Coffee Commissary, Tyler King’s steadily expanding chain with industrial design and beans from multiple roasters, has quietly built one of the best food programs of any L.A. coffeehouse. I’m referring specifically to the Burbank branch, which is located near a number of studios, has Instagram-friendly tile and a signature rooster mural. Pastry chef Naomi Shim is in the kitchen, supplying delectable baked goods to all four Coffee Commissary locations. Todd Merkel has also built out the savory menu to complement Free Range LA chef Jesse Furman’s fried chicken and biscuit creations. Sandwiches, burritos, salads and more all co-star, including an untraditional, but still highly effective Banh Mi.
Banh Mi ($10) features twin slabs of thin, meaty pork belly, which Merkel rubs with brown sugar and spices, braises in mirin and soy sauce, and blisters a la plancha to order, forming a winning sear. Crunchy complements include radishes, jalapenos, cucumbers, and pickles. Cilantro and aioli add richness and pungency to toasted ciabatta. This is a seriously rich sandwich, especially when paired with house-made potato chips. Order it anyway. Just split the banh mi with a friend, along with one of the other tempting dishes.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.