The Corner Door, which has become a Culver City food and drink mainstay, has gone through its fair share of chefs, with varying success. The latest to helm the kitchen, Executive Chef Brendan Collins and Chef de Cuisine Ali Haji, bring a new dinner menu that has something for everyone.
Collins, who is also heading up the kitchen at Birch and previously worked at Waterloo & City, Melisse, Anisette and Palihouse, brought on Haji, who has worked with Collins for the last eight years, to create a diverse menu that reflects his upbringing in Southern California by Indian parents who were raised in Africa. Talk about the proverbial melting pot!
While not every dish I tried worked for me, many did, and others pleasantly surprised me.
Where the hamachi tartare and fried chicken underwhelmed, the avocado toast and Malaysian cauliflower wowed. I wasn’t even going to order the avocado toast, but my server convinced me otherwise, and I’m glad he did. What makes this version so good is the addition of burrata, which takes this new menu staple up a notch. And the cauliflower, which comes coated in a light coconut curry-like sauce, is hearty and comforting.
Another great option? The chicken liver and foie gras mousse (yes, both!) served with sweet potato puree in place of the more traditional quince. I don’t even like sweet potatoes, but this combination worked so well. Another welcome surprise.
The one dish that divided my dining companion and me was the French Fries Carbonade, a take on poutine with beer-braised beef, slow roasted garlic aioli and farm house cheese on top of fries. She liked it; I thought it was overwhelming. It might work for me after many, many drinks, though.
As for the larger plates, the lobster and shrimp bolognese with squid ink capellini is a solid choice, and for dessert, the sticky toffee pudding is ultimately satisfying.
Where The Corner Door’s food has changed a lot over the years, its head barman Beau du Bois has been with the restaurant from day one serving up consistently great cocktails.
Until July 7, when du Bois plans on launching a new cocktail menu, you’ll be able to get the Topless Mermaid, a pretty tiki drink with vodka, pineapple, banana rose, blue curacao and lime, and the uber spicy Three Way with jalapeno-infused tequila, raspberry and tamarind cordial, egg white and lime. These are on the lighter side, though the Three Way is so spicy I couldn’t drink more than a sip or two (granted, I have a low threshold for spice). If I had to pick a spicy drink here, I’d go with the old stand by Miner Incident, with bourbon, apricot liqueur, lemon and habanero honey.
Another drink leaving the current menu in a little over a week is the Death Row Cocktail with Barbados rum, Black Strap rum, kaffir and coconut-infused Campari, sweet vermouth and Aztec chocolate bitters. If you like dark, stirred drinks, get yourself over to The Corner Door ASAP for this one. It’s what du Bois himself would drink if he had one last sip left on this earth. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
For a really solid drink, choose the barrel-aged old fashioned. Yes, it’s $15, but it’s worth every penny. Sip it, savor it. You can’t go wrong.
For the new cocktail list launching July 7, du Bois plans to add a roasted peanut-infused bourbon mint julep, which I am very excited for. Du Bois also has a not-so-secret second menu for serious cocktail drinkers, to which he’ll be adding a picon punch and barrel-aged martini.
And if you find yourself here on a Sunday night, you can take advantage of The Corner Door’s R&D Burger Night when Haji prepares test burgers served with fries and a beer for $15. As a bonus, you can also snag a traditional old fashioned cocktail (not the special barrel-aged, unfortunately) for just $5.
Note: This meal was hosted.