3239 Helms Ave.
Culver City, CA 90232
Fri, 02/13/2015, 8:30pm reservation
For reservations: OpenTable
Lukshon is a restaurant that brings South-East Asian cuisine with a modern flair. The king of Father's Office, Sang Yoon, is the ingenuity behind Lukshon. The ingredients are fresh and robust that can be tasted throughout each bite. Take for example the Sichuan dumplings: delicate presents made with kurobuta pork. The dish offers spices that numb your palate from start to finish (literally as a result of the Sichuan peppercorns).
Right behind Helms Bakery in the alleyway sits Lukshon's patio that is warm and inviting. A sophisticated fireplace is nestled at the entrance. The ambiance is relaxing and you feel a sense of ease amongst the other diners. The restaurant is classy, but provides comfort next to the bustling Father's Office.
Hawaiian Butterfish ($13.00): Lime cells, thai chile, herbs, coconut snow. Light and refreshing, this dish is a must when ordering other dishes with plenty of spice. This dish cools the palate. The lime cells (which I felt tasted more like coconut than lime) was a perfect balance to the ultra-tender butterfish.
Tea Leaf Salad ($11.00): My favorite dish. Cabbage, crispy chana dal, marcona almonds, peanuts, sesame, blue prawn. I would have never guessed that a salad of all things was my favorite dish, but it was. The salad was sweet, spicy, crunchy and tangy. The citrus balanced the sweetness and offered the perfect acidity to the dish. The only downside was the prawns as they were a bit overcooked. Regardless, I was willing to overlook the prawns as the salad was just that good.
Sichuan Dumplings ($11.00): Kurobuta pork, spicy ma-la vinaigrette, sesame, peanuts. These delicate pillows of the most delicious pork was S-P-I-C-Y. It was a different kind of spice that numbs your palate and doesn't hit you until later (that's what Sichuan peppercorns do to ya). Good thing I like spicy or I wouldn't have liked this dish. Soft and juicy, this dish was quite tasty.
Crispy Whole Fish (Market Price): Wok charred cucumbers, pickled onions, pecel sauce. This bad boy was delicious. It reminded me of how I usually order fish at the Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley (only this time, the fish is fancy). The skin was extremely crispy and the fish was flaky and cooked to perfection. The sauce reminded me of South American flavors, probably cause it tasted predominately of cilantro.
Crab Fried Rice ($12.00): Blue crab, jasmine rice, egg, pea tendrils, serrano chile. This dish was nothing special and was my least favorite dish. I respect that Yoon tried to make this a special dish, but in all honesty, fried rice is just that: fried rice.
Dandan Noodles ($8.00): Kurobuta pork, sesame, preserved mustard greens, sichuan peppercorns, peanuts. If you wanted a slippery and spicy, yet meaty dish, then this one is for you. The flavor was nice but it wasn't amazing.
Warm Persimmon Toffee Cake ($10.00): Sichuan persimmon jam, brown butter ice cream, long pepper crumble, hibiscus. Sichuan again? Do you see a theme? This was not my favorite dessert of all time. I'm probably not a fan of persimmons or hibiscus. The cake had a nice texture but I did not like the overall flavor. Additionally, the amount of ice cream on the plate was minuscule. All I wanted was the ice cream. Is that too much to ask?
Overall, Lukshon taps into the realm of South-East Asian cuisine with substantial aromas. Considering that Yoon operates a burger bar, the Top Chef Master candidate has successfully created a menu that awakens the palate. Sichuan peppercorns seem to be a theme in respect to the cuisine at Lukshon. A bit more variety would be nice, but essentially, most of the dishes were good.
Notable dishes: Tea Leaf Salad and Hawaiian Butterfish