When someone does one thing remarkably well – like, for example, creating the best hamburger in the known universe – there’s a good chance they’ll do another thing remarkably well. So when Sang Yoon (founder of Father’s Office and the aforementioned life-changing burger) decided to redefine the concept of Asian small plates and launch a more upscale restaurant, I had complete faith it would be awesome. And it is.
Lukshon is hard to describe because there aren’t many restaurants like it. It’s sort of like grown-up, reinvented Asian street food with a lot of surprises thrown in. Everything tastes incredibly fresh and seasonal and the play of textures and spices is a whole lotta fun. And they give out free sparkling water and dessert. Who doesn’t like free dessert?!
Josh and I pop into Lukshon whenever we’re at Surfas or HD Buttercup, which is to say, very frequently. We’ve whittled the menu down to some key favorites…
Hawaiian Butterfish – I’d put this dish up against Nobu’s yellowtail jalapeno sashimi any day. The butterfish is impeccably tender and sweet, perfectly accented by the tart and crunchy pickled watermelon radish and spicy nahm jim (chili lime dressing). I love all well-executed sashimi dishes, it’s true. But this is on a whole different level… if they served it by the pound, I would happily eat it.
Tea Leaf Salad x 2 – Let me break it down for you. This salad = crack. I’m not even joking. Josh and I have to order two of these otherwise we fight over who gets the last bite. I’m dying to recreate this salad at home, it’s pretty much the perfect combo of tastes and textures. One the one hand, you have the crunchy sweet cabbage, complemented by crispy chana dal (a fried lentil) and the smoky marcona almonds. On the other, you have an absolutely mouthwatering Asian vinaigrette that might induce you to ask for an extra shot of dressing on the side. And then, in this hypothetical situation, you might just drink that shot of dressing all by itself. There must be nam pla in it because it’s just tooooo good.
Dan Dan Noodles – these noodles are spicy in the very best way. Not the “omg give me white bread and a glass of water” spicy. This is the mouth-numbing, trance-inducing sichuan pepper hot. Which is to say, a very pleasant kind of heat. Toss the noodles at your table and devour. They’re filling and crazy good (that complimentary sparkling water will light up your mouth after a couple bites… try it).
Flank Steak Bao – bao, the marshmallow of the bread world, elevates this savory steak to new levels of deliciousness. A fluffy soft bun, steak, asian pear & cabbage salad and kimchi vinaigrette… how can you go wrong?
At the end of your meal, they bring out a complimentary dessert (why don’t more restaurants do this? such a nice touch). The dessert changes seasonally – today, we had an ice-cold palm sugar butterscotch pudding with candied walnuts. Perfectly bite-sized and total yumminess.
Lukshon @ the Helms Bakery complex
3639 Helms Ave., Culver City