Komodo Hot Chicken (Food of the Week) [CLOSED]

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Chicken Wings Los Angeles

Komodo chef Erwin Tjahyadi combines hot chicken with his fierce Indonesian heritage.

I went to college at Vanderbilt, and one of Nashville’s dishes I miss most is definitely hot chicken, an incendiary bird cooked in a cast iron skillet, coated in eye-popping quantities of cayenne, and plated with white bread and pickles. Chefs are visiting Nashville hot chicken houses like Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Hattie B’s in droves and paying homage to the dish. In L.A., I’ve experienced versions at spots around the city, including Komodo.

Komodo chef Erwin Tjahyadi created a happy hour menu for Venice, which runs weekdays from 4-7 pm, after visiting cities like Maui, Las Vegas and Nashville. He fell for Hattie B’s, but instead of recreating their dish verbatim, Tjahyadi filtered hot chicken through an Asian prism and opted for a deep fryer. After all, Komodo is an Asian restaurant, and Angelenos probably won’t wait 40 minutes for chicken to fry in cast iron. Komodo’s Hot Chicken ($8) doesn’t set my mind racing back to Nashville, but these still may be L.A.’s best chicken wings.

Tjahyadi marinades the wings in peanut oil, rice wine, soy sauce and “secrets.” The wings luxuriate in the fridge for a day, allowing flavors to coalesce, before he batters them in potato starch and flour. After frying, Tjahyadi tosses the wings in sweated garlic and onion, Komodo Dragon Sauce, minced garlic, oil, butter, onions and chile flakes. I also spotted some bay leaves. The results are absolutely lip-smacking, with chicken rich meat that tasted confit, crisp coats and the obligatory white bread to soak up orange oil and give your palate relief. Not that you’ll get much. After all, Komodo is named for a fierce Indonesian dragon.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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