Serving Hawaiian fare to Culver City since 1976, Rutt’s Cafe is a fixture on Washington Blvd. crowded with locals and long-term love. Every time I take someone who has never been before, they are delighted with the food, and astounded at the price. Something so good, and so inexpensive is also just about unique.
If you are looking for breakfast, almost anything you order here will have you feeling fed all day. Seven pages of menu offer breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, breakfast bowls and even the standard eggs-and-toast kinda breakfast along with fluffy made-from-scratch pancakes and some seriously sweet Hawaiian French Toast.
Then there’s the Rutt’s Cafe specialties that make this place the landmark that it is; royales, those open-faced omelettes served with rice and teriyaki sauce, topped with fresh, crisp bean sprouts. I keep going back to the well-nigh-perfect Kalua pork, even though part of my mind thinks that Portugese sausage or Char Sui would probably be just as great. There isn’t anyplace else around here that’s going to serve me Kalua pork, and it’s such a deliciously decadent indulgence; just one more time.
The wait staff wear shirts asking “What is a Spam Musubi? ” and if you have to ask, this is a darn good place to find out. Also know as spam sushi, it’s fried spam, settled on white rice, sprinkled with furikake and then topped with more rice and rolled in nori. In Hawaii, it’s the kind of everyday munch found at any neighborhood gathering, halfway across the Pacific from onigiri and the other half away from tacos. There’s the LA translation- onigiri taco.
Rutts is a very island kind of cafe, going on atmosphere alone. People are laid-back, the fans are rolling as the staff pours hot coffee and iced tea. Conversations are filled with easy laughter, and no one seems to be wearing a tie. Only the teenagers have their phones out, asking their friends “Where are you? We’re already here.”
If you’re in need of dessert (oh, go ahead, you are indulging) the kintoke shaved ice is as Hawaiian as it gets- adzuki beans, evaporated milk, and condensed milk, or the malalo shaved ice, which comes in the kind of flavors that leave outrageous colors on your tongue – strawberry, mango, fruit punch. You can even add in some ice cream.
Just top make it even easier, Rutts has gone tech and created a website where you can order online with your desktop, laptop or smartphone. (http://www.Ruttshawaiiancafe.com)
So, if Hawaii is not on your itinerary this summer, a meal at Rutts could go a long way towards satisfying the urge. Click in and you could have a hot royale, a spam musubi or some first class shave ice waiting for you as you walk in under the palm fronds on Washington Blvd.
12114 Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90232.