Many years ago, en route to another Culver City restaurant, I point to Akasha and say “this is a restaurant I’d like to eat at”. Of course, this does not happen any time soon, and it is about five years later, before I actually step inside the restaurant and have a meal there. On the night of our visit, the restaurant is jam-packed and I am glad we have a reservation.
Our server Kevin is delightful and since there are so many items on the menu I want to eat, I leave several decisions up to him.
I have many small plates I want to try and am not able to decide. I give Kevin a handful of choices and ask him to bring us three. We start with Albacore Crudo ($13) a perfect kick off to our meal. The thick slices of fish nestle between a house sriracha intertwining with chile-lime peanuts and a handful of chopped cilantro. Coastal Farm black radish discs lay on top. I am immediately impressed by the flavor profiles and textural contrast on my palate.
Black Pepper & Ginger Shrimp ($15), an appetizer from the evening’s specials’ menu arrives shell-on with a turmeric butter coating the exterior. I use my fingers to eat these decadently seasoned shrimp. Again, strong, robust Asian-influenced flavors are prominent, and mesmerize our tastebuds. The shrimp are plump and possess a great snap. I de-shell and dip them into the sauce on the bottom of the bowl. We cannot resist and finish the entire bowl.
Next is Tandoori Spiced Chicken Wings ($12). The minute I bite into this, I am convinced Akasha is one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten at. Why? Because they are not afraid to season here. Each dish comes packed with intense flavors which tickles and tantalizes my tastebuds. These chicken wings do not require anything additional, however, there is a mint relish and tamarind-date chutney for you to dip them into. I try both — delicious in its own way — but absolutely love the wings on their own. I’m craving them right this minute!
This flavorful journey continues onto the entrees. Bali Seafood Curry ($25) is a bowl of scallops, shrimp, calamari, mussels, sea bass and baby spinach sitting on top of a bed of luscious black forbidden rice. The entire bowl is covered with chopped cilantro, which, when mixed in, gives a fragrant, freshness to the dish. I love the hints of kaffir lime wafting inside my mouth and up my nose as I eat it.
We choose an Herb Marinated Skirt Steak ($22) off the evening’s specials menu and are again, mighty impressed. The meat is perfectly executed with an aromatic cipollini onion agrodolce on top. There is braised kale underneath, and a creamy hazelnut romesco everything sits on. Eat a little of everything in one bite — the combination is superb.
The Sicilian Cauliflower ($9) side we choose is different to anything I’ve ever eaten. Salt-cured capers, golden raisins and toasted almonds come together for a salty, sweet, crunchy finish. Absolutely delicious!
I am thrilled I finally am able to eat at Akasha, but sad that it’s taken me this long to visit. The food is incredible with a menu of dishes absolutely spot-on in execution, presentation and taste. This has got to be one of the best meals I have eaten in 2015. If you’re in Culver City, make sure you stop in and give them a try! Soon, owner Akasha Richmond will open Sambar, a few doors down in the old Ford’s Filling Station spot. This contemporary Indian fusion eatery will feature multi-regional Indian cuisine comprising everything from the north, south, east and west. After eating at Akasha, I am convinced Sambar will undoubtedly be another mouth-tingling delight!
9543 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232