In an area of Culver City as thick with bar food as perhaps any neighborhood in the state, a friend of mine, with whom I have enjoyed giant plates of poutine in Canada and screaming slabs of porchetta in Umbria, still thinks of Beacon as basically a delivery system for its cheeseburger. He knows about the miso-braised shortribs and grilled shisito peppers, and he has heard great things about the grilled-chicken skewers with the shiso and ume
. He has seen me tuck into the famed albacore BLT at lunchtime, and to be fair he does usually have his share of the black edamame, the Tokyo-style avocado salad and the sticky chicken wings that make their way to the table. Fitted into an old commercial laundry in the Helms Bakery complex, Beacon was the first major restaurant of the new Culver City renaissance and the triumphant return to form of Kazuto Matsusaka, who was chef for almost a decade at Wolfgang Puck's Chinois in the '80s. The hanger steak with wasabi relish is so successful that you might wonder why it took so long for somebody to come up with the combination. But there he is, my friend Robert, focused like a laser on his medium-rare lunchtime cheeseburger, all hopped up on drippy meat, apple-smoked bacon and sweet soy glaze. On good days, he will have asked for an extra napkin. See full review.