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Haute Vietnamese at Simon LA

Beef cooked three ways
For this week only you can sample the sort of Northern Vietnamese cuisine enjoyed by the glitterati during the fabled days of the French colonial era. Created by one of that country’s finest chefs, the menu presented at Simon LA restaurant is the inspiration of Nguyen Van, chef de cuisine of the Hanoi Metropole Hotel, which opened in 1901 and that now, in its renovated state, has been designated a historic landmark.

Van’s elegant food is interpreted by Marius Blin, executive chef of the Sofitel Hotel Los Angeles who traveled to Vietnam to work with Van. Dinner is $34 and lunch is $22.

Dinner begins with two appetizers. The delicate seafood soup of scallops, prawns and squid is accented with star fruit and garnished with a crisp lacy rice flour disk. Alongside comes a poached prawn and marinated green papaya spring roll.

The entrée offers beef prepared three ways: marinated seared filet mignon cradled in grilled lemon grass stalks on a Vietnamese–seasoned reduction; braised short rib meat with hints of star anise and cinnamon served in a red onion shell; garlic-shallot seasoned minced beef wrapped in fresh lalot leaf and grilled over charcoal.

Dessert, caramelized banana crème brûlée subtly touched with star anise and cinnamon, is served with honey ice cream garnished with bee pollen.

For reservations, call Simon LA: (310) 358-3979.

--Linda Burum

Photo caption: Photo of beef cooked three ways. Photo credit: Sofitel Hotels

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