebook.com/vegasfoodnerd