It is certainly a nice compliment to get invited to the grand opening of a new Hollywood hot spot. Either that, or an e-mail went out to me as well as 100,000 other people. Either which way, with my ego fed, it was time to venture out to the heart of Hollywood to fill my stomach for the launching of the newest Asian fusion eatery — Komida.
Biking out of the friendly confines of Santa Monica up to Hollywood can be a harrowing yet rewarding experience, especially if you decide to take Santa Monica Boulevard straight through.
There is the good — long stretches of bike lanes in West Hollywood, as well as Century City. There is the bad —poorly paved and scarcely lit, Santa Monica Boulevard takes a turn for the worse through the length of Beverly Hills. And then there is the ugly — gridlock engulfs Santa Monica Boulevard from 26th Street to Interstate 405 during the early evening rush hour. While cutting through the congestion on my bicycle is great, using the bus line, which I sometimes do, was completely out of the question.
I try to avoid touristy areas, so venturing to Komida in the Kodak Center on Hollywood Boulevard was like riding straight into the Death Star of tourist traps. But tucked away on an unassuming wing of the mega structure, Komida is thankfully off the beaten path of trinket-filled kiosks, hoards of tourists, and creepy vagrant looking super heroes. While this scene embodies the area, Komida rises above the riff-raff with their cuisine.
Achieving much acclaim as head chef at Yamashiro, Brock Kleweno made a name for himself as an elite taco creator at the Yamashiro weekly Farmers’ Market sum two years ago. Now his heavy cult following, sightseers, and everyone in between can enjoy Chef Brock’s creations at Komida.
Komida offers a collection of Asian-inspired tacos with premium contemporary fare. Old school meets new school as family honored recipes are fused cohesively with an Asian inspiration. Menu items include Japanese miso sake black cod tacos, Korean braised short rib tacos, and my favorite of the evening, the Chinese hoisin duck confit taco. The duck confit was paired perfectly with the nectarine agave salsa making for a spicy sweet meld of flavors. The surprise of the night was the wasabi guacamole, which in my opinion could be the best use of Mexican-Asian fusion I have had.
Coming into an existing space, Komida has a brighter, more cheerful interior than the previous digs of the H Wood lounge thanks to paintings and murals contributed by local artists. Operating as a “fast casual service” restaurant, orders are placed at the counter and table delivery is provided. Komida was able to retain H Wood’s liquor license, offering a variety of beers as well as a very refreshing white-lychee fruit sangria.
The taco prices range from $4-$6, which is a big difference from your $1 taco truck offering. However, the tacos are twice as big and three times as fancy so if you do the math it still makes for a very worthy experience. I realize Santa Monicans are not going to be spending their free time meandering about on Hollywood Boulevard, but if Auntie Barbara is in town and just has to see Madame Tussauds wax museum, or you find yourself in the area for any other reason, you may want check out some great Asian-infused tacos at Komida.
If You Go
1738 N. Orange Drive
Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike. To reach him visit his Twitter at twitter.com/greaseweek or his website at tourdefeast.net