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AR Cucina

9531 Culver Blvd. (Cardiff Ave.) Send to Phone
Chef Akasha Richmond transformed her culinary memories of Italy into reality with these tasty, homey dishes. • Buy Akasha Richmond's book Hollywood Dish: More Than 150 Delicious, Healthy Recipes from Hollywood's Chef to the Stars

Lunch Tues.-Fri., Dinner Tues.-Sun., Brunch Sun.

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AR Cucina, Culver City, CA

AR Cucina Restaurant Review

About the restaurant: Chef Akasha Richmond’s love for Italy is obvious here at AR Cucina. The story goes that her first husband was from Italy, so of course she visited the family with him. But when doing so, she was not playing tourist but acting as what she is: a chef. Her sojourns there were spent in the kitchens, the farms and the fields, right where it all starts.

Décor: Lucky for Richmond, one of her partners is an interior designer. Ruth Black hand-painted the mural that gives depth to the space, and got the idea of doing a collage of Richmond’s printed souvenirs from Italy on part of the walls. Kudos to the chairs (Starck) and the colorful chandelier.

Likes: Reasonable prices and tasty, homey dishes like lasagna verde.
Dislikes: Atmosphere can be noisy and dark.

Food: At this Culver City restaurant, Richmond has now transformed all her culinary memories into reality with these tasty, homey dishes. If she also likes to qualify them as “rustic,” they are on the high end of rusticity. After trying a large number of the dinner offerings, we can tell you that none will disappoint, and some will probably make you want to come back, such as the lasagna verde (spinach pasta, short rib and mushroom ragù). As one would expect, the pastas (aside from the gluten-free option) are all made in house, but so are many of the add-ons that appear on the plate. Components like mostarda and red onion jam are produced in the open kitchen, in which you can see the Beech stone hearth oven. We also got to try the fritto misto (Richmond uses rice flour for the batter of the fried squid to make it lighter); grilled octopus; and bucatini all' Amatriciana ($1 of each sold goes to the earthquake fund for its namesake city). Secondi might range from grilled trout to steak tagliata to pork chop stuffed with fontina and prosciutto. Sweet endings include tiramisu and seasonal tarts, such as the apple tart we enjoyed with Sicilian salty caramel ice cream. AR Cucina also offers an Italian take on Sunday brunch with dishes like porchetta hash, as well as lunch Tues.-Fri. and happy hour at the bar (Tues.-Sun., 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 p.m.-1 a.m.). To add to your good time, prices are very reasonable.

Drinks: There is quite an extensive bar program, including Negronis prepared with Italian spirits, fortified wines and herbs. Wines are sourced from small producers in Italy; some are biodynamic and organically farmed. On "Wine Tuesdays," bottles of wine are half price.

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