There is a real upsurge in the west side of Culver City. I have done some delectable tastings in the quaint neighborhood and The Corner Door is right up there with the best of them!
The Corner Door has been open for three years now, but it was viewed more as a bar than restaurant. However, thanks to the new chef, Ali Kaji, a foodies delight is discovered!
Chef Ali Kaji is quite diverse—Indian by blood but a surfer by nature. He brings so much joy and passion to his work. His flavors really do reflect his curious nature, he uses many combinations that you would not ordinarily think to use. Ali feels that growing up in Los Angeles gave him access to the best food of all, with every ethnicity represented gastronomically. Before The Corner Door, Ali worked at Palihouse and neighboring restaurant, Water Lou City, which has since closed it doors.
Chef Ali’s parents are Indian but not from India; they were born in East Africa, via Uganda and Tanzania. When they moved to America, they vowed to learn all things American; including what their children were exposed to. Ali was introduced to many different cultures and foods; both of which he infuses into The Corner Door’s diverse menu. Ali was only 10 months old when he first started watching and learning about cooking. Ali says that his grandmother, Aurabai, taught him everything he knows about cooking. He still doesn’t know how old his grandmother is, but claims, “she is somewhere between 89 and 96,” but is still alive and cooking! The other cook in Ali’s family, surprisingly, was his father and not his mother. Ali got real serious about cooking when he was in high school and remembers cooking in the kitchen at his prom, not out dancing and partying with his fellow peers.
The west side of Culver City was always filled with Japanese restaurants; Chef Ali doesn’t adhere to only Japanese recipes. His food is global. He believes his food is simple, honest, and good tasting. At his young age of 32, he is quite serious about his work. Ali drinks very minimally and only when he is away from work. While Ali is an extremely hard worker, he doesn’t want to be a celebrity chef. With handsome Ali, what you see is what you get!
Here’s What I Tried:
Oysters, market selection, mignonette, Grass Bar, crystal coves. Delicious, fresh taste with nice mellow flavor, sure to be a nice starter!
Malaysian Cauliflower with coconut, cashews, golden currants. What a fantastic, flavorful dish! You never even think about missing meat with this dish.
Hamachi Tartare with olive oil, lime, papaya, serrano peppers. The Yellowtail is cubed with the utmost divine freshness.
Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Mousse with sweet potato marmalade, pickles, and bread on the side. Just try this, I dare you, it is an absolute show stopper!
French Fries “Carbonade” with beer braised beef, slow roast garlic aioli, and farmhouse cheese. This is so rich, you will need to eat it with 10 people!
Corn Gnocchi with brown butter, porcini mushrooms, smoked almond and heirloom tomatoes. It’s kind of like tamale meets pasta, quite interesting and delicious.
Lobster and Shrimp Bolognese with squid ink capellini and San Marzano tomatoes. The squid ink pasta is plump, cooked al dente, and the seafood adds just the right amount of richness. This dish is a huge success!
Pineapple Vacherin with rye whiskey, vanilla, cinnamon, Greek yogurt and black sesame. Very good choice if you want something light and sweet to finish off your remarkable dinner.
Topless Mermaid, (Shaken) Vodka, pineapple, banana, rose, blue curacao, lime. This cocktail is light, juicy, and tropical, and goes down very easy.
Jesse Pink Gin—Gin, angostura bitters, coconut liqueur, orgeat, lime. Tart, aromatic tiki notes, I am not a big gin drinker but this cocktail hit the spot.
Mezcallin—Mescal, lemon, ginger, pineapple gomme. Smoky, tart, ginger spice, but honestly this drink was not for me.
Rioja Blanco, Solar De Estraunza, 2013, Roja, Spain. Sparkly, fresh, a great wine to go with the oysters.
Blanc Josh Cellars, 2012, Sonoma County, California. This wine has peach nuances and is very light and fluffy, went great with the Hamachi.
Chardonnay, Heron, 2012, California. Very buttery, went great with the chicken liver and foie gras mousse.
Pinot Noir, Martin Ray Russian River, 2013, Sonoma, California. I really liked this wine with the Lobster and Shrimp Bolognese; it works very well with the tomato sauce.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Smith, 2012, Columbia Valley, WA. I would do this wine with the French Fries “Carbonade”; it hits all the right notes.
The Corner Door has an industrial sort of warehouse feel with a huge brick walls and big, smoky light fixtures, yet it has a lovely, inviting atmosphere. You could be somewhere in SoHo, Manhattan instead of Culver City. There is fantastic food to go with it all, what I call a great find!
The Corner Door is a neighborhood spot, but strangely enough people are flocking from all over, especially Hollywood! The night I was there, girls were having a night out, dates were taking place, and locals enjoying their evening with great wine and good company. They played ambient music, with an emphasis on dance, pop, and electronic, quite eclectic, just like the menu! Culver City’s neighborhoods are so hot right now; everyone in Los Angeles is getting in their cars and taking these new restaurants for a spin!
The Corner Door only seats 60, even with its patio, so intimate dining has just reached a new level. Don’t tell Chef Ali it’s a fine dining restaurant, he just wants it to be a casual spot with delicious, consistent grub.
The Corner Door
12477 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA. 90066