Lukshon

12/9/11

I probably use this word way too much and way out-of-context, but man is Lukshon a sexy place. It is arguably the most beautiful restaurant I’ve visited in 2011, but didn’t really give off that pretentious vibe that usually comes with the territory. Anyways, who the hell cares about the design? It’s all about the food, and at Lukshon that means mainly Southeast Asian food. I came here in early December with Ben, Danno and Paul, for a mini-birthday celebration of sorts for Danno.

I’ve seen the words “Asian fusion” being thrown around carelessly on the web with regards to the restaurant, and honestly I think that these actions are unwarranted. Maybe “pan-Asian” is a better way to describe the food, although that just paints a picture of RockSugar in my mind. The flavors of each dish at Lukshon are all authentic, and in some cases the dish itself is as well. The only “fusion” aspect about any of this is the environment you’re eating this food in. Oh, and the price too. The dishes are fairly cheap, but portions are small (think tapas-sizes). So in the end, not a cheap meal, especially if you’re used to eating similar food at traditional Asian restaurants. But the execution is great, flavors are authentic, and ingredients are fresh. Can’t complain about any of that, especially in a quality-Asian-food-deprived side of town.

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In addition to some cocktails (the Singapore Sling is quite awesome FYI), the four of us decided on eleven dishes. The oysters were a nice start, with a refreshing mignonette. The shrimp toast, which were more like shrimp ball, were arguably the best shrimp toast I’ve had in recent memory. Wished I could’ve had more than one bite. The mussels came with a green curry that tasted very authentic, but didn’t necessarily wow me (they charge $3 for rice BTW – meh). So far, quite decent. Then came the middle of the lineup…

The baby squid stuffed with sausage was absolutely delicious (it made Jonathan Gold’s 10 best dishes list of 2011). The duck in the popiah was cooked perfectly, although I wished there was some skin in it. The roti canai was a pleasant surprise. For some reason I didn’t expect to love it, but I did. The chicken pops is arguably the most popular dish on the menu. I personally like some of the other dishes more, but it is a very good dish. Pork belly was…pork belly. I can never say anything bad about pork belly, and this version gave me no reasons to. The X.O. rice was good, but not great. Caught some flak for ordering it. Added an order of the ribs near the end of dinner, and it ended up being one of my favorites.

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We closed out the dinner with the dandan noodles. The restaurant deliberately serves this dish last, because it is apparently very spicy. I’ve had some authentic dandan noodles at Szechuan restaurants in SGV, so I was a little intimidated. And it didn’t help that the three idiots who tried it thought it was spicy. But it was my turn, and I was surprised that I wasn’t reaching for my glass of water. There is a strong Szechuan peppercorn flavor, but the heat level wasn’t that high in my opinion. Pretty good, but not the best version by far. After we destroyed the food, free desserts were served (a standard at Lukshon). Unfortunately I forgot what we had, but the dessert which had two servings was the best (all three were good though).

I really enjoyed all the dishes that night. Some were just pretty good variations of traditional Asian dishes, albeit served in a smaller package and marked up in price, but some were just downright delicious (the squid in particular). In the end, I just want to reiterate that the execution is great, flavors are authentic, and ingredients are fresh. This is probably the best Asian food you can get on the west side of town, and that ain’t too shabby. And again, don’t come here with the preconception of Asian fusion in your mind, or else you would be doing a disservice to both yourself and the restaurant.

Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling ($12)

Fujian Cure

Fujian Cure ($11)

Hot and Sour Gimlet

Hot and Sour Gimlet ($11)

Lukshon Sour

Lukshon Sour ($11)

Malpeque Oysters

Malpeque Oysters ($30)

Shrimp Toast

Shrimp Toast ($8)

Prince Edward Island Black Mussels

Prince Edward Island Black Mussels ($12)

Steamed Organic Jasmine Rice

Steamed Organic Jasmine Rice ($3)

Baby Monterey Squid

Baby Monterey Squid ($11)

Duck Popiah

Duck Popiah ($7)

Lamb Belly Roti Canai

Lamb Belly Roti Canai ($10)

Spicy Chicken Pops

Spicy Chicken Pops ($10)

Garlic Pork Belly

Garlic Pork Belly ($12)

X.O. Rice

X.O. Rice ($10)

Kurobuta Pork Ribs

Kurobuta Pork Ribs ($9)

Dandan Noodles

Dandan Noodles ($13)

Dessert

Dessert (free!)

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Chris Hei grade: B+

Lukshon
3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 202-6808

Lukshon on Urbanspoon

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