I was staying at the new and beautiful JW Marriott at LA Live in Los Angeles. It’s part of a larger complex that includes the Staples center (where the Grammy’s are held), the Grammy Museum, a restaurant row and the giant convention center. In all the commercial support, it’s the last place you’d expect to find an amazing restaurant.
Celebrity Chef Kerry Simon of Iron Chef fame runs this restaurant and brings his culinary style showcasing simple, exquisite California cuisine and featuring organic, seasonal ingredients.
I asked chef Kerry about his Iron Chef experience and it turns out he won with his famous burger. So I ordered La Market Burger ($17). It’s an agus chuck burger with crisp bacon, grilled balsamic onions and aged white cheddar.
So what makes a perfect burger? “First it’s the quality of beef, get the best (and that means hormone free) after that it’s about the balance of fat and meat. You need just enough fat to make the burger juicy but any more than that and the flavours are compromised. The 2-finger thick burger is wrapped in melted aged cheddar cheese and topped with soft smoky bacon. Yes, it was an amazing burger!
Chef Kerry’s kitchen underling is chef Nona Sivley. Born in Louisiana and raised in Texas and Northern Virginia, Nona Sivley’s win on the eighth season of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s popular show, “Hell’s Kitchen” earned her the position of Chef de Cuisine under Chef Kerry Simon.
Executive Chef Kerry Simon’s cuisine is fresh and clean, the kind of food that make you feel good just eating it and Chef Nona Silverys cuisine is more Cajun, southern cuisine with knock your socks off big bold flavours and balanced dishes that grab your attention. The menu is farm and country refreshing and reads like a farmers directory of some of LA’s best foods.
The restaurant is bustling with noisy conversation and the sound of silverware busily shuffling food from plates to mouths. The restaurant colours are muted shades of taupe, tan and beige’s on a polished concrete floor with distressed leatherette barrel chairs. The window into the kitchen is long and narrow and the bright lights draw your attention away form the warm softness of the relaxed ambience. The 20 foot ceilings give a sense of space.
I discovered at the end of the meal that chef Nona has a soft spot for comfort food. She has a signature dessert that is the most popular on the menu. She’s created what is called a Junk Food Platter To Share ($15). It’s a platter of rice crispy squares, fruit loops, brownies, caramel popcorn, snowballs, hostess cupcakes, vanilla milkshake and cotton candy. – and no, I didn’t order it. It was enough fun for me just to talk about it.