ASIAN TAPAS BAR IS A CULVER CITY CATCH
More and more, Culver City is really starting to become a go-to neighborhood in town. It used to be that all the action was on Culver Boulevard adjacent to Sony Studios, but over the last few years, Washington Boulevard has really stepped up its game.
First it was a trendy restaurant and bar, then galleries followed, as did cheese, chocolate, and wine shops. Now it’s forward thinking restaurants and handcrafted cocktail bars. Culver City has come a long way and now rivals the west side for the place to be for your culinary and libation fix.
Most recently, FIN on Washington Boulevard revamped its menu and the result is first rate options for sushi and Asian tapas. The powers that be like to say, imagine a sushi bar that has been turned upside down and merged with the culinary styles of French, American and Latin cooking.
During our recent visit for dinner, I was taken by its charming setting. There’s dark wood everywhere—in the main bar area and the adjacent dining room in back. The only thing that unfortunately didn’t impress was the cocktails, which weren’t well balanced and too sweet. Here’s a sage piece of advice—pair sake with dinner and then discover the nearby hidden Alley Lounge (they’ll point you in the right direction) for some serious cocktails.
But because I love to start with a drink, I ordered the Drunken Sumo with tequila, jalapeño, lime juice and agave – think spicy margarita. All spice and no flavor, I sent this one back. Unfortunately the Washington Blvd with Bulleit Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro and a dash of bitters wasn’t any better. It was too sweet for me. The Basile Night with Plymouth Gin, Elderflower liqueur, lime juice and muddled basic was the lone drink I didn’t hate. It was nice and refreshing, but thank God for sake, which paired well with everything we ordered.
FIN’s menu is divided into different sections, from Cold Dishes, Hot Dishes from the Sea, Hot Dishes from the Land, Rolls, and Side Dishes and Salads. We started with the Seared albacore topped with a crispy red onion float. It was very nice. Likewise, we were big fans of the signature Fin Roll. Oh yeah! And again, sake just pairs perfect. They have my absolute favorite Demon Slayer sake, but if you don’t want to break the bank, they also offer solid sakes by the glass, which is actually the way we went at dinner.
Other great dishes to share include the Citrus Salmon Sashimi Truffle, think thinly sliced wild Alaskan salmon topped with shaved black truffles and drizzled with a citrus truffle soy dressing, and the Lightly Seared Beef Carpaccio with Japanese Vinaigrettedelicately seared with a light flame, drizzled with chive truffle oil and topped with crispy shitake mushrooms and micro greens garnish. There were just so many terrific flavors. The shitake mushrooms could have been their own dish. Other popular dishes that I’ll have to try next time include the Jicama Fish Tacos with Asian Slaw, and the Tiger Prawn Tacos.
For our entrees, we went with the Miso Glazed Black Cod, which is steeped in sake and marinated in miso, baked and served with poached asparagus and carrots. This one is light and fresh yet extremely flavorful. A good glass of dry and clear sake only enhances the experience.
If you’re looking for a hearty dish from “the land” section, then you’ll go for the Pepper Encrusted Filet Mignon with Truffle Mash Potato and Plum Reduction Wine Sauce, whichis decadent and the truffle mash potatoes almost appear speckled from the rich shavings of black truffle generously mixed in. I just had to go red wine with this last dish.
That was our last dish until dessert, which consisted of the wildly decadent and delicious peanut butter brownie with black sesame ice cream. Now that was a way to end a meal.
“I helped open several of L.A.’s trendiest Japanese style restaurants right when Japanese cuisine really started evolving in Los Angeles, and in doing so, I fell in love with California style Japanese cuisine and the vibrant flavors you can experience while dining,” says Managing Partners Gerardo Reyes.
It’s the fine California combination of sushi, Asian and other influences that drives FIN and creates a menu that is exciting, fresh and vibrant. When it comes pairing drinks with seafood, these days I’m more interested in sake than wine and that’s another element that really pushes FIN over the top, making it a go-to place to fantastic fare.
FIN is located at 12223 West Washington Blvd in Culver City. Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30am to 2pm; Dinner from 5pm to 11pm Monday through Thursday; 5pm to 11:30pm on Friday and Saturday; and 5pm to 10pm on Sunday. Call 310-398-8611
Photo Credit: Courtesy of FIN Asian Tapas Bar
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of: FIN