Ever notice that special dish or two on your favorite non-Asian restaurant’s menu that you can’t quite order at a straight ahead, traditional Asian joint? “Asian Persuasion” is a once-in-a-while segment highlighting those chefs and restaurants that don’t specialize in Asian cuisine but occasionally dabble in cooking influenced by Far Eastern foods. But please don’t say fusion. Oh, no. Instead, let’s call it an Asian Persuasion. Doesn’t that sit better on the palate? Plus it rhymes.
Spend any amount of time in British pubs in Great Britain herself and you'll realize fairly quickly that curry is the dish to get if you’re feeling peckish with your pint. Here in the U.S., however, curry is not commonly found on the menu at American gastropubs. Once in a while there is an exception.
Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City is a gastropub lauded more for its pork plates and burgers than any curry selection. And as far as curry is concerned, there is only one type available here — shrimp curry.
Ford’s shrimp curry is an Indian-style curry showcasing Madras, which is used for its spicy heat. Additional Scoville scorch comes compliments of serranos and jalapeños. These fiery ingredients are tamed down to a smooth, silky burn when blended with unsweetened coconut milk.
Plump, snappy shrimp roll around with chunky green and red bell peppers and chopped onion, each bite coated with the sweet and spicy, day-glow yellow curry. The whole concoction soaks into and smothers a mound of steamed Jasmine rice.
The topper to the entire plate is something very Ford’s Filling Station—two strips of Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon. Initially, it doesn’t seem to make sense and looks more like an afterthought, but when the smoky, chewy bacon works into the rest of the curry, Madras magic happens.
The mingling of flavors—spicy, pungent, sweet, and smoky—really awakens the palate and brings you back to the place you last had your favorite curry. For my meal companion, that place was Malaysia. A well cooked curry is truly transportive.
Ford’s Filling Station, 9531 Culver Blvd, Culver City, 310-202-1470.