It's hard to remember when Culver City just housed Sony Studios. Now there's a thriving downtown area with bars and restaurants popping up every time you sneeze. Unfortunately there's a lot of sneezing and turnover lately.
One of the latest outposts to hit downtown Culver City is The Wallace, a California farm-to-table restaurant. Oh yes, we've heard this concept before, but we also know that everyone handles it differently, though a lot of familiar suspects were here.
Communal dining, check. Small plates, check. Exposed light fixtures — yup. Like any good restaurant worth their CA weight, The Wallace has a craft cocktail menu, but unlike many, they actually have vodka on the list. Vodka is a friend of mine, but the craft culture doesn't seem to embrace it as much as I do. Here though, the Dream Catcher puts vodka center stage, along with yellow chartreuse, lime and ginger, giving it a nice punch without it being overly sweet.
The menu is divided into sections, and I will say that there was a little more focus on vegetables at The Wallace with nearly a dozen stand-alone vegetable dishes. It was somewhat refreshing not to see some of the standards like brussels sprouts and kale in the line up in place of some new and different combinations. The Indian eggplant was actually one of my favorite plates of the evening, with cilantro infused quinoa, pine nuts and a curry yogurt — slightly sweet, warm, and quite satisfying.
They do have a "jarred" section and since putting great food in pretty little jars is a favorite French pastime of mine, I am a fan. They had duck rillettes in one such jar, another French fav. The addition of goat cheese, spiced fig, and whole grain mustard was truly the icing on the cake of this lovely starter.
From the "cured" section, we strayed from the typical cheese and meat selections, and went for the recommended salmon belly. Thin slices of salmon were beautifully arranged under a bright array of green cucumber, ruby red beets and crisp, dark pumpernickel. Beautiful and delicious.
Our selection from the "sea" included roasted scallops on a bed of lime green English peas, grilled leeks, sea beans and prosciutto. The peas brought a grassy note to the savory beans and sweet scallops.
Being sure not to miss the "land" section, the short rib ravioli fit the bill with homemade, al dente cooked pasta in a light and tangy sauce with braised greens and a Parmesan butter, vincotto wine sauce. I wish there was a little more filling for a stronger meatier taste with all the other components, but still a nice dish.
After venturing through all sections of the menu, we ran out of steam to hit the desserts, so assuming the Wallace stays around long enough, we'll be back.
For more reviews of Los Angeles restaurants and food related events, visit author, Kelly Page’s culinary blog, Tasting Page.