Lukshon: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011
You can be forgiven for surmising that something's up at Lukshon, right? Because you are at a Sang Yoon restaurant, nobody has tried to tackle you on the way to your seat, and you are drinking Singapore Slings or an oddball Canary Islands wine called Listan Negra instead of bitter garagiste ale. Tucked next to Father's Office in the Helms Bakery complex, Lukshon is Yoon's most completely realized concept, an edgy, grown-up restaurant serving an Asian-ized, farm-centered, technique-oriented small-plates menu, very much on the path blazed by places like Animal, Lazy Ox and Red Medicine.
Where old-school chefs are knocking themselves out trying to duplicate complex Asian standards like Beijing duck and chile crab, Yoon has decided to redefine sticky Chinese pork ribs and the takeout favorite shrimp toast, which he turns inside out by dredging delicate cylinders of chopped rock shrimp in tiny croutons, then deep-frying them. When you order beef tartare, the lozenges of chopped meat resemble the Isaan raw-beef salad called koi soi, and the slivered Spanish mackerel with green papaya and coconut vinegar is a riff on a traditional Filipino ceviche. You may know roti canai from the few Malaysian restaurants that serve the floppy fried pancakes, but Sang Yoon's version, crisp, small and layered with lamb sausage, pickled vegetables and a kind of deconstructed chutney, is more like a Malaysian pizza. Authenticity is the least of Yoon's fixations — I suspect he couldn't care less that his thick, coconut-intensive version of the Chiang Mai–style noodle dish khao soi is much closer to a richer Malaysian laksa, or that his garlic pork belly splits the difference between Sichuan twice-cooked pork and Korean tteokbokki. What matters is that they're good. 3239 Helms Ave., Culver City. (310) 202-6808, lukshon.com. Lunch, Tues.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner, Mon.-Sat., 5:30-10:30 p.m. Full bar. Lot parking. AE, MC, V. Modern Asian.
99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:
Church & State
Din Tai Fung
El Huarache Azteca
Euro Pane Bakery
Fab Hot Dogs
Good Girl Dinette
La Casita Mexicana
Lazy Ox Canteen
Meals by Genet
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
Night + Market
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Pollos a la Brasa
Sapp Coffee Shop
Son of a Gun
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Waterloo & City
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