I pass the Culver Hotel several times a week. Sometimes several times a day. It’s on my route walking to and from the bus stop. Walking to and from the train. Walking to and from Trader Joe’s. Walking to and from the local farmers’ market.
I see people sitting outside slurping up wine or eating lunch or dinner. And I say to myself, why can’t I be one of those people?
It’s been years since I stopped in with friends for a glass of wine on a Saturday night. And I have never actually eaten there.
The Hotel Hunt, as it was originally named, opened in 1924. In the late 1930s it was home to the Munchkins while The Wizard of Oz was filmed down the street at MGM. From the 1950s to the 1990s it was allowed to deteriorate but 1997 saw new owners and a renovation. In 2007 another set of owners took over and started major renovations which were completed in 2012.
As far as I can see, they have done a good job on the exterior, sprucing up the restaurant area.
So last Saturday my friend B and I decided to have an early dinner at the hotel. We arrived about 5:45 during Happy Hour.
This was the view looking up from our table. Notice the brightly colored cornice as it was in the 1920s.
B ordered the Culver Lemonade made with Kappa Pisc, passion fruit puree and fresh lemonade. I had a sip and it was okay but I am not big on fruity drinks. I did like the glass it was served in. A jar with a handle. Very cool.
My pleasure was an Edna Valley Merlot. Give me a couple of glasses of red wine and I am in heaven.
I had told B that I wanted to take photos of the food as I am so bad at remembering to do that and I wanted to practice my food photography skills. So we ordered the tempura green beans as a starter, and of course, we demolished them before I remembered I wanted to get a picture. So much for that. But they were wonderful. The beans were perfectly cooked and the tempura coating was light and crisp. Yum.
For the entree B ordered a salad. I think it was the Culver Caesar Salad with parmesan crisps, cracked pepper and grilled chicken. It was nicely presented.
I ordered the Grilled Salmon with pea pesto, Bloomsdale spinach, caramelized baby carrots and mandarin vinaigrette. Without thinking I started to disassemble my meal. B said, didn’t you want to take a photo before you eat it? Duh… that was close! I hurriedly put the mandarin slices back on top of the fish. So it looked a lot better when it arrived at the table.
I have to mention that the service was S L O W!!! B said two waiters threatened to take our order but promptly disappeared. I told B I was stealing that quote for my blog post, so thank you for putting it so eloquently. This was strange because the restaurant was anything but busy.
However, we were not in a hurry, it was a beautiful evening, and we were definitely enjoying ourselves sitting back and relaxing, watching people walking around the Town Plaza.
However, the music was uncomfortably loud at first which we mentioned to the waiter. After another customer also complained they did turn it down. Then listening to the oldies songs was quite pleasant.
This was our table looking into the hotel lobby/bar/dining area. I couldn’t decide if I liked the photo better with or without the flash so I posted both.
Most importantly, the food was delicious for a reasonable price. I would go back again for sure.
B asked me what was I doing with the glasses of water… I replied that I was having fun with my camera. I took half a dozen pictures… this is my favorite.
The best part for me about eating in downtown Culver City is I can have a couple of glasses of vino and walk home with no worries!
Please click on all the photos for a larger view.
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