Some chefs work their way up to their dream positions, climbing the ranks by cooking on the lines of their superiors. Others risk it all to build their dreams from the ground up, establishing brick and mortar restaurants on the foundations of skill and wistful hope. Chef Weston Simpson’s path falls somewhere in the middle. After honing skills for more than a decade, rising from banquet cook to executive chef at restaurants on both sides of the Bay, he chose to forge his own path.
When Simpson acquired the location of the former Von’s Bistro on St. Michael Street, he envisioned a slow transformation of the building and its menu, gradually evolving from the Asian fusion cuisine of the previous owners into a speakeasy-inspired venture. But his investors, Lance and Gerri Hallmark, recognized his hunger and the scope of his vision from the beginning, encouraging him to fully embrace the metamorphosis before reopening the building.
“They’re helping me make the dream,” Simpson says. “Originally, I was just going to slap my name on [Von’s], and then they said, ‘You have this grand idea that you want to do eventually. Let’s do it now.’ It was pretty cool and very humbling.”
The result is West Food Bar, an intimate, elegant locale bursting with eye-catching jewel tones and a sophisticated speakeasy vibe. With only 36 dining seats and a standing room bar directly facing the line, the open-concept kitchen invites guests directly into the experience in a fully immersive way. “It’s a cool, calm, collected atmosphere,” Simpson says. “Even when we’re very busy, I don’t want it to be rushed. I want to make each experience special. It’s not about coming and getting full off a meal; it’s coming to enjoy yourself and feeling special for a night.”
The compact but refined chalkboard-style menu is ever-changing, featuring seasonal accompaniments that highlight simple yet expertly executed main ingredients. Premium proteins and fresh, local seafood are front and center, with unexpected drink pairings and superior service to round out the comfort-chic ambiance. Each brunch, lunch and dinner service offers something exclusive that’s unlikely to be repeated again, creating an unrivaled experience for each patron on every visit.
On the Menu
Thinly shaved slices of premium beef tenderloin fan out beneath dollops of fragrant lemon truffle aioli and classic accoutrements of peppery arugula, briny capers and toasted crostini.
Ribeye au Poivre
A hearty, pepper-crusted ribeye bathed in red wine pan sauce rests atop robust roasted-garlic mashed potatoes and vibrant, tender-crisp haricots verts.
Bone-In Pork Chop
A thick-cut, bone-in pork chop glistens in thyme-scented honey, served alongside bronzed, smashed red potatoes and rainbow carrots dressed in a decadent mustard glaze.
Roasted Grape Cheesecake
Vanilla bean-studded New York cheesecake is finished with a heap of roasted red grapes and a pillowy pile of gently sweetened whipped cream.
West Food Bar • 69 St. Michael St. • 459-0245 • Facebook
Lunch: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tu – F.
Brunch: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sa & Su.
Dinner: 5 – 11 p.m. Th – Sa. Closed Mondays.