Location: 3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034. 310.202.6808
Date: October 20, 2011
Cuisine: New Asian
Rating: Pretty damn tasty
A couple of years ago my office was in Culver City, and the restaurant revolution there was already well under way. But the trend continues apace with Lukshon, a sort of re-imagined southern Asian (vaguely Chinese — sort of) joint opened by the same owners as adjacent Father’s Office. I’ve been itching to try it for better on six months and we finally got the Foodie Club together for an impromptu meeting.
The modern interior space. There is also a generous and attractive patio.
The menu. We ordered about two thirds of it, for eight people, all family style.
“atlantic fluke pickled watermelon, black sesame, cucumber, kinh gioi.” Light flavored, but tasty. The black sesame lent it a pleasant gritty texture.
Lukshon does not allow corkage. I didn’t know that and Foodie Club co-president EP and I hauled four bottles to the table. I was skeptical at first of the small wine list too, as it’s devoid of big name offerings. But with some help from the Sommelier we put together what turned out to be a very enjoyable trio.
We had the 2010, but the 2009 got 92 from parker, “Ollivier’s 2009 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Clos des Briords is as perfumed and lusciously-fruited a wine of its genre as you are likely to encounter, though that by no means precludes depth of mineral character. Scents of pear, clover, Persian melon, and fennel inform the nose and migrate to a buoyant yet expansive, mouthwateringly juicy palate tinged with a shimmering crystalline sense of minerality characteristic for this cuvee. This sensational value finishes with an uncanny combination of soothing refreshment and vibrancy. It is apt to be even more ravishing in another year or so and be worth following for at least 3-4.”
“shrimp toast rock shrimp, cilantro, chiles, tiny croutons.” These are little fried balls with a sweet and spicy sauce. They tasted pretty fried, with an understated flavor.
“baby monterey squid!! chiang mai pork sausage, candlenut, mint, rau ram.” Really tasty. The fried tentacles in the center were pretty straight up calimari. The bodies were stuffed with the yummy sausage.
“duck popiah. cilantro stems, pickled jicama, hoisin chile sauce.” With the texture of a Saigon Roll, these duck rolls were packed with meaty flavor inside. Plus, being a sauce guy, I love hoison. One of my favorite dishes.
“spicy chicken pops!! shelton farms’ drumettes, garlic, kecap manis, spicy sichuan salt.” Nice little “wings” with a lot of flavor and a bit of heat. A kind of BBQ sweet heat.
This was a very interesting wine. Old fashioned — like 2,000 years old fashioned. Evidently, it’s kept in amphorae, large greek/roman style terra-cotta vessels. While a white, it was so unfiltered as to be almost cloudy. But damn good.
“kurobuta pork ribs. spicy chicory coffee bbq sauce.” The meat just fell of the bones. A bit of char. Seriously good ribs, what cheap Chinese restaurant ribs aspire to be.
“rib eye steak yam neua. gem lettuce, radish, carrot, tomato, herbs, spicy lime vinaigrette.” This was fine, but just kinda beefy.
“foie gras ganache!! carob, ceylon cinnamon, tamarind gastrique, almond, puffed rice.” These were more a dessert than a savory. The creamy foie texture and richness leant them the character of some kind of ultra rich mousse.
“lamb belly roti. canai chana dal, cumin, mint, raita, pickled cauliflower.” Another of my favorite dishes. A kind of vaguely middle eastern, vaguely Asian pizza. The little sour marinated crunchy cauliflower was good too.
“garlic pork belly do ban jian, rice cakes, cabbage, garlic chives.” Probably my favorite dish. This had some good heat and that rich fermented bean paste flavor. The meat was rich, but not too fatty, and under the sauce you could only tell it from the rice cakes by texture. They added a chewiness to complement the some pork.
“short rib rendang!! malay spices, red chile lemongrass rempah, coconut cream.” More meat. I liked the sauce better on this one.
Parker gives this very solid Riesling 90 points. “Pepper-laced pears and apples are found in the nose of the zesty, vivacious 2002 Riesling Eiswein Oberemmeler Hutte. This molasses, brown sugar and white fruit-flavored offering sports eye-popping acidity, loads of depth, and a long, sweet finish. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025.”
“heirloom black rice lap cheong, onion, roasted garlic, lilly’s farm fried egg.”
Mixed up. This was pleasant, rich, sweet, and ricey.
“gai lan aged ham, shaoxing wine, garlic.” Nice stir fried greens. But I wanted more ham flavor.
“chiang mai curry noodles chile, tumeric, lemongrass, chicken, prawn, yu choy, rice noodles.” A curry with noodles. Nothing wrong with that, as I love curry.
“dandan noodles!! kurobuta pork, sesame, preserved mustard greens, sichuan peppercorns, peanuts.” I really liked this too. Noodles with a pretty spicy Chinese pork ragu. I had a better version in western China, but this was pretty damn good. Decently hot, but not nearly real Szechuan hot. I guess the sauce isn’t so different than Pocked Marked Old Ladies Tofu (yes, that is a real dish).
Dessert is “free” (as Matt Groning said, “at no additional perceivable cost”). They bring out one per person, but three types. I would’ve liked to try each, but I had the leftmost, which was a delicious form of deconstructed pina colada. Some kind of pana cotta with coconut and pineapple. The middle was chocolate, the rightmost more fruity.
For more LA dining reviews click here.
For other Foodie Club meals (all crazy great) see here.