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Korean BBQ has come to the westside! Located in Culver City, on Main Street next to The Wallace, Hanjip Korean BBQ is the result of partners Stephane Bombet (Terrine, Viviane) and Francois Renaud (Terrine) and Chef Chris Oh (Seoul Sausage). Hanjip Inside, the decor is modern and eye catching. The walls, as well as the ventilation systems above each table, are covered with black and white geometric lines. Hanjip Interior Korean BBQ is meant to be shared with friends. While you can sit at a table for two or four people, the booths and round tables in the center are better for parties of six. With the amount of food you will probably eat, the bigger the group, the better! As soon as we sat, we were served an array of banchan. Fish cakes, kim chi, potato salad, spicy cucumber and bean sprouts are some of the banchan. The standout was the crispy octopus banchan.
For the last year, I have driven up and down Centinela Blvd to and from LAX but I had never noticed Fin, a restaurant located half a block east of Centinela Blvd on Washington Blvd. Now I have!  A modern space with minimal decor, Fin is located in the space that was formerly Mi Ranchita, a Mexican Restaurant. The menu at Fin is Asian-fusion. Perhaps this is because owners Michael Flanagan, Gerardo Reyes and Ken Whang had all worked together as servers at Koi in the past? Well actually, that is where they met. One night Michael and Gerardo were drinking at Mi Ranchita when they told the owner they wanted to buy the place. The owner wasn't looking to sell the 25 year old restaurant but somehow they convinced him. They set out to remodel the space and hire staff as they created their own concept. But what impressed me so much was that they ended up also keeping the original staff from Mi Ranchita. And why Asian Fusion? Because, as Michael explained, he wanted to offer a restaurant in the neighborhood that would be fun for a date spot or a night with friends.... flavorful, fun food that is easy to share and not too heavy. It's been a year now and Fin is a friendly local neighborhood restaurant. Fin Culver City
The first Indian dish Akasha Richmond, owner and chef at Akasha in Culver City, ever tried was Sambar, a lentil-based vegetable stew with tamarind, spices, onions and toor dal, popular in South Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil cuisines. The dish stuck with her and her love for Indian food developed over the years as this self-taught chef worked as a personal chef for Michael Jackson and other celebrities and opened Akasha seven years ago. So, when she opened her newest restaurant in Culver City, it was only natural to call it Sambar. Sambar The space is open, modern and bright with white walls and a multi-color glass light fixture hanging in the center, adding lots of color. The open kitchen, which has a counter for patrons in front of it, has a large wood-fire burning oven.