It’s been written before that the restaurant occupies an inauspicious location on the ground floor of an office building about two blocks east of the Helms complex in Culver City. But what’s lost on the location is found in the food.
It’s well prepared, and fresh tasting. And the flavor profiles just work, which is notable given the variety of ingredients.
They make their own non-alcoholic drinks including a lemon-lime pomegranate, which is a tart eye-opener, and a lemon-lime ginger which will clear out your troubles (it’s got a strong ginger taste). We really enjoyed both of them.
A special starter this night was a porcini ragu atop garlic bread. This set the pace for the evening, with what could have been a messy proposition. But thankfully chef used bread that was easily cut so the dish was eater-friendly. The ragu was rich, with a slight acidity and interesting texture atop the lightly garlicked, and slightly sweet bread. We were off to a good start.
Next was the leek and egg appetizer atop a quarter inch flat puff pastry, which was also slightly sweet. The leeks were in a sauce that served to bind the dish together with the sunny side up egg hidden beneath a nasturtium sabayon. The presentation was quite sophisticated, and the flavors lived up to it. This dish went fast.
Chicken liver mousse atop toast was a bit off-balance. The mousse was piled high to the point that it was like we were eating it without anything else. Thankfully, on top was a vinegar-laced fig compote that served to relieve the earthiness of the liver, if spread across the entire top of the mousse. This dish could use a little re-thinking... like reduce the amount of mousse, apply the compote under the mousse, and find another element for the top to add some variety.
Rounding out the main meal was the flatiron steak, served with garlic flan and asparagus. The meat was cooked to a medium well, although we requested just less than medium, however it was so tender that there was no reason to be disappointed. And it had a rich meaty flavor that we quite enjoyed. The garlic flan was light and airy, a little too airy for my taste, but I chalk this up to preference. And the asparagus was very fresh and cooked perfectly. This was another very enjoyable dish.
For dessert, we had to try both the donuts and the blackberry lemon verbena pie. The donuts were fresh and served with a blueberry compote and lemon curd sauce. The sauces worked perfectly together, and complemented the cinnamon sugar coated donut holes well.
But my favorite was the pie. It was a personal pie, a tart of sorts, with a delicious sweetish soft crust, filled with whole blackberries and a light lemony cream sauce with almonds over the top. I loved this dish.
All in all, this was a nice meal for about $100 for two, a bargain for the quality of food.
8631 Washington Blvd. (2 blocks east of the Helms building)
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