Editor’s note: Merrill Shindler reflects on his culinary journey through 2020 in the South Bay, highlighting both dine-in and takeout experiences. Previously, he dished about the Gigantic Hot Fudge Brownie a la mode at Norms in Torrance. For more of his adventures, watch this space: www.dailybreeze.com/author/merrill-shindler
Simmzy’s Burger with candied bacon and blue cheese at Simmzy’s
229 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach; 310-546-1201, www.simmzys.com
Simmzy’s is the creation of Mike and Chris Simms, whose family has brought us fave raves like Mimi’s Café, the Lazy Dog Café and The Kettle (which sits just across the street from Simmzy’s; in a way, it’s The Kettle’s bar and grill).
Burgers are a centerpiece at Simmzy’s — the hub around which the restaurant revolves. There’s the Simmzy’s Burger, a pile of Angus beef, smoked onions (nice touch!), lettuce, tomato, cheddar and a nice garlicky aioli. You can dress the burger up with applewood smoked bacon, avocado and roast shiitake mushrooms flavored with balsamic vinegar – which the mushrooms absorb like a sponge.
There’s an alternative burger topped with candied bacon and blue cheese as well, along with “frizzled shallots.” There are no turkey burgers, no veggie burgers. Which is good, for the snoot that I am, I don’t consider those to be “burgers.” For me, they’re sandwiches in the shape of burgers.
And speaking of sandwiches, there are a bunch, including a “spice & vinegar” pulled pork panini topped with more of those tasty smoked onions; a chicken, bacon and avo hoagie; and a “Not Your Mama’s” tuna sandwich, made with ahi tuna poached in olive oil — an ingredient as foreign to my mother as undercooked vegetables.
Beyond that, the menu is functional but fun. There’s an order of chicken wings that are more Asian than Buffalonian, served with a blue cheese dressing I found myself scooping up with a spoon, and eating like pudding. (I’ve got a blue cheese thang. I can’t get enough of the stuff. It will probably be the doom of me.)
There’s a thick, honest chili (the menu calls it “Awesome Chili”; but then, the menu is fond of descriptives) that’s made of beef and pork (thank goodness, no turkey!), along with amber ale, cheddar, sour cream and a sprinkling of Fritos. The Fritos stay crunchy long enough to consume them. There’s a chubby bratwurst called (what else?) The Brat, served with a sweetish mustard, roasted red peppers and, natch, those smoked onions.
And if you’re in the mood for something serious, there’s a grilled top sirloin with a shiitake mushroom cream sauce and fries. I don’t know that Simmzy’s is where I’d go for a steak. But if you need one, it’s there.
Interestingly, the Fritos (served in a bag) also appear as a side — a curious mixed bag that includes an order of spinach, some market greens, shoestring fries with some aioli sauce for dipping. There’s another bleu cheese concoction, called a Blue Cheese Haystack — fries jumbled with garlic and bleu cheese. So indulgent. And so good.