Echo Park continues to evolve in surprising ways. Sunset Boulevard now houses several different restaurants and coffee bars that serve ambitious food that transcends neighborhood status. Konbi is a great new breakfast through lunch counter. Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery serve Japanese-style sandwiches, vegetable dishes, pastries and coffee.
The Momofuku Ssam Bar and Osso veterans and long-time friends partnered on Konbi in October, naming their restaurant for a Japanese word that means “duo” out of respect to their collaboration. Their sandwiches have caused quite a stir on Instagram and in press coverage. I really enjoyed their Layered Omelette ($11) sandwich folded with umami-rich dashi. Montgomery gently flipped the omelette repeatedly in square pan with chopsticks on induction burners and squared off the fluffy, luscious result with wood blocks. He accented the sandwich with mayo and spicy Dijon mustard on soft toasted Bub & Grandma’s shokupan – Japanese white bread – and served in thirds.
Montgomery said this sandwich was partly inspired by the tiny, but terrific omelette sandwiches at Camelback in Tokyo, which I loved. Konbi’s version is different, but every bit that sandwich’s equal, and more substantial.