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8.3
LA

Simbal

PHOTOS: Holly Liss

Alright, Los Angeles - it’s time for an intervention. There's a fantastic restaurant in our midst, and nobody is going to it. We’ve let it slip entirely through the cracks, and may now even be on the verge of losing it altogether.

Ladies and gentlemen, get out of your seats and go immediately to Simbal.

Located in Little Tokyo, this Southeast Asian-fusion restaurant has been around for about a year now, but for some reason has never been able to bring in consistent crowds. Sure, you could argue the space is a little tricky to find - you can’t really see it from the street and once you do find it, you still might end up roaming around a parking structure for a bit. But in a city where people climb through refrigerators and back kitchens of grilled cheese shops to get to their bars and restaurants, we’re calling bullsh*t - do your homework, power up Google maps, and find it. Because once you’re inside, it’s all worth it.

Holly Liss

The modern, industrial space remains as bright and welcoming as you remember it, with a waitstaff not only knowledgable about what’s on the menu, but actually excited and proud to be talking about it. There are plenty of tables dotting the dining room for you and your friends to roll in and have a fantastic big group dinner or the sleek counter to cozy up to with a casual date and watch all the cooking go down inside the entirely open kitchen.

The menu is concise, but the quality is high. You’re going to start with the crispy tofu and add the fried egg because you were raised correctly. You’ll get the hamachi crudo, the banh mi salad, and hangar steak tartare to pass around the table, and then reorder another tartare for yourself because it’s that good. Our move among the main courses is the bone marrow (with Chinese donuts), but you can’t go wrong with anything. Just make sure you end with the coconut flan. It’s like winter in your mouth, except the kind that exists in snow globes, not Chicago.

So please, cancel that reservation at your mediocre neighborhood spot, and go support an actually fantastic restaurant. Not because you need to, but because you just like eating well. Intervention over.

Food Rundown

Prime Beef Hangar Steak Tartare

Just look at this thing? It’s beautiful and tastes even better. On a menu without any misses, this is the best thing here and a must-order for the table, yourself, and everyone else in proximity. And don't worry, that bread is hollow.

Hamachi Crudo

This is a new item on the overhauled menu, and a testament to level this place is at. The fish itself is outstanding, but it’s the pickled green papaya on top that makes this unlike any other version in town.

Holly Liss
Banh Mi Salad

One of the more popular items at Simbal, this is basically a deconstructed banh mi. It’s definitely worth an order for the table, but there’ll be other dishes you’ll walk away thinking about more.

Holly Liss
Crispy Tofu

Another new dish that gets it completely right. The tofu is delicious and not overly fried, and the crispy rice at the bottom gives it a much-needed crunch. Another must order.

Roasted Bone Marrow

This probably isn’t the best individual piece of bone marrow in the city, but coupled with chinese donuts (basically open-faced deep fried bread) and a bed of salt underneath, we will happily order this every time.

Holly Liss
Coconut Flan

Merry Christmas, everyone. Literally. If there was ever a dessert that felt more like you’re biting into winter than this, we don’t know it. It’s also really, really refreshing when it’s hot as sh*t outside.

Holly Liss
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