Prince is crooning in my ear as I write this. “You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on.” But oh baby, does Venice Asian fusion eatery Komodo disagree. It was such a life changing experience that I started to use the word baby. Sorry, that was weird.
But seriously, this new taco truck-turned-fast-casual-restaurant knows all your sweet spots, whether it be indulging in some “Brutus Salad” (which actually includes only tater tots) or assembling your own combination of insanely stuffed tacos. Komodo aptly describes their fare as “Dangerously Good Food,” and the fusion is apparent in the origins of executive chef, Chef Erwin Tjahyadi, who was born in Indonesia, raised in East L.A. and classically trained at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu. This comes out in the mix of Chinese, Southeast Asian, Mexican and California flavors that Komodo food includes.
Here’s the breakdown of the food porn you are viewing:
That glistening mass? Those are Kimchi nachos. Yes, that is a thing. No, I don’t like kimchi. Yes, I liked these, and that is more of an understatement than saying I mildly enjoy singing Taylor Swift aloud when home alone. We bought them to split three ways, and yes, I did eat a majority of them. They start with a base of thick-cut tortilla chips, and are topped with melted mozzarella and cheddar cheese, hot kimchi, chicken, bacon, sour cream, jalapenos and sriracha aioli.
On paper, it might seem like your worst digestive nightmare, but in your mouth, it is a melding of all the flavors you would ever want to taste at any singular time. I am using a lot of superlatives in this piece; just know that each one comes from the bottom of my heart (Or tastebuds? Stomach?). Definitely worth the trip to Komodo, just for these nachos to split, and just look at that gloss! Your insta-game will insta-skyrocket.
The main attraction of Komodo, however, is the thing that got them started as a gourmet taco truck as a part of the L.A. food truck revolution way back in the good old days of the early 2000s, and got them named among the top 5 food trucks in L.A. by street food site Roaming Hunger. The concept is simple: combinations of meat, veggies, and condiments that pull from all the previously mentioned cuisines and are bursting with salty-sweet-spicy flavor. I ordered “Loko Modo,” which was Hawaiian style seared Angus ground beef, green onions, and pineapple teriyaki sauce topped with the cutest little quail fried egg I have ever eaten. There are 12 different taco offerings, and I’m going to highlight some of the most memorable: The Java includes Indonesian pork rendang braised in coconut milk w/ tomato/cucumber salad, green onions & fried shallots and the Fish N’ Grapes comes with deep fried Alaskan cod, fresh concord grapes, roasted almonds w/ sour cream salad.
Portions are small if you have large hunger, or moderate if you have small hunger. Two tacos and most of the nachos were enough to fill me up, but definitely make room for more as I now wish I did. I also ignored my lackluster green salad, which is what I get for ordering a salad at taco place.
The vibe was clean and cute, with taco tray decorations that were quite modern, but a little lackluster (and surprisingly empty for a Friday night!). I think they have the potential to really expand into a hip and yung place, perhaps as word gets around that they even exist in this new Venice location. They also operate a location on Pico, as well as the original truck.
Overall, 10/10, would recommend. *Insert sassy girl emoji here*
Attribution for finding this mouth-watering, taco truck-turned-fast-casual-restaurant to my roommate, Jasmine Zahedi, Yelp maven and food adventure driver extraordinaire.
Shalaka Gole is a sophomore majoring in business administration. Her column, “Alimentary,” runs Fridays.