Komodo, an Asian fusion restaurant from chef Erwin Tjahyadi and business minded brother Eric, has earned a loyal following in Beverlywood and Venice. I’m always happy to eat their mochiko fried chicken, gambas al ajillo, and kimchi nachos, but Bone Kettle appeals to me even more because the food has clearer ties to their Indonesian heritage.
Erwin Tjahyadi was inspired by a 2016 trip to Java and Malaysia, fueling Bone Kettle’s recent arrival in Old Pasadena. The modern space features an airy bar, clean wood lines, and Cleon Peterson’s vivid mural of a bygone battle. That energy extends to the plate, where the menu revolves around broth & noodles, share-friendly meats and Southeast Asian small plates.
My favorite plate featured oxtail dumplings ($11) with thin skins and juicy shredded beef fillings from sous chef Alan Chang. He grew up in the San Gabriel Valley enjoying steamed ground beef dumplings dipped simply in soy sauce and vinegar. At Bone Kettle, he wanted to honor his childhood while referencing an important, but underappreciated ingredient in the restaurant’s broth: oxtail. A quintet of savory dumplings rest in a shallow pool of san bai su sauce that stars a tangy plum wine reduction. Sesame seeds, scallion threads, and chile oil bring texture and spice. Eric Tjahyadi called the dish “something familiar with unexpected substitutions that elevate,” a description that could apply to Bone Kettle in total.
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