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Posted on: August 29, 2016

American English Kitchen and Bar Brings Unique Experience to Downtown Hollywood

Hollywood native Russ Aaron Simon traveled around the county and the world working for renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck. Almost two decades later, Simon’s odyssey has come full circle with the opening this summer of his American English Kitchen and Bar in the downtown district of Hollywood, Florida, the city where he was born and raised.

Chef/Owner Simon’s exciting new upscale-casual concept, which was introduced June 8 at 1900 Harrison Street, is a winning recipe that offers exceptional cuisine and attentive, but not intrusive, service in a comfortable and casual environment.

An eclectic mix of regional American and globally influenced dishes, the menu offers diners an opportunity to experience a wide array of flavors, such as Singapore Chilli Prawns and the Southern-style Pork Belly on Sourdough Biscuits appetizer.

“The response has been very positive. People have been very happy with the overall experience,” said Simon, who started working for Puck in the Downtown Disney area during his classical culinary training at Valencia College in Orlando.

After culinary school, Simon worked at Puck’s prestigious Spago Beverly Hills. After his promotion to sous chef, Simon assisted Puck in opening new restaurants around the country and the world, where he absorbed the local cuisines, until Puck promoted him to head chef of kitchens in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Now back home in Hollywood, where his family roots date back to 1945, Simon brings his extensive and diverse culinary knowledge and unique flavors to the historic downtown arts, music and entertainment district.

Diners can have a full meal or share small plates, such as the popular six-piece Potato ‘Beignets’ with crisp bacon, aged white cheddar and burnt onion aioli, for $8.

“The opportunity’s there to create your own dining experience,” Simon said. “You can sit at the bar and have a drink and an appetizer, or you can have an extended dining experience that lasts a few hours.”

And while American English’s food and service reflect a fine-dining experience, “it’s all designed to be approachable. None of the dishes are overly fussy,” Simon said.


Starters ($8 to $14) include Charred Octopus with Korean BBQ glaze. Main dishes ($29 average) include Lamb Shank ‘Al Pastor’ with charred pineapple relish and tomatillo salsa; and
U.S.D.A. PRIME New York Strip Steak with celery root purée and bone marrow vinaigrette. Pasta dishes include Pasta ‘Carbonara’ and Summer Corn Tortelloni. The menu also features soups, salads and desserts. The American English Wine and Cocktail program includes unique selections from the Old and New World, and from Classic to Craft.

After being away from home for nearly 20 years, Simon longed to return to Florida and open his own restaurant.

“I had two potential paths: to continue with Wolfgang Puck or finally take that leap, come home and do something on my own,” he said. “At the end of the day, you have to go where you feel comfortable.”

Simon chose the downtown district as the location for his restaurant because he believes in it.

“I believe Downtown Hollywood has a lot of potential and has become a destination for young professionals to live, work, eat and play,” he said.

American English Kitchen and Bar is open for dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Social Hour features $2 off select wines by the glass, well drinks and beer from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Valet parking is available.

Through Sept. 30, American English is offering a three-course prix fixe dinner menu for $36 as part of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Dine Out Lauderdale, a celebration of the area’s top restaurants, chefs and cuisine.

Dinner reservations are recommended but not required. For more information, call 954-589-0200, email info@aekitchenandbar.com or visit www.americanenglishkitchenandbar.com.

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