The “coming soon” banners have been replaced by the open now banners. Located at 595 Rohnert Park Expressway, this new addition to the restaurant scene in Rohnert Park has been open just a couple of weeks. You can find them between Chuck E. Cheese and Fundemonium in the Expressway Mall. Plenty of parking is available. Open seven days a week, hours of operation are 2-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
A family run business, this newest location joins the Simmer lineup that includes “Simmer” at 6358 Commerce Blvd in Rohnert Park, and “Simmer Vietnamese Kitchen” at 299 N. McDowell Blvd in Petaluma. The Le brothers, Nha and Sonny, opened the original restaurant in Petaluma about seven years ago. They went on to open “Simmer” about five years later near the Safeway in Rohnert Park. The menus at those locations feature the traditional Vietnamese Pho Soup and entrées you would expect of a Vietnamese restaurant.
Their newest addition, however, is different. Advertised as a “Viet Cajun Restaurant,” its menu is dominated by seafood boil dishes including head-on shrimp, crawfish, clams and mussels, lobster and both Snow Crab legs and Dungeness Crab. Some, however, are only available seasonally such as the Manila Clams and Dungeness Crab. Cost for many of the dishes are driven by current market prices. Once you decide on your boil, you choose a flavor as desired to include Lemon Pepper, Garlic Butter, Cajun, or the house Simmer sauce. Finally, you decide your spice level from mild to spicy. There are some house specialties available such as Tamarind Shrimp or Ginger Lobster with Noodles. A few meat dishes are available to include Korean Short Ribs, Shaking Beef and T-Bone Steak.
In addition to their meal options, the menu offers a wide variety of appetizers. They ranged from $6 to $18. Listed as “Claw Bites,” on the low end, standard offerings of regular, Cajun or Sweet Potato Fries can be ordered. Also, Onion Rings, Chicken skins and tenders are available in this range. Mid-range they have frog legs, calamari, coconut or cocktail shrimp and of course wings. Fried oysters, salt & pepper prawns and lemongrass clams occupy the upper range. Fried Rocky Mountain oysters were the most expensive at $18. They also have beer on tap and a variety of wine offerings. During our recent early evening visit they had 50 percent off from their appetizer selections and tap brews for happy hour. We were eating light during this visit, so we stuck with these offerings this time. The food was good and the serving sizes ample.
Although a seafood restaurant, the vibe was that of a sports bar. Multiple televisions were mounted on the wall separated by stylish art decorations. You could choose from plentiful table settings to numerous seats at a long length bar to enjoy your meal and brew. The wait staff were attentive and pleasant. To be expected for a new place open just a few weeks, there were only a few dozen customers present during our visit. Like the wait staff they appeared to be young, somewhere between early 20s to late 30s. Our server was a cheerful young lady attending school at Sonoma State University. All in all, we enjoyed our visit and suspect this Claw Bar will continue to grow their customer base as the word gets out. Whether dining alone, as a couple, or with a small group of family and friends; this might be a place you’ll want to check out too. Until next time, thanks for the tip!