Akasha is a wonderful restaurant serving American comfort food (and some other countries versions too) that just happens to use the finest local, organic and hand-crafted ingredients that can be found. It feels to me as if Akasha Richmond, the chef/owner, has the gift of creating amazing dishes and her own personal values insist on using only what she would want to eat—which lucky for us just happens to be organic and local products. This is no greenwashing or jumping on the newest trend but the sincere rendezvous of a love of food, and cooking as well, with a commitment to sustainability and clean, real food. I understand this completely because when I had my cafe my motto was, I would not serve anything that I would not eat, and I was committed to delicious, organic food. Akasha confided in me that her mother was into natural food and there was never junk food at home…what a fortunate, nurturing beginning. This is woman who has never had a Big Mac!
I had a wonderful time talking with Akasha, and her husband, sharing stories. We even reminisced about some vegetarian restaurants from long ago in Los Angeles that unfortunately are no longer are around. Akasha’s professional cooking life started at the Golden Temple restaurant, no longer with us but it had been a landmark vegetarian restaurant in LA. She then became one of the most popular caterers in Los Angeles, and beyond. Her client list looks like an Academy Award presenters list. Still very busy catering, lucky for us she found a wonderful location that finally inspired her to open a restaurant.
One of the really beautiful aspects to me about Akasha, the restaurant, is that it is in many ways an upscale, typical American cuisine restaurant but one where we can feel good about what we are eating. No GMO’s, no industrial farmed products and no factory farmed animals! Isn’t that in effect what we are supposed to be eating? Somehow here in America we have been led so far astray from what our bodies need and what our conscience and humanity should demand that what is now commonplace is making many Americans sick, hurting the environment, not to mention how we treat the animals that are raised for our food. Well here at Akasha this is all back on track as it should be.
Sustainability goes beyond the food as well. On the Akasha website you can read the “green-facts” about how the building was remodeled-no VOC paint, reclaimed barn wood, beeswax finishes, to name a few, the cleaning and dishwashing products-all biodegradable, uniforms-organic cotton and all of the other elements that go into creating and running a restaurant. This is a serious commitment to a sustainable business.
Now, about the food at Akasha…first I will say, there is something for everyone. While many people assume a healthy, local and organically sourced restaurant may have a limited menu this is definitely not the case at Akasha. Open for lunch, dinner and brunch on Sundays. The bakery opens at 8 am (9 on Saturdays) so you can even have breakfast at Akasha. I have often visited in the morning for coffee or tea (both organic/fair trade) and a delicious muffin or scone (they actually use organic flour, a rarity in many bakeries that claim to be organic), and I must confess I usually leave with a few other goodies to go…the pastries are delicious.
For lunch or dinner the menu offers many options from a variety of burgers to vegetarian and vegan dishes. No worry about the quality of what you will be eating…the beef and lamb are from Niman’s ranch, the fish is only from sustainable fisheries and the vegetables are local and/or organic. You can enjoy a beef or turkey burger or even lamb sliders. For something warm and comforting (Fall is approaching) the macaroni and cheese is nothing like what I grew up on–this is a 21st century mac and cheese. There is also citrus, soy glazed tofu with glass noodles, red quinoa with fresh market vegetables or Punjabi mung beans and rice served with Tandoori flatbread, chutney and raita for vegetarians and non-vegies…it will satisfy all of us. I have yet to try the pizza, already planning this for my next visit, but my guess is it is going to be great.
For dinner the menu expands even further with more choices. There are plenty of small plates to choose from as well as her now famous short-ribs (one of the most popular items at Akasha), roasted organic chicken and even meatloaf. Plus you can still have burgers or pizza and the vegetarian choices available at lunch.
There is also full bar (with a great bar menu for snacks including fish tacos, hummus, calamari and a cheese plate) and an extensive wine list with many sustainable and organic selections. Monday – Friday there is even happy hour from 4-7. There are some specialty cocktails made with organic juices, and the Aqua Frescas are wonderful-cucumber, pineapple, ginger or apple, mango, pomegranate.
Brunch is served on Sundays. So far I have not made it in for brunch and I love Sunday brunch, but I will very soon…I return to LA mid-September and definitely will be coming in.
Akasha is one of those places where you can drop in anytime and find something to suit your taste, and know that you are feeding your body something worthwhile and delicious while contributing to a more sustainable world. Located in the now, very busy Culver City…I remember years ago when there was only one Mexican restaurant in the area, what a wonderful transformation has happened and Akasha is on the leading edge of this shift.
9543 Culver Blvd (at the corner of Watseka)
Culver City 90232
Monday — Friday 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Monday — Friday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Saturday — Closed
Sunday 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Monday — Thursday 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Friday — Saturday 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sunday 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Monday — Friday 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm