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A Q&A with Venice Beach’s Komodo

While there is no lack of creativity in the hotbed that is Venice Beach these days, Komodo is an Asian Fusion restaurant managing to stand out. Their unique and delicious modern Californian Asian fusion dishes provide a truly global cuisine without making diners have to break into their savings to eat a good meal. Chef Erwin Tjahyadi’s vision of combining high-quality ingredients with unique flavors from all over the world has quickly thrown Komodo into the list of undisputed local favorites. We talked with the crew over at Komodo to get a better understanding of their approach towards crafting these delicious and accessible Asian fusion delivery dishes.

What was the main motivation for creating high style, high quality, accessible meals in the heart of Venice?

Komodo originally started out as a food truck before we opened our first restaurant in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. Food is our passion, and we knew we wanted to share our food with the local community and beyond. When looking to open our second location, we loved the vibrancy and uniqueness of the Venice neighborhood and it felt like a good fit. While there are a lot of good eateries in the area, we felt that we would make a great addition with our delicious, flavorful, and affordable food.

Describe the delivery tendencies in LA and how you guys shake it up.

We are really glad to partner with a service like Grubhub since it allows us to reach diners who might not have the ability or time to get to our brick-and-mortar locations. On our end, we see that our customers are from all over LA, which is great. We originally had delivery during the evening. Now we try to have delivery available earlier in the day as well, which seems to be really helpful for those who can’t get away from their desks for lunch!

How does the team go about sourcing ingredients for all of the fresh from scratch recipes on the menu?

We work with a lot of great purveyors, so it hasn’t been a challenge for us to secure the ingredients that we need. Since we’ve around for 7+ years, we’ve been able to establish great relationships with our partners. When creating new recipes, we also take into account what flavors will resonate with customers. We always try to be mindful of what ingredients are easily available, which allows us to stay economical and resourceful.

There is a wide range of influences on the menu, from the Jalapeño Aioli (Latin) to the Banh Mi (Vietnamese) and even the Loco Moco (Hawaiian). Where do Chef Tjahyadi and his team draw their inspirations?

The flavors of our childhood have definitely influenced our palates and the ingredients we use as inspiration to create. We (the owners) are all of Asian descent with families who immigrated here, so we all grew up with traditional home-cooked meals as well as the popular American foods of our peers. As a result, the way we dine and cook have always been one of fusing multiple cultures together. The areas where we grew up have also influenced our menu. Two of us grew up on the east coast, and the other grew up near East LA. Some of the popular flavors and styles of each respective area have been incorporated into our menu and can be seen throughout.

The Komodo 2.0 Burrito from Komodo

Which dish delivers best?

The Komodo 2.0 (pictured above) — that’s probably in part why it’s so popular!

Tells us more about The Komodo 2.0. (available as a taco, burrito, or rice bowl). Where did the vision for that recipe come from, and why is it the 2.0?

The original Komodo had a little bit of a different flavor and look. While we really loved the taco, we wanted to add a little more color to our offerings, which is how our corn salad came to fruition. After we made this change, the Komodo transformed into the 2.0. We’ve kept a version of the original Komodo around – our Signature Taco is very similar to it.

Kimchi Nachos from Komodo

What’s the menu favorite of the moment?

Right now we’ve seen a lot of love for our Kimchi Nachos (pictured above). It’s really a fun dish and packed with flavor. (More on Kimchi here.)

If it is someone’s first time ordering from Komodo, what do you suggest going for?

We would recommend the Killer Combo, our 4-taco combo (pictured below). We have 10 different flavors to pick from, so this combo gives the customer the option to try out a nice variety of styles.

The Killer Combo from Komodo

What are the seasonal dumplings at the moment, and how does the team go about choosing the rotating recipe for them?

The seasonal dumpling filling is currently made with chicken and veggies. With the recipe, it’s really dependent on the Chef’s mood as well as what’s available during the season.

Order your favorites from Komodo.

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