Lukshon (Culver City, CA)

Lukshon
3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
Dining date: 9/27/11

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I first went to Lukshon when it opened in February and really enjoyed it. I even had random cravings to come back, but for some reason it took 8 months. The restaurant recently started lunch service; I thought it would be a good time to bring the parents while they were in town.

Lukshon does a surprisingly good job of using flavors throughout Asia. While a traditionalist wouldn’t say the dishes are authentic to any particular region, I think the flavors are authentic – just used in some different ways. But what do I know, I’ve never been to Asia.

I really like the sleek, modern look of Lukshon, and it looks even better in the daytime.

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We first started with some drinks. A wide variety of wines, beers and cocktails were on offer but we opted for some of the non-alcoholic options.

wenshan baozhong oolong spring 2011 (taiwan) floral, melon

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An iced oolong tea seemed ideal for lunch on a sunny day. It was pretty mild in flavor but refreshing. I loved that it was kept unsweetened too.

rau ram lime soda

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My mom opted for this housemade soda showcasing the eastern Asian flavor of rau ram (Vietnamese coriander). I thought the herbal flavor really came through and, with the addition of the citrus notes, made for another refreshing drink.

vietnamese coffee

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After ordering drinks, I heard someone in the background mention “Vietnamese coffee” and instantly remembered the great one I had the last time I was here. I also remembered I was up until 4am that night. But hey, this was lunch and I was on vacation, so I opted for an extra caffeine fix here. Subtly sweet with a very deep, bold coffee flavor, I enjoyed it just as much as the first time.

shrimp toast rock shrimp, cilantro, chiles, tiny croutons

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Small pieces of flavorful shrimp were packed in and breaded, making for some nice bursts of flavor in each bite. I enjoyed the textures of the delicately crispy exterior and the moist interior. While different, I think I liked them better than the ones I had at WP24 just three days prior.

spicy chicken pops shelton farms’ drumettes, garlic, kecap manis, spicy sichuan salt

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I remembered not caring for these the first time I had them, though I think this must be one of the most popular items on the menu. I was able to pick up more of the flavors this time, and I’m glad the heat is pretty subdued…though still not one of my favorites. I just can’t appreciate the spice, but I think my dad really enjoyed them.

duck confit spring roll cabbage, woodear mushroom, herbs

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Unfortunately, I thought the cabbage and mushrooms overpowered the duck here. Couldn’t taste the meat at all; instead there was a very strong earthy flavor. In a blind taste test, I probably would’ve guessed these were vegetarian.

softshell crab green mango, chile sambal, shallot lime gastrique, peanuts

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A standout dish here. The crab was fried to perfection, leaving a crispy light batter and an exceedingly moist meat inside. Surprisingly moist. I thought the flavor of the crab itself was nice, but the green mango and lime gastrique really added some nice acidity and sweetness to complement the crab.

x.o. rice jasmine rice, x.o. sauce, long beans, egg

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A solid fried rice – I liked the small bits of waxy (and slightly crunchy) long beans dispersed throughout.

chiang mai curry noodles chile, tumeric, lemongrass, chicken, yu choy, rice noodles

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I thought this bowl of noodles was very well balanced between the lemongrass, citrus of the lime and the heat of the curry. Very comforting and full of flavor. Chunks of dark meat chicken made this a more substantial dish, while the large cracker-looking things were actually fried chicken skin…very cool.

brown sugar butterscotch brownie

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As always, dessert is complimentary at Lukshon. I wasn’t particularly enthused by the dessert; I found the dinner desserts last time to be infinitely more interesting. Still, pretty good bites of brownie (served cold), exhibiting a dense butterscotch flavor.

Lukshon provided another good meal, and I think my parents and I unanimously agreed it to be the best lunch (over Scarpetta and Marche Moderne) on their trip. It might be my favorite of the “upscale Asian” restaurants in LA (it’s difficult to compare to WP24, but definitely over Red Medicine and Spice Table). Outside of the duck spring rolls, the dishes were tasty and well-executed. I’ll definitely be back…hopefully it won’t take 8 months again.


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