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Jan 2, 2005 02:59 PM

Restaurants near Kirk Douglas Theater

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We now have a seaon subscription to the new Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver city (near the City Hall). We are looking for some good places in the area for dinner before the show.


Barbara & Gene Haberman

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  1. We too are season seat holders for the new theatre -- we have done dinner before two of the shows. As we also live within walking distance of many of the restaurants, as well as less than a mile from the theatre, we're pretty familiar with old and new places. I'm terrible with addresses but all of these places are fairly well established.

    We have been to Beacon several times, which is in the old Beacon laundry building, directly across Helms Ave from the Helms Bakery Building which now houses furniture stores, the Jazz Bakery, and a French/American place, La Dijonaise. Beacon is part of the "small plates movement" now sweeping our fair shores. The food is excellent, mildly inventive -- appetizers we've had and enjoyed have been deep fried oysters, tofu and avocado salad, vegetarian spring rolls, ahi tuna pizza, whitefish sashimi and main dishes we've had and enjoyed include an encrusted salmon filet, hangar steak, and their two non-meat dishes. Desserts are fabulous and whimsical. Interesting small wine list. A "serious" food place.

    Across the street is La Dijonaise, which is a more casual, less expensive altenative. They offer tasty, if a bit gringo-ish French food -- onion soup, many different salads, savory crepes, coq au vin, entrecote, many different chicken dishes, as well as more American dishes like hamburgers. They also serve wine and beer.

    Both of the above places are within walking distance to the Douglas Theatre, though it is about a half mile or so away. We like stuffing ourselves and then walking a bit of it off before we settle into sedentary status at the play.

    Real closeto the Douglas Theatre is Bistro de la Hermitage, where we've gone several times -- they are a husband (chef) and wife (front) team that is cooking some very nice bistro style food in an intimate setting. The regular menu is somewhat small, but they always have a long list of daily specials. Also beer and wine.

    Last Saturday before the theatre we went to Nove Cento, which has been around now for about a decade, though we still think of it as the "new" Italian place, compared to San Gennaro, which is ancient by comparison. It's a small (12 tables or so) place on Main Street in Culver city, right next door to La Ballona, an eminently forgettable Mexican restaurant. They sent out crusty slices of bread smeared with olive tapenade before we ordered -- I had a caesar to start, which was fine though nothing special (no anchovies and the croutons were store bought), and
    housemade ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a creamy tomato/vodka sauce, which was very good and very rich. Tablemates split the special salad ( which was eaily splittable), the ingredients of which I can't exactly remember, but included spinach leaves, shitake mushrooms, and checca-- and then also had the special pasta which involved largish shrimp and assorted sauteed vegetables with pappardelle. They serve wine and beer.

    There are also plenty of restaurants along Venice Blvd., which are very eclectic (Bamboo -- Caribbean; Cafe Brasil -- Brazilian; Natalee Thai -- Thai; Giovanni's Trattoria -- Italian; AnnaPurna -veggie Indian, or Kathmandu, which has received good notices on this board) and vary as well in terms of atmosphere and formality.