There’s been a tremendous growth in LA’s BBQ scene in the past couple of years and one of the restaurants that the growth has brought us is Maple Block in Culver City. Maple Block is definitely on the trendier side of BBQ, but the interior smelled like deliciously smoked meats and the guy that ran the place walked us through the menu to make recommendations.
BBQ is a wonderful thing. And while most great BBQ is nowhere near LA, there are certainly great spots to be found. A newcomer on the scene just recently popped up in Culver City (in a corner where restaurant seem to die), calling itself Chop Daddy’s. The place has all the makings of trying to become a chain, which isn’t always the best when you’re looking for authenticity, but all I cared about was getting some good ‘cue.
Replacing the not-so-BBQ restaurant in Culver City called Santa Maria Barbeque, 041 Bacaro kind of just appeared out of nowhere a few months ago. Presumably, the closure of Santa Maria Barbeque surprised no one, but the newcomer was a bit of a surprise. Calling itself 041 is an homage to area code in Venice, where the proprietor once lived and the restaurant attempts to live up to that area code.
Recently, a restaurant calling itself LYFE Kitchen threw its hat into the ring of downtown Culver City. More than just a terrible misspelling, LYFE is an acronym that stands for “Love Your Food Everyday.” It’s an acronym I can appreciate, because it’s something I strive for. I mean, who doesn’t want to love their food everyday? When I checked out their menu, or should I say menus, I found that this would be a tough place to love.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a new pizza place opened in Culver City called Wildcraft. Their schtick is the use of sourdough in their pizzas, which is cool with me, but I’m not sure if it entirely qualifies as being wild. Nonetheless, I was eager to try it out and see just how wild and crafty it would be.
When the Culver City outpost of Famima!! shuttered, I lamented the loss. It was one of those places that I didn’t get to very often, but always felt comfortable knowing it was there. Then I found out that it was to be replaced by Smashburger, a fast-casual burger chain out of Denver that specializes in smashing balls of beef into burgers as they cook, instead of getting them patty-ized beforehand. The premise isn’t entirely novel, but that did not mean I wasn’t excited.
It might not quite be new anymore, but Public School 310 in Culver City isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. With its novelty school theme, beer menu and interesting food menu, it is a place I definitely had to check out. So check it out I did, with a huge group that gave me the opportunity me sample a bit more than I usually would. This was certainly going to be a change from the food used to eat growing up in public schools.
The Corner Door is the most recent snazzy new restaurant to help make a once-strange corridor of Culver City one of LA’s best food hotspots. But with the likes of A-Frame, the Alibi Room and Waterloo & City, the competition is undoubtedly intense. To find out if The Corner Door could stand up to its competition, I had to check it out for myself and see if it could handle the unvegan.
The first thing I noticed was that the place was packed. But not packed with diners, rather it was full of people hanging out for an after work drink. I was a bit surprised, but despite all these people we were seated immediately. I also noticed that the acoustics weren’t especially good. As our awesome waiter told us, the space had previously been a law office, so the walls weren’t really made for drunken yuppies.
Once upon a time, a sketchy-ass hot dog and sandwich hole in the wall sat upon an uncomfortable and small lot on Venice in Culver City. I meant to make it there, because sketchy-ass usually means delicious, but I didn’t make it before it was replaced by Mad Dogz, a shiny hot dog and burger hole in the wall that seems to invite in customers rather than scare them away. Although it took me a little bit to make it there, I made sure to check it out before it went the way of its predecessor.
To many, Surfas is just a super-cool kitchen supply store for people looking to stock their homes or for real chefs looking to stock a restaurant. But they don’t let those supplies go to waste and have a nice little cafe connected to the joint where they can show off what they do. There are sandwiches, salads, burgers and few other things, but they had me at burger. Kobe Burger, that is.