THE CULVER HOTEL
LANDMARK CULVER CITY HOTEL CELEBRATES MILESTONE
The landmark Culver Hotel in downtown Culver City recently celebrated its 90th birthday with a lavish party, an impressive makeover, and a new dining and cocktail program. The hotel’s rich history includes the fun fact that it’s where the munchkins stayed when they were filming The Wizard of Oz, and rumor has it that screen icon John Wayne won the hotel from Charlie Chaplin in a poker game.
With a refined yet festive atmosphere, the hotel’s lobby/bar/restaurant is a great place to escape and enjoy a welcome respite. There’s Daily Brunch from 7am to 11am (and until 3pm on weekends) with hearty items like Steak & Eggs, the Breakfast Culver Burger, or the Bistro Omelet. Sunday Brunch even features live jazz from 11am to 2pm, as well as an exclusive Sunday Brunch Special with coffee, tea, juice, breads, pastries, and your choice of entrée for $26 or all that plus Bottomless Mimosas for $35.
“Our brunch caters to both hotel guests and locals from the neighborhood,” says General Manager Seth Horowitz. “You can get a casual and quick meal or you can stay a while and make it something really grand.”
After brunch, The Culver Hotel switches over to an all-day menu, offering everything from salads and sandwiches to shareable plates and high-end entrees. During our recent visit for dinner, we started with an assortment of appetizers, including very tasty short ribs. The flatbreads, including the BBQ Chicken Flatbread, are great shareable dishes.
The cocktail program offers prohibition era drinks such as Prohibition Punch, Sloe Gin Fizz, and a tasty yet boozy Barrel Aged Peach Manhattan with Templeton Rye, Giffard Crème de Peche, Carpano Bianco, and Fernet Branca. A true favorite (although hardly a cocktail) is the Scotch on Slate—your choice of Single Malt Glenlivet 12 or masterfully blended Chivas 12 or 18 in a crystal glass with a handcrafted ice sphere on a slate pallet. Obviously we went with the Chivas 18! The presentation is really first rate, as is the drink.
Other cocktails include their Phony Negroni, with Ketle One, instead of gin, and Carpano Antica instead of Campari. Personally, I prefer the original; there’s just no need for this reinvention.
The Dutch Mule is refreshing, while the Ward Eight with Bulleit Bourbon is commendable. I enjoyed the Boulevardier with Bulleit Rye, Campari, Carpano Antica, stirred in a martini glass.
Looking for hearty entrees, you can’t go wrong with the stellar pan roasted Chilean Sea Bass, a favorite of mine, served with seasonal vegetables, spicy broth, and charred kale. Likewise, the Rosemary Rack of Lamb with whipped roasted garlic mashed potatoes, haricot vert, maraschino and port reduction is a solid dish. Pair either of these with a nice glass of wine and your palate will be doing backflips.
And don’t forget about the house made desserts—a Chef specialty. The Affogato, vanilla gelato “drowned” in espresso with a garnish of chocolate-covered coffee beans, is killer, as is the Chocolate Bliss, a molten dark-chocolate cake topped with caramel and dark chocolate, seasonal berries and gelato.
The Culver Hotel also sports its recently renovated upstairs Velvet Lounge—a tiny speakeasy space that screams relax and drink—think Prohibition meets Paris. Unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of its limited signature cocktails, most of which were too sweet for my liking so we opted to go back down to the Grand Lobby and enjoy the full cocktail menu in the more energetic ground floor bar.
While Culver City may seem like sleepy suburbia, there’s a lot going on at The Culver Hotel, from its swanky setting to adventurous fare and drinks. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to The Culver Hotel we go.
The Culver Hotel is located at 9400 Culver Boulevard in Culver City. Call 310-558-9400.
Photography Courtesy of: The Culver Hotel
Story by Jose Martinez