Back in February, I got to dine at Lukshon with Kristen of Rock My Palate and her cute little kidlet, Mark and Angela of I Flip For Food and Mark of Flow Films. Recently opened, tweets had been flying across my feed about some of the dishes there and I was eager to try what Chef Sang Yoon was cooking up.
Located in the old Helms Bakery a couple of doors down from Father’s Office, Lukshon is Chef Yoon’s attempt to showcase Asian ingredients and flavors while using more modern techniques. I guess you can say it’s a bit of a “fusion” restaurant. I can’t comment on technique but the menu is an interesting mix of Korean, Thai, Chinese, and even Malaysian.
The interior is very modern and chic…and crowded. Seems in the short time Lukshon has had its doors open, it has become a hip bar/restaurant for people to hang out and dine at after work. Since I’m knocked up, I couldn’t try any of the cocktails but Mark and Angela did. You can read about them here and check out Rock My Palate’s take on the meal here. Since we had a fairly large group, we were seated outside on the heated patio, something that worked out really well since it was full inside and also a bit loud.The plating and quantity made it easy to go family style on almost everything so we did just that. We had been tweeting back and forth earlier and had pretty much decided on several dishes we wanted to try with a few last minute additions to make sure we had enough food to go around.
First up was the duck popiah (4 pieces), a sort of spring roll filled with duck, jicama, cilantro and a hoisin chile sauce. The wrappers were made in-house and were a pleasant thinness and chewiness. I wish there had been a little more duck though.
Next, we were served the spicy chicken pops which came out looking like lollipops. The amount of heat on these were a bit high for my tolerance and I ended up with tingly lips but I liked them. The meat was moist and the exterior, crispy. And they brought out an extra bowl for us to dump the bones in. Such service!
Foie gras ganache with carob, ceylon cinnamon, tamarind gastrique, almond, and puffed rice arrived shortly after. I have to say, pregnancy really is killing my taste for foie gras because I did not like this at all. Nope, nada, blegh. Too rich, too sweet. Our table was split on this dish.
Kristen ordered a bowl of the chicken dumpling soup for her mini-me. Smaller bowls were brought out for us to split it amongst ourselves. I tried a little bit and wasn’t impressed. While I liked the dumplings and the egg, there was a lot of plant matter in this soup which made it taste…green, if that makes any sense.
The lamb sausage roti canai was the one dish I really really REALLY wanted to try so I was quite ready to attack it when it arrived. This lived up to my expectations and then some. I came thisclose to ordering one to go and have been thinking about it on and off since our meal. Thin fried bread reminiscent of puff pastry topped with bits of ground lamb sausage, cumin, mint and chana dal (a sort of cousin to the chickpea), this was my personal favorite of the night. Though it was supposed to be Malaysian influenced, this, to me, seemed more Indian or Middle Eastern. But I’m not familiar with Malaysian cuisine so…?
The skirt steak or Sichuan “au poivre” with shishito peppers was good. My craving for meat has diminished so I wasn’t really into this dish but everyone else really liked it. The steak was tender and juicy at medium rare and the flavors weren’t overwhelming. I think I could see my Husband eating this…after he picked off all the green stuff.
Another meaty dish we ordered was Korean-influenced: garlic pork belly with rice cakes, cabbage and garlic chives. I liked this more than the steak, personally, but I think it was because the meat was balanced with other stuff and I loooooooooove pork belly. Oink oink. The rice cakes were wonderfully done to the right chewiness.
We ordered a couple of rice dishes to go with the meat entrees: crispy coconut rice cakes and X.O fried rice. I’m not sure where the coconut was in the rice cakes but they had a great crispy texture. I loved the X.O fried rice (X.O sauce, egg, green beans) though and went back for seconds…and thirds. So simple yet soooooo tasty. This was my 2nd favorite dish of the night.
Last was the dan dan noodles. This was my first experience with this dish that I can recall and honestly, I wasn’t left wanting more. It wasn’t mind-blowingly spicy like it was touted to be, definitely not as spicy as the chicken pops. And the flavors were a bit odd to me… Maybe this is a dish that grows on you? I’d try it again, maybe post-pregnancy…
Dessert is complimentary here and we were given 3 different bites. The portioning was odd though with two portions per dessert for a table of 6. There was a mango lassi sorbet (WIN!), a vanilla panna cotta and a cake with ice cream (my least favorite). I was glad for the small size in this instance because we had planned to go to Scoops Westside after dinner.
Overall, this was a pretty decent meal. There were definitely dishes I thought were a miss but a few I would go back for in a heartbeat. The service was impeccable except for a strange long wait for the dan dan noodles.
Lukshon gets 3 1/2 NOMs.
3239 Helms Ave.
Culver City, CA