AR Cucina Culver City

AR Cucina is Akasha Richmond's latest restaurant debut in Culver City, serving rustic Italian cuisine. It's a great stop before seeing a show at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

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My dad has season tickets to the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and I often get an invite to the show. We usually meet for an early dinner before the show at one of Culver City's many restaurants to catch up. Sambar had been my number one favorite restaurant in Culver City, but evidently others' didn't agree since it recently closed. Luckily's Sambar's chef Akasha Richmond didn't go away, she just flipped Sambar into the Italian leaning AR Cucina.

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It appears Culver City or the Angelenos who come there, don't have a palate for unique Indian fare. So Richmond went for a more mainstream Italian restaurant with the opening of AR Cucina. The inside looks exactly the same. There's still a few bars with one overlooking a wood fired oven where many of the dishes are made. Akasha does offer gluten free bread like they did at Sambar.

There's a large antipasti section with Italian meats and cheeses, but my dad was open to a gluten free, dairy free starter of grilled octopus. There was a creamy chickpea puree with escarole, lemon and olive oil that could make a delicious side on its own.

My dad got his gluten fill in with the orecchiete with fennel pork sausage, braised escarole and ricotta salata. The sausage was well seasoned and delicious. AR Cucina does also offer gluten free pasta for an addition $2. All pastas are priced under $20, so it's a good value.

There's grilled jumbo prawns, herb roasted pork shoulder and bistecca tagliata. I went with the trout that was draped in the most delicious salsa of capers, raisins, olives, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts. I thought I was going with the boring, but healthy order, but I ended up with the fabulous and happens to also be good for me order.

I always try and push my vegetables in my dad's diet, so I slipped in a side order of broccolini. The crisp greens had a nice bite with the pepper oil.

While I'm still going to miss Akasha's Sambar, she still is producing quality food at AR Cucina. The service is friendly and the prices are reasonable, making for a nice night out in Culver City.

AR Cucina
9531 Culver Boulevard, Culver City