I’m alive!!! I’ve been in finals hell for a week now but the madness stops Friday and I will be back to my bubbly bloggin self!
This past Saturday night I managed to escape my never-ending work load for a dinner at Akasha, an organic and seasonal restaurant in that’s been on my “to try” list forevah. Although Akasha is by no means a strictly veggie establishment, this swanky farmer’s market style New American restaurant/bar/bakery has a menu packed with vegan items, as well as items that the kitchen has no problem “veganizing.” At 9 pm, with a guest in tow, I sauntered into Akasha prepared to indulge in a much-needed vegan feast.
Akasha9543 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Located on a happenin stretch of Culver Blvd, Akasha’s dark, brick exterior and massive wooden doors appropriately introduce its sexy rustic vibe. Inside, artfully hung light fixtures and a large bar, complete with a huge chalk-board touting the wine list, dazzle, and low lighting and up-tempo music give this place a modern vibe. Akasha takes its name from Chef-owner Akasha Richmond, who was formerly a caterer and private chef to a celebrity clientele such as Michael Jackson and Barbra Streisand, and is the author of “Hollywood Dish.”
Despite not having a rezzie on a Saturday night, my friend and I were seated in the more casual bakery side of the restaurant instantaneously. Our table was next to the bar, which was lined with a plethora of house-made jams and preserves as well as adorned festive Christmas decorations – swoon. A waiter immediately came to our table, and the service continued spectacularly throughout our meal. The kitchen was just as fast as our waiter, sending out our dishes swifter than we could eat them. This is seriously unheard of and warrants some serious points.
After examining their large menu, I literally wanted to try every single item on the “Sides” section, but somehow managed to pick just a few. My friend and I started with the artichoke frites, a vegan app from the small plates section.
This app was basically deep-fried pieces of artichoke. Due to the crispy fried exterior, this dish was reminiscent of your vegan girlfriend’s all time favorite go-to comfort food – french fries. Even though the fried and browned pieces of oiled artichoke didn’t need a thing in terms of dippage, the tomato chutney it was served with tasted like really really good ketchup and was a lovely accompaniment.
Next up I tried a salad, which ended up being my least favorite dish of the night.
This salad was pretty abysmal. A meager handful of greens with a skimpy helping of mild lemon dressing just wasn’t doin it for me. And I’m sorry but I see narry an almond, narry! Regrets Akasha, I was not into it. Moving on.
Next up I ordered the brussel sprouts (an apparent theme of mine lately) which the waiter happily veganized for me, omitting the normally occurring bacon.
Love love loved these! Totally simple and totally perfect, this clean and mild vegetable dish was sautéed to perfection. The sprouts had the perfect char to them as well, a key factor to brussels done right. This winner is now my second favorite brussel sprout dish, with the number one spot going to the veganized brussel sprouts from Primitivo Wine Bistro in Venice (but that’s a separate post). Huge thumbs up!
For my entrée, I ordered one of the two vegan options on Akasha’s big plate menu section, the quinoa.
Let me start by expressing how ecstatic I am to see quinoa as a main course on an omnivorous menu. Yes. My favorite part of this entrée was unshockingly, the squash. I also loved all of the roasted vegetables generously incorporated in the red and white quinoa mix, with a special guest appearance my the illusive purple carrot!
I could have eaten this filling dish sans tofu and been totally satisfied and stuffed to the gillz. The tofu was actually my least favorite part of the dish, but it should be notated that I am not one to eat tofu straight up, like, ever, so please take that into account. My friend, who is a huge meat lover, adored this dish and happily gobbled up my leftover tofu. Whaaaa?? A steak lover relishing quinoa and tofu with not an ounce of meat in sight?? Um, well done Akasha, well done.
Sadly, I was far to full to partake in dessert, but let it be notated that Akasha has vegan ice cream as well as a vegan salted chocolate peanut bar that looks like heaven.
Overall I really enjoyed my meal at Akasha. I don’t think it will be making my best of 2011 list, but it’s certainly a plentiful and diverse vegan dining option when in the area. Akasha is an excellent choice for upscale dining for a group of diverse eaters.
Post dining experience, I learned that Akasha’s vegan and gluten-free onion rings were featured on a recent episode of my favorite Food Network show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Oh-em-geeeeeeeee, why did I not do my research before eating there?!?! Guess round two is happening for your vegan girlfriend sooner than latah.
Has anyone else tried one of the many vegan options at Akasha? Or the onion rings? Let me live vicariously and fill me in!!!
Countdown to collegiate freedom in t-minus 4 days and counting.
Your Vegan Girlfriend