A school of Piranhas couldn’t have stripped that grilled Branzino cleaner than the three of us did at Lukshon. When the waiter came to clear the table there was nothing left on the serving platter but the spine and a small piece of skull. The rest – tail, fins, lips, cheeks – was all gone.
It’s listed on the menu as “Crispy whole fish wok charred cucumbers, pickled onion, pecel sauce”. If you love the sweet taste of Branzino and the crunchy flavor of well-crisped fish skin this dish is pure heaven.
Lukshon is one of a handful of restaurants mixed in among the furniture stores at the converted site of the old Helms Bakery.
The menu is rich in small plate choices that can serve as appetizers or as side dishes to a main course. Our fate was cast as soon as the waiter said “Branzino” in answer to our friend Amanda’s question about the fish of that day. All that remained was deciding what else to order. I’ve never known anyone who loves Branzino as much as Amanda does. It’s one of my favorite fish, but she raises the bar.
Jennifer nominated the “sweetbreads ‘orange chicken’ style” as a dish she wanted to try. There was plenty on the plate for the three of us to share as an appetizer. Amanda wanted a vegetable to go with the fish and the waiter suggested “Chinese eggplant fennel raita, tomato sambal, eggplant ‘fries’” as a good match. For a rice dish the waiter recommended the “x.o. rice jasmine rice, x.o. sauce, long beans, egg.”
Whether it’s any of the 15 small plates, the four noodle dishes, the six rice offerings or the whole crispy fish, Lukshon is a place for sharing.
As for a sense of humor, the menu lists Shanghai matzo ball soup that includes schmaltz, the Yiddish word for chicken fat. Right below that is the spicy sour noodle soup with pork belly.
Lukshon provides space for indoor or outdoor dining. There are a few chairs at a high bar facing the kitchen, other long high bar spaces for communal dining and a separate room for table dining.
Lukshon is an excellent choice for dinner before heading for one of Culver City’s theaters. It’s also well worth the trip as a destination restaurant.