THE CORNER DOOR
CULVER CITY GEMS SETS THE BAR HIGH
For three years now, The Corner Door has been a great go-to place for drinks in Culver City, but now the cuisine and cocktails are breaking new ground and are equally crowd-pleasing.
With renowned Bar Manager Beau du Bois crafting creative and mouthwatering cocktails and the new team of Executive Chef Brendan Collins and Chef de Cuisine Ali Haji taking over the kitchen (the two have worked together for the last eight years), the result is a neighborhood gem that pleases for drinks and dining, no matter what you’re in the mood for.
“I always try to explore and break the boundaries of cocktail culture,” says du Bois. “With a great team in the kitchen and an innovative new dining menu, I am excited to be able to push these boundaries a bit further.”
The Corner Door’s new menu partially reflects Haji’s view of Southern California cuisine. The son of Indian parents, Haji was born and raised in Africa and grew up in the South Bay. “At The Corner Door, the menu pulls from what I consider the culture of LA — everything from Asian to Mexican to Middle Eastern to French.”
During our recent visit for dinner and drinks, I let bar guru Beau du Bois pick my first drink and he went off menu and served me the classic Martinez—a great choice as it’s my namesake and one of my favorite cocktails.
Against my better judgment, we also ordered the Vodka Fix, billed as bright, juicy and sour. It replaced the Topless Mermaid one the menu, a sickeningly sweet drink that I called diabetes in a glass, this was no better.
Look over the food menu and you’ll see that it is broken down into three categories: Snacks, Plates and Sweets. “At the end of the day, half of The Corner Door is a bar,” Haji says. “We are trying to make food that is different but familiar at the same time. A foodie could come in and find something really interesting, but a guy looking for just a shot and a beer could get his head around the menu as well.”
We started with an order of the Malaysian Cauliflower prepared with coconuts, cashews and golden currants. Your palette will be bombarded with so many wonderful flavors, including all the curry goodness. Two other great starter dishes include the Avocado Toast with burrata, radish, arugula, olive oil and sea salt. This one is really pleasing, as is the Collin’s signature Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Mousse with sweet potato marmalade, pickles and bread.
Looking for two other cocktails to get you going, the Moscow Mule on tap with vodka, lime, and house made ginger beer is tart and ginger-forward, which I’m not always a fan of but it is refreshing and a great summer drink. The stiffer Barrel-aged Old Fashioned is made with Four Roses bourbon, which I don’t care of so unfortunately I didn’t care for this drink either. It is boozy and I liked the toasted woodnotes but I just couldn’t get past a bourbon taste I’m not fond of.
If you’re looking for a good, stiff drink, I like the Taco Truck with mezcal, pineapple and cinnamon-infused Campari and sweet vermouth. It’s pretty mind blowing! All I can say is holy mole! Bummer they replaced the wonderful Death Row Cocktail as that one was damn good and probably my favorite of the drinks on the cocktail menu.
If you’re looking for heartier dishes, head over to the Plates section and start with the Potato Gnocchi made with English peas, asparagus, porcini mushrooms topped with a slow poached egg. We argued over this one but I really liked it. It is filling and very satisfying. A real no-brainer is the Lobster and Shrimp Bolognese with squid ink capellini and San Marzano tomato. You can’t go wrong with this dazzling dish.
Burger fans should try the 8-oz Dry Aged Burger with Hooks two-year cheddar, arugula, spicy aioli, and served with hand cut fries. Damn!
If you’re nice to Beau du Bois he may fill you in on their “Other List” of drinks, which include the OG Sazerac with Pieree Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Herbsaint, Peychaud’s Bitters, and sugar, as well as the Daiquiri (Preferred) with El Dorado 12-year rum, lime, sugar, and grapefruit oil. These are wonderful classics that are just spot-on.
For us, there was no better way to finish the night than with the British staple Sticky Toffee Pudding glazed with toffee caramel sauce and served with vanilla ice cream—decadent yet delightful.
And don’t forget The Corner Door’s Happy Hour, which is offered every day from 5pm to 7pm. Late night happy hour is also available every night—Sunday through Thursday from 10pm to 11pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11pm to midnight. The trio of sliders is a steal at just $7 as is the Avocado Toast for $6.
I love the marriage between great drinks and fare, at The Corner Door. “The food stands up to the drinks,” says Beau du Bois. “Ali and I talk every day about what we are working on. Brendan’s approach to cooking and The Corner Door’s reputation for cocktails are a good match - complex flavors with notes of comfort and innovation.”
With a world-class bartender behind the bar and a renowned pair of Chefs running the kitchen, The Corner Door is a friendly neighborhood hot spot with sublime cocktails and a new dining menu meant to be rediscovered.
The Corner Door is located at 12477 W. Washington Blvd in Culver City. Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 5pm to 12am, and from 5pm to 2am on Friday and Saturday. Call 310-313-5810.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography By: Acuna Hansen