Lukshon vs Akasha - Culver City
Normally I'd go to Saint Amour, but they're closed as is Fraiche. Opinion as to whether Lukshon or Akasha would be a better choice for a low-key dinner with friends? Both of the menus look great.
I saw Fraiche open this evening, so don't necessarily rule it out if that is where your heart is set. I walk by it daily, and so far, it's still going. Not sure when Public School is taking over (if at all?).
I can't speak to Lukshon, as I haven't been yet. Reviews - based on food quality - have been great.
I've been to Akasha a number of times. Food has always delivered. Good atmosphere, very friendly service. Busy, so if you are planning a dinner or meet-at-the-bar, make a reservation. Lots of farm-to-table cocktails. Specials tend to focus on high-quality protein plus some sides. I've never felt rushed, so it is a good place to catch up with friends. It's low-key in the world of LA, but a little mroe upscale when compared to the rest of downtown Culver City.
If you are looking for something even less formal but still provides wine/beer/good food, take a look at Tender Greens. Counter Service sandwiches, salads and the occassional entree. Very simple menu (which I understand to be the opposite of Lukshon, fwiw).
Enjoy the meal!
1)tender greens is so informal that you will be waiting on line to put your food on a tray to take it to the table yourself. to me, it sounds way too informal given your request. also, maybe i'm a glutton, but i like more protein in an entree salad. . .
2) re: akasha
i've been there a number of times and i like the place. one caveat, though: DON'T go during the DineLA week and DON'T order the DineLA menu.
their regular menu has always, to my tastes, been absolutely solid. the DineLA offering not so much.
What do you mean by "low-key"? Inexpensive? Relaxing environment? Simple but pleasing food?
I've only been to Akasha once (and that was several yrs ago), Lukshon twice. Based on my admittedly hazy memory of Akasha, I think Lukshon has far better (and perhaps pricier?) food, a more formal atmosphere (although I wouldn't call if formal in an absolute sense.... and perhaps it was the surly hostess during my first visit that gave the place a "colder" feeling), and is a bit more high-concept. I'd happy return to the place.
Having said all that, I think, interestingly enough, that Akasha might work better for you. While it still has a nice ambiance, the atmosphere seemed more relaxed, the food was tasty but I don't recall it being particularly memorable (I think I might have had a flatbread dish? and I found it vaguely over-priced), and I think I recall the tables being far enough apart that you'll feel comfortable w/ friends (although I was at the bar, so I can't say for sure). I wouldn't call it a destination restaurant, which is why I haven't returned. But I think i'd be fine if you wanted a nice but relaxed meal and if the location is very convenient for you and your friends.
I've been to Tender Greens once or twice, and I found the food completely unremarkable (although I think I'm one of the few w/ this opinion). And it's not "less formal"; it's very casual and essentially feels like an upscale cafeteria (like Lemonade.... although I like Lemonade quite a bit).
For food, Lukshon is hands down the better choice. I (and most others I know) find Akasha overall bland and unmemorable. But Akasha does have good atmosphere and drinks, the food isn't terrible, and it's more casual than Lukshon. Then again, you could always eat at Lukshon and stroll down to Father's Office for a low-key finish to the evening. :)
At peak dinner time, it's hard to carry on a conversation at Akasha - it's very loud. Also, they have the most ridiculously uncomfortable chairs for dining... they're the Le Corbusier-like sling chairs with an extreme slant toward the back so you pretty much have to sit right on the edge of the seat to eat & to have a conversation or you just slide back into the seat, then get a decent ab workout trying to get yourself out of it. And the food is not good enough to make up for the inconvenience.
I really like Lukshon and DO think it's quite low-key, especially if you sit outside. It's very pleasant and great for conversation. I've never found it to be stuffy. The banquette seating inside is closer than I prefer, so I always ask to be seated outside. I've never felt rushed there and I've had some lingering meals that stretched close to 2 hours. Maybe it's just timing, but I've never seen the place packed with people waiting, so I've never felt rushed. The food tends to be salty so I always get a side of rice to offset it.