Good Good Culture Club is brought to you by the folks that just took Liholiho Yacht Club away from us, but thankfully, we can now forgive them. Where Liholiho served up a mélange of Hawaiian/Californian fare, sprung from chef/owner Ravi Kapur’s own culinary lineage, Good Good Culture Club brings us the full Asian diaspora: Notes of Filipino, Laotian, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indian, etc., are found in Chef Kapur’s newest endeavor. There’s something for everyone.
Chef Kapur has brought along Chefs Kevin Keovanpheng and Brett Shaw to help create and synthesize yet another original and eclectic menu. The bright and sunny décor of the restaurant itself hasn’t changed much at all; indeed, they opened Good Good so close on the heels of Liholiho, there would have scarcely been time for the new paint to dry.
Intrepid Mission Local Editor Lydia Chávez and I sat outside on the lovely rooftop patio recently and started with cocktails. We then proceeded to over-order, just so we could report on as much food as possible for you, our dear readers. Givers; that’s what we are.
We started out with the addictive house-made sinigang-flavored spiced chips (sinigang: a Filipino sour soup) and a spicy cashew dip:
We then moved on to the poppyseed steamed bun with smoky beef belly, oyster sauce rub, curry aioli and watermelon radish:
Just as with the Liholiho bun I had last time, this was one of my favorite bites of the evening. The smokiness of the meltingly tender beef is just killer, offset by the fresh bites of watermelon radish. Once again, I selflessly shared one instead of cramming the whole thing into my mouth. A giver.
Next, a local halibut crudo: Super fresh, and a tad spicy.
I found this a sprightly dish, with its kombo cure, radish, salsa macha, ponzu and serranos, but my dining companion thought it a little flat. It went well with the chips, and I could not stop myself from shoveling down every last morsel. You try it and decide!
We also got the stuffed chicken wings:
These were hearty as all get-out, fried crispy and stuffed with gloriously garlicky sticky rice, with a nicely sweet/tangy adobo glaze. One of the editor’s favorites. They’re a bit pricey, but they’re also incredibly filling. Yet, we soldiered on.
Next came decadent-yet-homey, crispy rice balls with an achiote-miso glaze, so crunchy on the outside I feared I’d break a tooth, but the seemingly impenetrable exterior gave way to a creamy center.
With salted black sesame and a sweetly gelatinous caramelized plantain, it was a dish that definitely grew on us.
Whole petrale sole followed:
As with Liholoho’s whole fish, this was a standout, this time in a coconut/turmeric brine that perfumed every bite. This kitchen sure knows how to fry. We tasted not an ounce of grease, even after it had sat for a while as we picked at it like lethargic vultures finally reaching satiation.
But still, we went on! Beef short ribs with a pho glaze and pickled red onions came next:
I loved the fatty meatiness, the pure smoky beefiness of these, but Ms. Chávez was not quite as enamored as I. They were, perhaps, I’d admit, just a tad dry. By that time we were fairly well-stuffed, and she took the rest home to hubby.
And for a touch of veg, just to say we did, a small side dish of brussels sprouts kimchi.
This was probably my least favorite dish, though I adore kimchi. It was tangy but had no real funk to it. Maybe just too fresh.
But wait, there’s more.
Dessert! Pastry Chef Kristina Garbett‘s pandan bibingka, a Filipino, coconutty rice flour cake wrapped in pandan leaves, topped with pungent gouda and a miso creme anglaise. The delicate, creamy texture, the umami of the cheese and miso overlaying the slight sweetness – truly a wow of a finish, even though I ended up taking most of it home to the BF. Quite possibly my second favorite bite of the evening.
The menu has many more intriguing items to try, such as the beef carpaccio with crispy pig ear, crying tiger shrimp, broccoli di ciccio with a smoked egg yolk, pork belly, and a chicory salad. With a full bar, proprietary cocktails, aperitifs, vermouths, amaros, beer, bubbles and wine, the latter available in small carafes, too, Good Good Culture Club promises to be a party.
One thing to know about ordering food here, it’s all done through QR codes, and for some of us old folks, that can be a little disconcerting. But I get that they’re trying to reduce contact and improve efficiency. Just be sure to listen to your server’s instructions, and space your dishes out instead of ordering them all at once as we did, only to end up having to ask the kitchen to slow it way down as an onslaught of delicious food invades your table-top.
Good Good Culture Club isn’t just modern in its use of technology. It’s also progressive in its stated goals of diversity, equity and inclusivity. They’ve thrown out the old model of tipping, charging instead a 20 percent equity fee so that all employees share in the largesse. There seems to be a thoughtfulness here that goes above and beyond the delicious food on your plate.
Get your reservations in now. This place is going to be crazy busy.
Good Good Culture Club
3560 18th St.