Not too long ago (at least it feels that way), a new ramen place popped up in Culver City calling itself Ramen Yamadaya. It was around this time that I had been totally spoiled by the ramen of Tsujita, and while Yamadaya looked good, I wasn’t exactly in a rush to get there. This was a mistake, though, because when I finally got there, I had a feeling that this was going to be my go-to ramen joint.
A while back, Sang Yoon opened up a place called Lukshon in Culver City. For some, this was a time to rejoice, as this was the man behind the Father’s Office burger. But for me, it was a time to…well…consider trying out Lukshon. You see, if you know me, you know my disdain for the Father’s Office burger. So it took until dineLA’s Restaurant Week to get me out to Lukshon. I went with a sizable crowd, collectively known as the Suppah Club, and we had ourselves a seat at a massive table on Lukshon’s patio in Culver City.
When Jonathan Gold’s latest rendition of the 99 best restaurants in LA came out, I was amazed to find an Indian place basically in my backyard. No, I don’t have an actual backyard because I live in LA, but you get my drift. Fortunately, my body had been craving Indian and I easily convinced my girlfriend that we had to order some carryout from there. While the menu appeared to have typical Indian fare, Mayura actually specialized in South Indian food. With that in mind, I was excited to get down with something new.
Right around when I first moved to LA, essentially broke, I made a trip to Bottle Rock. Having little to no disposable income, I wrote the place off as overpriced and didn’t return until this past weekend. What I found was a restaurant and wine bar that was not only well-priced, but also delicious. Was I wrong the first time I went? Have I become jaded by the prices of LA? Did Bottle Rock simply change things up? These answers may never be known, but what is known is my experience there. Let’s start from the beginning.
Not too long ago, a new bar/grill opened in Culver City called Rocco’s Tavern. If you are at all from my generation, the name Rocco evokes memories of one of the greatest Nicktoons ever: Rocko’s Modern Life. Okay, the name is spelled differently, which may explain why neither wallabies nor turtles were on the menu. Instead, the menu was chock-full of some typical bar food. With the Tigers game on the TVs surrounding the bar, I sat down, ordered a happy hour beer (2 for 1 from 3-7 everyday) and decided what to order.
On a quest for Indian food, we found ourselves staring at a vegetarian restaurant on Venice that shall remain nameless. Realizing we had made a huge mistake, we went to the next-closest Indian place, just down the street, but for some reason it was closed on a Tuesday night at 7:30. Poor business tactics, but it would prove to be a blessing in disguise. For although the Indian place was closed, we realized we were standing in a strange little corner strip mall in Culver City with restaurants serving Japanese, Mexican, Italian and Thai food, in addition to Indian. Presented with such choices, we opted to check out the Italian place, called Giovanni’s Trattoria and crossed our fingers in the hopes that it would be any good.
Despite the insane amount of times I have eaten in downtown Culver City, a few restaurants have still managed to elude me. And I do mean a few. Choppe Choppe is one of these restaurants. Now I can proudly say that I have, in fact, eaten their food, but I can still say that the restaurant has eluded me. Oh, the twists and turns of life when your girlfriend picks up food for you. Now, I may not know the full extent of the menu, so I can’t comment on options, but she sure does know me and picked me out something to fit perfectly into my unvegan diet.
Perched on a corner in downtown Culver City, I have somehow managed to avoid Akasha. “Why?” you ask. Well the answer isn’t so simple. I have no excuse. With a Japanese-sounding name and the knowledge that Akasha wasn’t a sushi place, I should have flocked to Akasha much sooner, but it took a tour of Culver City with my mom to finally come face to face with the place. What I found was truly intriguing. Akasha wasn’t Japanese at all.
EDIT: Apparently this place can now be found at LA Live or LAX. Or both!
Evoking images of an old fashioned gas station for Ford cars, Ford’s Filling Station in downtown Culver City actually has no actual relation to Henry Ford. It also has no relation to Gerald Ford, the former US President from the great state of Michigan. It does, however, have a relation to another Ford, Harrison. You see, Ford’s is owned by Benjamin Ford, Harrison’s son, and he also happens to be the executive chef. Last time I went to Ford’s, which was before the unvegan blog came into existence, Benjamin himself actually came out to our table to tell us the specials. It was like the foodie version of meeting Harrison Ford.
Well, someone finally beat me to the punch. Ever since I moved to the west side of LA, I’ve thought that downtown Culver City has needed a real bar. Kay ‘n Dave’s and Rush Street are good places, but they are first and foremost restaurants. Finally, the guys behind Rush Street have pumped out City Tavern (in the location that formerly housed the Meltdown grilled cheese joint) and I don’t think I could have done it better myself. I arrived a solid 45 minutes before my friends, which gave me a chance to put our name on the list for a table and to sample the beers they were purveying.