Komodo: Bringing Mobile Bite to Beverlywood [CLOSED]

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Restaurant Los Angeles

The brothers behind Komodo food truck go brick and mortar on Pico's Kosher Corridor.

For most food truck operators, going mobile isn’t the end game, and that’s understandable, with countless hours on the road, in traffic, to reach short-lived points of sale. Often times, customers feel like they’re tracking a moving target, and as more trucks hit the streets, some people are giving up the hunt altogether. However, some savvy entrepreneurs are graduating to brick and mortar establishments. Komodo, an Asian café that promises “dangerously good food” in Beverlywood, is one of the leading examples.

It’s not like Eric Tjahyadi and chef/brother Erwin Tjahyadi have turned their backs on trucks. They still have one Komodo truck on the road, and the wall of their glass fronted, fast casual business features a mural of a beachfront line for their food. Komodo, named for a fierce Indonesian lizard, also houses an open kitchen, metal furniture, and a pressed tin ceiling.

Komodo built their following with tacos, burritos and rice bowls, and they’re all available in Beverlywood, plus plates that come with a choice of slightly nutty brown rice or white rice and accompanying mixed greens.

Fried Chicken Los Angeles

Mochiko Fried Chicken ($8) is one of my favorite standbys, a Hawaiian style bird marinated in a proprietary batter, fried and oven-baked, with juicy dark meat and a crusty, caramelized coating.

Asian Food Los Angeles

Komodo might not be an actual dragon, but dishes like Blazin’ Shrimp practically cause customers to breathe fire. Blazin’ Shrimp Rice Bowl ($9) starring spicy Singaporean shrimp stings lips, but sour cream and salad provide relief.

Gambas Al Ajillo Shrimp ($9.50) features plump shrimp sautéed with smoked paprika, chile powder, garlic and fresh squeezed lemon juice, resulting in residual heat.

Asian Food Los Angeles

Komodo has consistently high value seafood, which is in short supply in L.A. Ahi Tuna ($9.50) consists of peppery seared fish dressed with savory homemade ponzu.

Asian Food Los Angeles

Of course, given a menu that constantly grows, some proteins fare better than others. Miso Marinated Steak ($9) is my least favorite plate to date, with seared steak chunks marinated in intense, almost muddy miso sauce.

Asian Marinated Chicken with grilled chicken and Mandarin oranges also doesn’t generate much pop.

Every ingredient on the planet seems to be grist for tacos and burritos in Los Angeles, whether they meld well with tortillas or not.

Burrito Los Angeles

I found the Roma Burrito ($8) blackboard special pleasantly pleasing, with juicy seared Italian sausage (house-made) and tangy “Puttanesca” vegetables in a flour tortilla. An Italian sausage burrito? Sure, why not.

Fish Los Angeles

I regularly return to experience menu additions like Seasonal Whitefish ($10), a fish that should play well in a heavily Jewish neighborhood. The juicy, well-seasoned fillet comes blanketed with sweet, but not cloying cream corn sauce.

Tacos Los Angeles

The ominous Killer Combo ($10) includes a choice of four tacos on double-stacked corn tortillas.

Komodo tacos could use better tortillas and more thoughtful salsas but some of the fillings are interesting. Fish & Grapes involves flaky, deep fried Alaskan cod served with a grape and shaved almond salad that’s fairly sweet, but good. We enjoyed more of the lip tingling Singaporean style shrimp with cooling sour cream and lettuce salad. Java referred to Indonesian shredded pork rendang braised in coconut cream with tomato and cucumber salad and topped with fried shallots. Unfortunately, the core ingredient wasn’t particularly juicy or flavorful. MP3 was a fun combination of top sirloin cubes, tater tots, garlic aioli and a seared quail egg. Unfortunately, the only condiment we even considered squeezing on the combo consisted of an oh-so-mild tomato based salsa.

With all the food trucks fluttering around the city, good options have become increasingly difficult to pinpoint, but it’s good to know that mobile proprietors like the Tjahyadi brothers are settling down and cranking up the ambition on their offerings.


Joshua Lurie

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

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