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REVIEW: Beacon (with pix!)

To see the pix click on: http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

Below, two views of the luscious yaki udon: glistening strands of udon noodles stir fried with slivers of tender pork, green onions, cabbage, and kim chee. The kim chee is what makes this dish for me - it highlights the other flavors (mostly bland) plus the funkiness of the kim chee gives this everyday dish a little oomph.

Beacon, although officially located in the City of Los Angeles, is a big part of Culver City's dynamic dining scene. Situated in the southern corner of the Helms Bakery Complex (right across the street from The Jazz Bakery and my favorite cheap steak frites place, La Dijonnaise), Beacon became, right from the start, not only a destination restaurant but a favorite with the locals as well.

Below, iced green tea and pomegranate sake. In the past I've had the pleasure of sipping the lychee infused sake as well as pineapple.

Below, the Beacon Roll: no rice nor nori, just salmon, crab, and avocado wrapped in a thin layer of cucumber topped with the distinct ponzu gelee and sesame seeds. I feel like Violet Beauregarde, before she inflates, as I chew one of these delicious little morsels: each component's taste comes through yet they all blend so perfectly with one another.

Below, a beautiful sugar snap salad with radishes and goat cheese, diffused with daikon sprouts.

Below, the delicate and very elegant avocado salad with mixed greens, cilantro, Tokyo negi (a Japanese green onion which tastes kind of sweet - the flavor reminds me a bit of fennel), and kuro goma (black sesame seed) with a rice wine vinaigrette.

One of my other favorite salads, the stir fried mushroom salad. I hate to admit this, but I never knew that this salad existed until I saw a Rachel Ray show (this is so embarrassing!) several years ago and she was knoshing on this salad. The next time that I went I ordered it out of curiosity and it has been one of my standards since. I especially love the flavored almonds and the marinated carrots.

Below, a carnivore's delight: a half pound burger with carmelized onions, bacon, and a posh cheese, and the meat has a sweet soy glaze on it.

Below, Les Beaux Cheveux, Esq. ordered the upscale Ring Ding for dessert. I am not from back east so I didn't know that a Ring Ding is a Ding Dong; had I known, I would have ordered one too since I am a Ding Dong fanatic.

Beacon
3280 Helms Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90034
www.beacon-la.com

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  1. GREAT review, and your videos are wonderful. Thanks so much for all the information!

    1. I don't mean to burst your bubble, but I really don't get beacon. I've been there several times and everytime I go, I say to myself why did I go and I will not be back. But for some reason I get stuck in Culver City and go there. Regardless the food is nothing special, if you live in Culver City, I guess it's alright, but to drive there especially for this place, don't bother. It's not awful, it's just not memorable or worth going twice, if even once.

      1. Hmmmmm...why such dissension on this place? Are we all ordering such different items? Is it inconsistent in its delivery?

        I have been a number of times and like it a lot. I like the feel of the place, I like the food choices, and I like the service. I also like walking to Surfas afterward. But I must add that I have been only for lunch. Is this the possible reason for such differences in opinion? This kind of discrepancy occurs every time Beacon is mentioned on these boards...as though we were experiencing different restaurants.

        1. I have yet to try any restaurant in Culver City other than Beacon. I lurve Beacon! The food is always A+ (the service is a bit dodgy IMO).

          1. Very nice description of the avocado salad. BTW- It is perfect followed by the pork tonkatsu. Delicous and obviously high quality pork.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JudiAU

              i can sometimes overlook poor service if the food is outstanding but beacon is not one of those places i can do that with. it's been bad from day one. the last time i went there was last yr when i got back from SF via LAX and stopped there for dinner. the food was one dimentional and my chicken was burnt on the outside and practically raw on the inside. there's too many good asian cuisine in the westside to go to beacon. i should have gone to orris.

              1. re: trolley

                I went to Beacon once over a year ago, wanting to like it. After the avocado salad, a pork belly noodle dish, and a couple sushi rolls, we were unimpressed and not pressed enough for dinner places to try other things on the menu. The avocado salad was the best thing; the fish did not taste fresh, and the noodle soup was run of the mill.

                1. re: trolley

                  Thank you. I too wanted to like it as wolfgang points out which is why I've given it several tries. I had some thai noodle dish and the only way I can describe it, it tasted like cardboard-sorry. I've had the miso soup, way tooo salty, the spicy tuna sushi wasn't bad, but way too spicy. I had some other dishes, but can't remember. I know L.A. magazine has given this restaurant many good reviews, but I really don't get it. And yes the service isn't the best and it's really, really loud in there.
                  Thankfully I don't live in culver city and there are so many other asain food places to go to.

                  1. re: trolley

                    I think their hangar steak is one of the best beef dishes in LA. The sweet sauce with the wasabi relish is a great combo.

                2. Great review, Beacon is one of my favorite restaurants! We have never been there for lunch, but a few times for dinner. We have tasted many dfferent items, all have been very good. Sadly the service hasn't been consistent, from okay to really bad. But he food is all good.
                  We'll be back again, hopefully soon!