More L.A. Tacos
If the old adage read: "good food served in the center of Hollywood comes to those who wait," it might be attributed to Brock Kleweno, owner of taco hotspot Komida. Located in the bar / patio section of former nightclub H'Wood, Komida is just down the hill from its humble origins at the Yamashiro Farmers Market.
For two years, Kleweno wowed increasingly longer lines with his fusion experiments, including the Hoisin Duck Confit taco. Now that he's in his former bump and grind digs, Kleweno is bringing his best moves from the market and adding a few twists and turns.
The day-to-day menu is inventive. For the short rib taco, the meat is braised in a red wine and soy mixture. It's soft, delicate, and distinctly Asian-influenced with a rosy finish from the red wine. The chicken satay taco is topped with large slices of homemade sweet pickles, delivering a vinegary bite through the creamy peanut sauce and moist meat. The black cod is arguably the tamest of the bunch, with a straightforward white fish base augmented only slightly by a miso sake glaze.
Then there is the duck confit, Kleweno's signature taco. Ordered up on a single sturdy homemade tortilla, the deep, strong poultry flavors are accented by a fruity salsa garnish made of plum and nectarine. Toss in a little hoisin sauce and the result is a little umami, a little sweet. Is it worth the $5 pricetag? That's sure a lot for a taco but it's Kleweno's signature for a reason.
For those with a spicier palate, beware: the salsas at Komida are not exactly subtle. The real stand-out with Kleweno's Mexican-Asian fusion focus may well be the wasabi guacamole, with enough bite underlying the creamy avocado to wake your nostrils up. The ginger pico de gallo is also a winner, while the salsa roja is the best bet for those craving a simpler salsa.
The long Hollywood and Highland retail strip can be an unforgiving place, packed with tourists milling around the Hard Rock Café while guys dressed like Spider Man hang from street signs for money. Maybe it's better that Komida is tucked away, with Kleweno playing mad scientist over a plate of tacos.
His recent 12 Tacos of Christmas put everything from venison to pineapple upside-down cake inside a tortilla, and the new year promises even bigger things.
1738 N. Orange Drive, Hollywood CA (map)