Friday, April 23, 2010


I was recently invited to a free private dinner by Libra, a new Brazilian by-the-pound spot in Culver City opened by Marcelo Ahn, owner of Brazilian Churrascaria M-Grill. With a 90% vegetarian salad bar and grilled meat options, Libra's got something for everyone, which is a draw for friends and family whose dietary differences may run the gamut.

At the beginning of the bar, there is a hand-washing station. Unusual, yes, but I like the idea. I fancy the design as well, which could be said of the entire restaurant, which is white and minimalist.

Libra handwashing station

Out of the many salads and sides, these photos turned out the best, but trust me - they've got a lot of stuff (including pasta items and meatballs!).

Libra salads
Snow pea salad was a must for me as I cannot resist the green pods. A good option to balance out the less virtuous (but tasty) items like caramelized plantains and cheese bread. Also pictured: the smoked salmon and pea salad, which I did not try.

Libra pickled items
Pickled stuff. I had the cornichons, of course, and eggplant.

After you load up on the bar, if you want meat, you give your order to the cooks.

Libra grill
The grill. With the meat.

Libra my plate
I chose the picanha (top sirloin cap) and linguica (Brazilian sausage). The beef was fine, but the linguica was very good.

Libra sauces
By the grill station, there are sauces available. I got chimichurri and some type of "vinaigrette" (I believe that's what was on the label).

Pricing is a little high: the bar only is $9/lb and the bar with grilled meat items is $11/lb (my plate above weighed 1.01 lbs). I imagine the prices are due to the location and the quality of the ingredients (the restaurant makes all dishes from scratch with no processed items). But, if you're looking to eat a casual meal in this part of Culver City, you're going to spend a bit of dough unless you go to Chipotle. The setup is cafeteria style, so no table service, but the interior seems to be kept very clean with staff members clearing tables and refilling water (at least the night I went).

The food is better than the "bang for your buck" level as the restaurant boasts a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef (who is Ahn's sister). I liked Libra enough that I would eat there again, but probably for a lighter meal. Funny enough, vegetarians may have a rollicking good time here, maybe even more than omnivores.

3833 Main Street
Culver City, CA 90232

*Park in the Cardiff Center garage (at Cardiff and Culver), which is 2 hours free. I always park here when going to this area.


bagnatic said...

culver city sure has spiffed up a lot the last time i lived there as a poor undergrad. i don't know what to think about upscalish cafeteria style eateries...i can't knock down the image of a glorified soup plantation.

burumun said...

I was invited to this too but could not make it, so thanks for the report!
$11/lb can be worth it if you load up only on meat? :p Tho the salads looked pretty good too.

weezermonkey said...

Every place should have a hand-washing station! This place looks neat.

Now how do I get invited to stuff? Hmph. ;P

Marie said...

Bagnatic: Culver City has multiplied a little out of control, but good for us hungry folks! And girl, I do go to Souplantation from time to time. :)

Burumun: I've been battling red meat cravings lately, so am considering going back very soon. Wish you could've been there!

Weezermonkey: Ha! And yes, hand-washing stations are great.