Have you been to Culver City lately? During the last few years, the very centrally located city has dramatically changed from a once desolate wasteland to vibrant dining and entertainment scene. In the late 90s, Sony expanded its studio lots and that seemed to set in motion a series of changes that have brought a lot of life and more importantly, great food into the picture. Here’s a round-up up reasons you may want to move yourself a little closer to a city whose culinary culture seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.
1.K-Zo - It can be easy to miss this place, in fact my first time I drove by it three times. It’s in the Trader Joes building – a good thing since it’s easy parking AND you get two hours free – a big deal in LA! That’s one great thing about this place, but honestly, what’s more important is if the food is good. And here, raw or cooked, it is. Not to mention the look and service as well. But to me, my favorite sushi is yellowtail -I always judge a sushi joint by its yellowtail and I’ll tell you it was impeccable here – buttery, fresh and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It’s pricey, but good sushi usually is.
2. Fraiche – What I like about Fraiche is the nice patio. Now, I haven’t eaten here since the new chef and new menu has arrived, which is apparently rustic French. They seem to be getting good reviews since the change, so I’m looking forward to trying it out again.
3. Akasha – I have had nothing but good experiences in this gorgeous restaurant. The owner and chef, Akasha, is all about local, organic and fair-trade products. The food and the environment definitely reflect that. The Spiked Organic Turkey Burger with Sweet Potato Fries is definitely one to try and they have some great cocktails. They also offer some nice vegetarian options for those who don’t opt for meat.
4. Father’s Office – Well, I wouldn’t suggest vegetarians hit up Father’s Office, because if you go there you must try the world-renowned burger and of course sweet potato fries, but remember don’t ask for ketchup – there is none and the owner Sang Yoon will probably kick you out if you ask – he’s definitely a purist which I actually relate to. There was quite a bit of excitement when this location opened with so much more seating than the original located on Montana & 11th. It’s so nice to not to have to hover as much(those who’ve experience the SM location know what I’m saying). This location, located in the Helms Bakery building and has a great patio. It’s a great place to relax with layered flavors of their acclaimed burger and one of their many micro-brews. BTW, no one under 21 allowed, so don’t bring the kids.
5. Rush Street – Though it’s not a foodie’s paradise, there’s something fun about this place. It’s a raucous restaurant and bar, so don’t go here if you want to have a quiet dinner, but it’s a good place for happy hour and to get happy with friends.
6. Cafe Surfas – When I spend an hour or more at Surfas, my favorite restaurant supply and gourmet food store, which I often do, – I get hungry. How convenient that they’ve attached a fabulous little cafe to the building so I can ease my hunger pangs after looking at all the good food they have in the store! Cafe Surfas has yummy sandwiches, side salads, baked goods and coffee. It’s really easy and such a hidden gem! I love the roasted veggie panini!
7. A-Frame - This is for sure one of my new favorites from the brilliant mind of Roy Choi, founder of Kogi and Chego. Located outside the main Culver City drag, closer to Palms, Choi has reinvented an IHOP and re-hatched it’s “A-Frame” into a unique food experience and environment. Most importantly his fusion of Asian and Mexican continues to produce food that is bursting with flavor. Must try many things on the menu, but do yourself a favor and start with the Furikake kettle corn – you will not be able to stop! Oh and be aware, it gets crowded so don’t be afraid of the community tables.
8. Scoops Westside – Finally the westsiders don’t have to drive across the city to get the most inventive ice cream in our state. Think that’s an exxageration,maybe, but who cares, it really is inventive and so much fun to eat! So many cool flavors and they don’t get annoyed when you want to try all of them! Many of the flavors are very interesting, but I’ve found when they add Oreos or Jack Daniels to any flavor, it’s works. If you haven’t, Go! Try!
9. Waterloo & City – Okay, have to admit I haven’t been here yet, but believe me it’s next on my list with all the praise that’s been raining down on it. Waterloo & City, aptly named after a tube stop in London, is a relatively new British gastropub that serves somewhat rich, but interesting fare such as chicken liver & foie gras mousse (yum), spicy lamb bangers & carrot mash, lipstick peppers and yogurt and hot chocolate pudding, dulce de leche, caramelized banana for dessert. Check out the menu for Dine LA. Indulgent. I will definitely be there for that!
10. Lukshon – Well this place hasn’t even opened yet, but it promises to be exciting. Located right near his other very successful venture, Father’s Office, there’s no way Sang Yoon’s newest spot won’t be a hit. Lukshon, which means noodles in Yiddish, will be serving noodles, yes, but also other types of Southeast Asian types of fare and who knows what else. We are all waiting with baited breath.
Soooo, I think I’ve provided some good reasons to thinking about moving to Culver City or think about Beverlywood, Palms, Mar Vista, Marina Del Rey, Venice, Playa Vista and Westchester. They’re all just a hop, skip and a jump from this ever-growing foodie scene.