Lukshon Now Open
Lukshon opened at the end of January and there have already been massive comparisons to Red Medicine and WP24. Of the three, I liked Lukshon the best but will give a slight edge to Red Medicine for their cocktails.
I didn’t realize Lukshon takes reservations unlike Father’s Office so we walked in about 7 p.m. and the only space available would be at the bar. This was fine by us as we had a great view of the whole restaurant (if you turned a bit). About half the restaurant seemed to be about the bar and communal seating. There was also seating around the kitchen and on the patio.The whole feel to the place was more serene and refined.
We had heard a lot about the spicy chicken pops and I really wanted the baby Monterey squid which was stuffed with Chiang Mai pork sausage. Both were excellent starters. We had asked about how many dishes we should get and was told five would be appropriate. Of course we ordered six. When I go back, I will stick with the recommended number because we were really full.
We also got the lamb sausage roti which appeared more like a flatbread or pizza. It was fine and I liked the marinated spiced cauliflower on the side. I would love to try some raw items next time or the foie gras ganache next time.
After we were done eating the whole steamed sea bream, our bartender/server asked if we had named the little guy. Uh, no! But we did rearrange his skeleton so he looked a bit more presentable after overturning every last bit for the soft flesh. I also enjoyed the fact it came with spinach and a mound of herbs and veggies. The dipping sauce wasn’t necessary but added a bit of piquancy every now and then.
We ate the okra and potatoes (with sambal goreng and kecap manis) with the fish. It was a nice side dish but I kept wondering where were our noodles. It turns out noodles and rice are always served last. The Chaing Mai noodles must have been fresh as they were very soft. I prefer mine a bit more al dente. We also didn’t want the fried noodles on top so we removed them ourselves (don’t bother asking for none or on the side– they don’t accept substitutions).
I tried the Lukshon Sour (Michter’s Rye, lemon, tamarind, palm sugar, kalamansi) as my first cocktail. I liked it just fine and it was a refreshing cocktail. Next, I had the Singapore Sling (Plymouth gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine, Combier orange, pineapple, bitters) which I thought would be better for the meal. My friend had a glass of wine (they don’t have any red wines by the glass at the moment) to start and then a Hot & Sour Gimlet (Monopolova vodka, dragon chile, lime, Thai basil, kinh gioi). If I had more time I would have tried the Fujian Cure (Isle of Skye 8 Year Scotch, lemon, galangal, lapsang souchong black tea) or maybe just the whiskey (two types) from India. There was one other cocktail on the menu the Yokohama Romance (Prunier VSOP cognac, Cherry Heering, kaffir lime, lemongrass, Shaxiong wine).
We were given complimentary dessert which this evening was a passionfruit pudding and another more chocolate-y concoction with Vietnamese coffee ice cream. We liked the passionfruit a lot while we saw the guy next to us practically lick the coffee clean.
While I don’t particularly like spending lots of money on Asian or Latin high-end fusion restaurants, I do question what makes me that way. I don’t like spending that much on Italian or French cuisine either but never think it shouldn’t cost that much. Frankly, how many cheap French places are there? In L.A. there are tons of good-quality, great tasting Asian and Latin food. Spending $32 on a whole steamed fish seemed kind of crazy but we did it and I only felt a mild guilt. For all the money I’ve spent on Lukshon, Red Medicine and WP24, I know I could have went to 20, maybe even 30 restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.
Well, the only answer I have is I’m a goddamned foodie. I seek the best and I will go to those 20, 30 restaurants in the SGV, too. I actually want Asian and Latin cuisine to be elevated to that higher culinary art form like French or Italian food. It is a small price to pay when in the long run, more people will stop equating authentic with cheap food.
Culver City, CA 90232