Ithaca icon Simeon’s is back, and it’s better than ever

This week, 14850 Dining is rejoicing at the return of Simeon’s, which reopened recently, two years after a tragic accident. The south end of the building has been rebuilt, with brick laid by hand, and there’s now a second floor dining room with a balcony overlooking the bar.

Simeon's reopened on the Commons this summer. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.

Simeon’s reopened on the Commons this summer. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.

If you hadn’t been back to Simeon’s in a while, you might remember the Sandwiches with a History or Pastabilities — large sections of the menu that reflected the fact that Simeon’s barely had a kitchen. That fare was left behind when Simeon’s expanded several years ago under its new owners, taking over the old next-door pizzeria space to make room for a proper kitchen.

The new dinner menu brings back the Simeon’s oyster bar, featuring fresh raw seasonal oysters — and there’s now a casual Oyster Room near the kitchen, if you’d like to enjoy them there. If oysters feel too expensive, it helps that they’re half price before 6pm on weeknights.

Build your own charcuterie board from eight or nine selections.

Build your own charcuterie board from eight or nine selections.

A cheese and charcuterie board is as varied and as complete as you’d like it to be — build your own for $4 per selection, choosing from several different kinds of cheese including a fun blueberry boursin, duck rillettes, fennel salami, prosciutto, and more.

Other snacks and starters include a potato flatbread with romesco sauce and smoked eggplant, tuna tartare, and the kettle chips fondue we remember fondly.

Move on to a chile-BBQ portobello sandwich, a sushi-grade Ahi Tuna burger, or the Simeon’s burger, a house blend of short rib, brisket, and chuck. The burger came cooked perfectly to order, with boursin cheese and crispy fried onions.

Tender salmon with bean salad and shaved fennel.

Tender salmon with bean salad and shaved fennel.

Try the salmon with shaved fennel, perhaps a sea bass special with crisp green beans, even grilled cauliflower with romesco sauce as an entree at the opposite end of the spectrum from the New York strip steak.

We’re pleased to see the tiny desserts are still part of the experience at Simeon’s! Servers bring around a tray of small chocolate mousses, apple crisps, bread puddings, and more, at a serving size where you don’t have to say no.

The inviting bar at Simeon's.

The inviting bar at Simeon’s, with a balcony and lounge-style seating above.

The Simeon’s bar is in fine shape, as well, with a good whisky selection, wines from around the Finger Lakes and around the world, and beer that includes a commemorative Grand Opening IPL, or India Pale Lager, brewed by Ithaca Beer just for the restaurant’s reopening.

Brunch options at Simeon's include this fine frittata.

Brunch options at Simeon’s include this fine frittata.

Simeon’s has just started serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, with breakfasty items like eggs to order with bacon and home fries, yogurt and berries with nut and pumpkin seed granola, or biscuits and an excellent sausage gravy, or lunchy items like macaroni and cheese or a banh mi sandwich with hoisin braised pork. A frittata packed with potatoes, chorizo, onions, and peppers, and topped with monterey jack cheese and ranchero sauce was a hit. Weekday lunches are coming soon.

Plan on spending $15-50 on a meal. Find Simeon’s on the downtown Ithaca Commons at the corner of State and Aurora Streets, visit simeonsithaca.com, or call them at 607-272-2212 and tell them you heard about them here.

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