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Culver City area dinner-- cheap and delicious (and not Johnnie's)?

We're seeing a play in Culver City tomorrow evening (near Surfas) and I'm coming up dry on suggestions for cheap and delicious. The only place I can come up with that strikes the balance is Johnnie's, but that's a no-go.

Simpang Asia sounds promising... have read about it for years but have never been there. I might be able to persuade the group into getting a cemita from the truck near the 405/venice overpass, but more often than not the truck isn't there when I want them to be.

Suggestions?

Thanks!

Mr Taster

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Simpang Asia
10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

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  1. Brunello Trattoria. Mom & Pop kind of Italian place, inexpensive and very good. And, you can walk in on a Saturday night and won't have to wait.

    Or India Sweets & Spices, but it closes early and it's not exactly a sit-down place even if they have a few tables.

    Samosa House, but it also closes early.

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    Brunello Trattoria
    6001 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

    5 Replies
    1. re: bad nono

      Brunello looks really nice, though a bit pricier than what we were aiming for. I'll file this one away for the future.

      Mr Taster

      1. re: Mr Taster

        Not that it's in the Culver City area, but have you tried the fried chicken at Flossie's?

        1. re: mstinawu

          Just once, a long time ago.... meat & threes. I remember more about the mushy, overcooked sides than the chicken itself. Not compelled to return.

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            Oh crap fried chicken connoisseur! =P Where do you go for your fried chicken fix?

            1. re: mstinawu

              I'm really not a connoisseur of fried chicken, but I do have several "veto" criteria... 1) greasy and 2) bland. Either one of those (or a combination of both) will cause me to write it off. Some people don't seem to mind if the chicken is bland as long as the crunch is good. I'm not one of them. A well seasoned bird is absolutely vital to my enjoyment of the chicken.

              On those rare occasions when I get my fried chicken fix, I go to the Louisiana on the NE corner of La Brea and Santa Monica. It's a Khmer-run hybrid Chinese food place. I stick strictly with the chicken and on my half dozen or so visits, I've never been disappointed. I've also had decent fried chicken from the Astroburger a little further down the street.

              Mr Taster

    2. How about Gloria's Cafe on Venice Blvd? Or get your groove on at the Backstage Bar & Grill if you're in the mood for a Burger & some garlic fries....

      www.GloriasCafeLa.com

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      Backstage Bar & Grill
      10400 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

      1. It might be a good excuse to experience the creative tastefulness of Chego...

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        Chego
        3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

        6 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          Chego's a good rec... though admittedly I do have a very low tolerance for LA hipsters in those tiny hats. My gut reaction is to go for Simpang Asia for actual delicious peasant food served in humble surroundings, rather than a Roy Choi Trend-O-Magnet, but it does seem like Choi is striking an honest balance, serving simple peasant food with a creative twist and not gouging for it. Might check it out.

          Mr Taster

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          Simpang Asia
          10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          Chego
          3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          1. re: Mr Taster

            yeah, it's not too pricey, bowls are 7 to 9, desserts 4 to 5, though the rhubarb pie with ice cream at 5 was way more worth it, than the sirachi chil, remodified snickers/crunch bar. though even still and i've been a couple times, it's not amazing food, the lamb gyro bowl was dreadful on second thought and the prime rib bowl with horseradish cream was ok to good. desserts were nothing amazing.

            1. re: Mr Taster

              Chego adjacent is Rio Brazil Cafe with good Brazillian Food. Also, It has a bit ambiance than Simpang Asia which even if you are going for something cheap and casual, is more appropriate to a night out at the theatre.

              --Dommy!

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              Simpang Asia
              10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

              Rio Brazil Cafe
              3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

              Chego
              3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

              1. re: Dommy

                Or, as was suggested above, (or below?) Gloria's Cafe on Venice Blvd. or how about the recently discussed (in another thread) Rincon Carillo for Cuban food. Both existing in the "cheap" spectrum for sit down places with table service.

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                Gloria's Cafe
                10227 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                El Rincon Criollo
                4361 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                1. re: Dommy

                  though rio brazil may be a little more expensive all the dishes are 15 bucks, either the shrimp bobo, or the fish moqueca, and possibly the feiojoda too.

                  1. re: Dommy

                    As far as I'm concerned, what is "appropriate" for a night out at the theater is that the food is inexpensive and delicious :)

                    Mr Taster

              2. What about Honey's Kettle? Cheap and delicious and really unhealthy.

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                Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken
                9537 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                2 Replies
                1. re: mstinawu

                  Thanks for the suggestion, though my one and only visit to Honey's Kettle was not a positive one. Utterly bland, greasy chicken and indifferent service by annoying high school kids. Makes a second visit difficult to consider.

                  Mr Taster

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                  Honey's Kettle
                  2600 E Alondra Blvd, Compton, CA 90221

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    s and w country diner is the best coffee shoppe in culver city possibly.

                2. Father's Office right there (hipster/PITA quotient may be too high). Also Samosa House east, Tender Greens, Tara's Himalayan, Metro Diner, Thai Boom.

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                  Tender Greens
                  9523 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                  Thai Boom
                  10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                  Samosa House
                  11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Discokill

                    $14 hamburger is right out of the price range. We're really looking to keep the bill under as far under $10 as possible. That's why I wasn't considering Metro... love their food, but a little too much.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      well, there's a taco truck at the corner of Venice and La Cienega (North East corner), but I never tried it.

                      1. re: bad nono

                        Not helpful... looking for solid recs with a proven track record. That's why I originally mentioned the cemita truck near the 405 overpass... wonderful, delicious cemitas but their timing is unreliable. I never know if they'll be there.

                        Mr Taster

                      2. re: Mr Taster

                        Did Chef Yoon raise the price on his Office Burger? $12 when I last ordered it recently. It's worth $14 and a bargain at $12 for such a tasty, high quality burger!

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                        Father's Office
                        3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

                        1. re: kevin

                          Pain in the @$$. You know, the general concesus on FO (Father's Office)

                          --Dommy!

                          1. re: Dommy

                            Don't count me i on "...the general concesus on FO (Father's Office)..." cause the food and beer list are wonderful, our service has ranged from excellent to good so I'm a happy and satisfied regular!

                            -----
                            Father's Office
                            1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                      3. Simpang is soooooo great.
                        I had lunch there recently and was very, very impressed. My friend is Indonesian and she ordered up a wonderful meal. Most haunting to me was an icy coconut-avocado-jack fruit drink is called es teler. It was a perfect summer drink.
                        http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&am...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                          I second Simpang Asia. Mie Tek Tek noodles are delish, and I've only recently tried their dumpling-type offerings in their cold case.

                          Their kroket (beef in potato ball) and lemper (chicken wrapped in rice and banana leaf) are both really good. The lemper doesn't look like much (other than a chicken maki roll), but it's quite good, and the warm kroket is sort of like a Porto's potato ball.

                          Prices are less than $10/person easily.

                          -----
                          Simpang Asia
                          10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                          1. re: hhewitt

                            My friend was raving about the lempur, telling me what a great thing they are for a quick lunch. She often buys a bunch for the week and throws them in her son's school lunch bag or takes them to work.

                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                              Sounding better and better...

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                I think Simpang Asia is a really good choice. The only thing I've had there that I didn't really like was the curry laksa, but that's to be expected I suppose.

                                -----
                                Simpang Asia
                                10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  Hope to hear if you make it tomorrow tonight. You inspired me to go tonight, so I enjoyed my kroket and sayur bungkus tonight (or, as the sign on the cold case says "croquette", to be french I guess).

                          2. Yeah, I would not count of the truck.... BUT recently we had a surprising good and cheap Mexican food at Pinches Tacos on Washington. Great Sope, Complex Tortilla Soup, casual, but still with character....

                            --Dommy!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Dommy

                              Great rec... thanks Dommy!

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Dommy

                                It's really called Pinches? That's hilarious

                                1. re: martyR

                                  Yeah... it's a mini chain too... I was SOOOOOO skeptical... But they are open late and we saw the cops roll up in, so we decided to give it a shot. The cook was an ABSOLUTE doll and again, we had a pretty good dinner.

                                  --Dommy!

                                  1. re: Dommy

                                    Yeah, the look of this place screams gringo-margerita-El Coyote, so I wouldn't have given it a second look if the recommendation hadn't come from you.

                                    Mr Taster

                              2. Annapurna comes to mind, if you want vegetarian Indian food.
                                There is also Mezza for Mediterranean, but it might be on the upper end of what is considered cheap.

                                  1. re: sparkareno

                                    Second Versailles. Very reasonable prices, and the roast pork & roast chicken are so good I have a hard time trying anything else on the menu.

                                  2. my bad i read this all wrong, though you were talking about a culver city diner.

                                    1. Maybe I missed it, but how late will you be dining? I'd recommend Jasmine Market on Sepulveda or Sofra on Venice. Seems I remember a newish Mexican place back in a strip mall across from Target on La Cienega near Rodeo - anyone know anything about it? They had a banner advertising "healthy Mexican food" (generally a bad sign but who knows) a while back but I never went in.

                                      Hey, Del Taco's cheap - steak tacos, quesadillas - actually no worse than a lot of Westside taco joints (corner Sepulveda/Jefferson).

                                      -----
                                      Jasmine Market and Deli
                                      4135 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                                      Sofra Kabob Express
                                      10821 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: cant talk...eating

                                        Was the Mexican place where Uncle Moki's was or in a different place?

                                        -----
                                        Uncle Moki's
                                        3560 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                          wait just a second, did uncle moki's, the hawaiian garlic shrimp plate place, close??? please say it ain't so, although i am a little to blame since i haven't been myself in over a year or so, or probably more...

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            Yup, it did a couple of months ago and was quickly taken up by the mexican health food place.... Don't blame yourself too much either... that's a HORRIBLE location... :P

                                            --Dommy!

                                            1. re: Dommy

                                              Dommy! - so have you tried said Mexican health food place??
                                              Agreed, about the worst location for a restaurant, although maybe those second-story joints in Hollywood strip malls would vie for second place.

                                              1. re: cant talk...eating

                                                That location is the worst for anything.

                                                1. re: cant talk...eating

                                                  No, haven't tried it yet because some of the initial reports have it not being quite ready for prime time when it first opened so I wanted to give them a little bit of time. It's on the list though! :)

                                                  --Dommy!

                                              2. re: kevin

                                                Uncle Moki's was a one trick pony.
                                                When they first opened I suggested they expand their menu. Surprised they lasted as long as they did.

                                                -----
                                                Uncle Moki's
                                                3560 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                          2. Johnnie's isn't "cheap".
                                            Johnnie's signature "slicer joint" pastrami sandwich is $10.50. Two people w/fries and drinks is almost $30 w/o tax and tip.
                                            Canter's pastrami sandwich is $11.25.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: monku

                                              Thanks "monku" because I thought the same thing (price-wise). Not trying to sidetrack this thread, but I've been going to Johnny's Pastrami (not Johnnie's Pastrami) on Adams about a block east of Crenshaw for my rare pastrami sandwich fix. Maybe they don't change the water as often, but there seems to be more of the tasty meat fat residue coating the meat. They also give you more meat and include a sliced pickle and those small and waxy yellow peppers. I just ate there a month ago and their sandwich is $8.40. Their website is http://www.johnnyspastrami.com/Site/w...

                                              -----
                                              Johnnie's Pastrami
                                              4017 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                                              1. re: Feed_me

                                                Never been to the Adams Johnny's, but those pickles at Johnnie's are addicting.
                                                I know where to get them, but no room for a 5 gallon container in my fridge.
                                                I'll stick to The Hat for slicer joint pastrami.

                                              2. re: monku

                                                I haven't been to Johnnie's on Sepulveda in a few years, but I seem to recall the sandwich was about $8.... about $6 the first time I tried it in the early 2000s. How times (and prices) change.

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                  $7.50 was the last time I went to Johnnie's.

                                                  1. re: monku

                                                    i think that johnnies sandwich is like 10.50, for a better version of steamed bad pastrami (my bad i mean junk food pastrami) the had is really good better than all the rest in that style and it's 7 bucks for a sandwich there.

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      Agree on The Hat.
                                                      Went the other day and we had one pastrami dip and a roast beef dip ($6.99 each). They were both good.

                                                      I'm not originally from California, but an outsiders view of this pastrami is somewhat amusing. The Hat "World Famous Pastrami" or Tops Jr. "Worlds Best Pastrami" and other's with similar pastrami claims. Is So. Cal the epicenter of or birthplace of pastrami? Someone will chime in about Langer's I'm sure.

                                              3. A couple of additional suggestions that have not yet been mentioned: Indo Cafe (which I like better than Simpang and which has nicer atmosphere) and the newly reopened Lawrence of India (though I think the food at Tara's, mentioned by another poster, is superior and also offers some more unusual Nepali and Tibetan choices).

                                                -----
                                                Indo Cafe
                                                10430 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                Tara's Himalayan
                                                10855 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                Lawrence of India
                                                10032 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                1. So, what did you end up tasting, Taster?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                    Oops, sorry... forgot to chime back in. Simpang Asia was a hit all around.... exactly what we were looking for. Cheap, delicious, interesting food. Friendly service, homey mom & pop atmosphere. For a cafe attached to a convenience store, it was actually quite a nice space (not that I ever base my dining choices on ambiance). Here's the problem though... I can't remember what we ordered, aside from the lumpia and veggie fritters, which were phenomenal. We ordered a couple of the "nasis", but I don't remember which ones, but all were nice. I remember the young jackfruit curry being the only lowlight of the meal (odd texture), but was by no means unpalatable.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    -----
                                                    Simpang Asia
                                                    10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                  2. ZamZam halal market on Washington is great Pakistani. Only on weekends though.