High-end Asian…I mean really high-end Asian…in Culver City.
What to do now?
In the mood for a burger, I’m going to wind up…wind up.
Okay, what’s this place?
And it’s Asian?
Okay. That’s…good. I like Asian food.
I walk inside, and…what can I say? The place itself is simply stunning. Stun-ning. And otherwise small space in tucked in the corner of the Helms Bakery, turned into a high end Asian place catering to…
You know, I really can’t say who they’re catering to.
I mean, look at the bar. The bar is gorgeous, laid out in such a–
And the kitchen is…well…pretty…
Wait a minute, are there any Asian folks here?
Between the people cooking my food, serving my food, and the other people in the room eating the food with me, are there…any…Asian people…in this place?
I think I see…one or two.
And now the nervousness begins. Because, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know…I likes me some Asian Cuisine, be it Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese Vietnamese, Thai and yes, Filipino as well. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but…
I get nervous in places where a majority of the clientele in Restaurant that serves Asian cuisine is decidedly not Asian. There are exceptions, true. I’ve been to them, I’ve even had good time at them, but if I’m after Chinese food, I want what Chinese-American community of Los Angeles is having. (After a brief twitter exchange with Chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok Thai, my new New Year’s resolution is to try to avoid using the term: “authentic”.)
McCormick and Schmick’s is a chain of Seafood joints that are all over the country. They tried their hand in my native Maryland, and they’re still…there. They’re doing fine. They’re just not beloved. Part of that, at least to me…it’s a little fancy. It’s a little too upscale for what you want, when you’re in the mood for Seafood. Maryland Seafood is a a messy affair, and (for me), it’s a casual affair. Having the fanciest white table clothes and service with “airs” is just not going to do it for me most nights.
Likewise, when you live close to the San Gabriel Valley you have access to so many wonderful places that serves food as good as this place, if not better. And they do it, without the high West Side prices.
Still…cool looking place.
I mentioned that right?
Fat lot of good that does me, with my Seafood Allergy and all.
Okay, what can I do?
Oh, look…Steak Bao. Which is basically a Taiwanese Guo Bao…which is basically a Taco made with Steamed Bread.
So Guo Bao if you’ve had ‘em before. Steamed Bread Taco if you haven’t. (Once you leave the restaurant, you have to start saying Guo Bao).
The Steak Bao (their name) is steak (of course, Chinese black beans, asian pear, kohlrabi, with a kimchi vinaigrette. Not bad. Of a decent size. I think you get two per serving, so it’s priced competitively with something you’d get in San Gabriel. I’m more of a Pork Belly Fan, but still…not bad.
Then I had the Cantonese Chicken Soup. I figured together with the Steak Bao, it’d make it a decent sized meal without me having to take out a home loan to pay the bill. It’s cellophane noodles, petite bok choy, 63° egg (I have no idea what a 63° egg is, maybe one of y’all can clue me in)…all in a…to be perfect honestly…a pretty flavorless broth. The egg was nice. The bok choy I’m always into. The soup? Meh.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just know going in that this place is not cheap. I was in the mood for a Burger that day, and wound up here. It’s more a date place. It’s more of a dinner place. I’d totally bring a lady here, and probably have a better time. I’d be lighter in the wallet too, but I can see it being a very elegant meal, with space and an atmosphere to talk. For a run and jump in kind of a lunch…ehhh, probably not.
PARKING: Just like with Father’s Office, Helms Bakery has 3-4 Parking Lots scattered throughout the complex, one off Venice (which is what I used…again), one off Hutchinson, near Washington Blvd., and one directly off Washington Blvd.
The lot off Venice is a Valet powered lot. Pull in, hand over the keys, and they’ll take care of it from there. There is a fee, it’s under $5, but I can’t remember the exact figure. You can try street parking along Venice or Washington, but I think that’s just asking for it. Valet seems easier.
Lukshon apparently has updates of the parking situation join their homepage when it’s something major, so check the page out before your first visit.
3239 Helms Ave.
Culver City, CA 90232
Tel: (310) 202-6808
Tuesday-Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:30 – 10:00 pm
Saturday: 5:30 – 10:30 pm