Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Sang Yoon, the restaurateur who brought us the wildly successful gastropub known as Father's Office has thrown us all a curve ball with his latest venture, Lukshon. A sit-down, somewhat upscale restaurant just a few doors down from the Culver City Father's Office, Lukshon is Mr. Yoon's elevated take on Southeast Asian cuisine, served in a glamorous dining space with probably the most open open-kitchens I've ever seen.

Last week my wife brought us to Lukshon to celebrate my birthday, and she booked us right at the chef's bar area with a commanding view of the gleaming new kitchen. You are quite literally just a few feet from the chefs preparing your dishes. I'm telling you, the entertainment value alone of these seats is worth the effort to book early.

Best seats in the house. Any closer and I'd be getting a W-2 from Mr. Yoon.

Lukshon has a very good beer and wine list augmenting a small but smart list of house cocktails. I start with this:

Fujian Cure. Isle of skye 8yr scotch, lemon, galangal, lapsang souchong black tea. Herby, not too strong, and with a nice sharp flavor from the lemon. I'm so used to just drinking straight Scotch and Bourbon that these specialty cocktails rarely ever do it for me, but this was quite nice.  We also requested a bottle of flat water, which was clearly labeled as such:

Beef tartare - Pickled cucumber, chiles, onion, herbs, aromatic rice powder. Our dinner kicks off with these small "open face cucumber beef tacos."  It starts out velvety smooth with the creamy and generously seasoned beef, then the chile heat hits you followed by a refreshing presence from the cucumber.  Herbs added a contrasting texture.  So do you eat these in one bite or two? I suggest one, unless you are more articulate with your chewing skills that I am (not saying much).

Spanish mackerel. Coconut vinegar, jalapeño, lemongrass, green papaya.  Sashimi-style Spanish mackerel was exquisite in taste.  The vinegar added a slight acidic taste to compliment the fresh fish.  I couldn't get much from the green papaya; its effect was more texture than taste.

Baby monterey squid. Chiang mai pork sausage, candlenut, mint, rau ram. Our favorite dish of the night. Squid bodies cooked and stuffed with pork sausage, topped with the fried squid legs. The rau ram herbs gave the dish a delicious earthy flavor while the fried squid legs added a nice crunch. Slice off a piece of squid with pork sausage intact, swirl that in the pool of mint and oil and consume with a fried leg. Perfection.

My second drink was this sochu barrel aged ale Hitachino XH. This drank easily and paired nicely with the remaining dishes.

Another view of the counter action.

Chicken pops. Shelton farms drumettes, garlic, kecap manis, spicy Sichuan salt. Spicy, salty, crunchy.  Like bar food taken to new level. The saltiness was almost overbearing, prompting me to chug more of that NOT SPARKLING water. I'm thinking that a creamy dipping sauce would pair well with these to help tame the saltiness. I found the meat to be slightly on the gristly side with a few of the pops being mostly fried skin with trace amounts of meat.  But don't get me wrong--I finished these in no time and would order these again post-haste.

Prince Edward Island steamed mussels.  Green chile rempah, coconut, tapioca, Thai basil, lime. As good as the mussels were, the best part of this dish was the savory brith with its deep coconut-y flavor with strong hints of lime. I also ordered a side of Jasmine rice, as suggested by our waiter, to soak up every last drop of that tasty broth.  That was probably the best food-ordering decision I've made in recent history.  I couldn't stop stuffing my face with the soaked rice!

Jasmine rice with the curry sauce. Who wants some?! And see the lone mussel in the bowl? He never opened up to us.

DanDan noodles.  Kurobota pork, sesame, preserved mustard greens, Sichuan peppercorns, peanuts. Greasy but good is how I'd describe this. The noodles paired with the ground pork and peanuts made this a heavy, comfort-food like dish that hits your stomach like a brick.  Sichuan peppercorns added a blast of quick heat and left a slight tingling sensation on the lips (but not to worry, it fades quickly).

Dessert is complimentary and changes regularly.  Here we have a mini-chocolate cake, a meringue, and a shot of mango sorbet over raspberry jam and yogurt (I think). It was commendable but tough to share.

Dinner was a success and I'm anxious to return to try many other dishes.  Our server was friendly and very knowledgeable of the dishes; food came out and nearly the perfect times just after we had finished the previous dish.  As we watched the kitchen staff hustle about in their respective stations, it was very evident to me that this place has already found its rhythm. When we left at around 8:30, the restaurant was completely filled.  I have no doubt that Lukshon will be a hot restaurant for some time.  Now for the tough question: When I'm in this area again, do I go to Father's Office or Lukshon?  

3239 Helms Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034


  1. How fun to sit at the chef's bar area! We sat on the patio last night and had the best time. Thanks again for your recs!

  2. Glad you liked it! I'm definitely going back.

  3. Great post. I'm hoping to try it soon myself!

  4. Thanks! Yeah you've got to go...and try to get a spot at the chef's bar area. That made it so much more memorable.

  5. whoa! a new post!

    will we see another new one after 4/13/11?

  6. Yes! I might actually write up something before then!

  7. happy belated! i like the water bottle, hahah.

    great pix and yay for free dessert!

  8. Thank you! Yeah we got a laugh out of the water bottle.

  9. Loved the squid! It was like squid ravioli filled with all yummy stuff!