Konbi (Echo Park): A Pictorial Essay

Konbi represents the latest in a slew of sleek eateries to debut in Echo Park. It is a tiny but meticulously-run daytime restaurant serving sandwiches, seasonal vegetable dishes, pastries, tea and coffee. Proprietors Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery, both last seen at the late (and great) Osso in Little Tokyo, continue their collaboration at Konbi.

01%20DSC04394

The exterior is cheerful, and features a take-out window.

02%20DSC04391

Inside, the place reminds one of a typical Japanese kissaten (tearoom which serve light fare as well). Elegant lines, design-forward use of natural light, wood and stone create a friendly space. Counter seating only; be warned if you have a large party…

20%20DSC04389

03%20DSC04330

Houjicha latte… Subtle, yet well-pulled…

04%20DSC04347

Lots of customer orders translates to an efficient use of space…

05%20DSC04370

Pork katsu sandwich, with cabbage, bulldog sauce… DELICIOUS! The pork cutlet was just right in tenderness and juiciness.

10%20DSC04354

Potato salad, with crispy okra & togarashi… Very nice.

11%20DSC04337

Layered omelette sandwich, with dashi, mayo & dijon… Again, a superb sandwich! There was definitely love put into this creation. This fluffy, warm egg goes just perfectly with the brick toast - Instantly transports me back to Tokyo.

12%20DSC04358

I am reminded of how great this team of Ssäm Bar veterans comes together to make sandwiches, just like their unforgettable patty melt at Osso back in the day…

15%20DSC04365

Hazelnut financier… It seems the pastries at Konbi are delightful, too.

21%20DSC04375

Canelé… Very French in its preparation. Dense yet airy; accompanies well with my latte.

22%20DSC04334

Bathroom (yes, there’s a toilet in there too)…

30%20DSC04377

31%20DSC04379

Service was efficient and warm.

The take-out window provides rapid orders for those on the run. In addition, Konbi delivers to its surrounding neighborhood. Hours of operation run from 7AM-5PM currently, but the kitchen does tend to run out of certain menu items as the day wears on. And, following the trend being set my many other restaurants, Konbi is cash-free (cards only).

In summary, Konbi superbly fills a niche in the local breakfast / diner scene by providing well-portioned, tasty sandwiches, small plates, and pastries while offering well-poured teas and coffees.

RECOMMENDED.

Konbi
1463 Sunset Bl.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
213.278.0007
konbila.com

17 Likes

Thanks for the great pics and review @J_L. :slight_smile: It sounds great.

Was the Katsu in the Sando still crispy? Or did it get a bit soft when it was combined together?

Amazingly crispy. Japanese technology, I say!

1 Like

OMG Love that painting!

2 Likes

Thanks, @J_L. My best friend would love this place.

1 Like

This place looks awesome. What’s the price point here?

https://konbila.com/

I don’t find their prices offensive other than the WTF $5 croissant.

I miss paying ~1 euro for amazing croissants in Europe.

awesome! thanks for the info and the review.
i miss Osso :frowning:

Thanks for the very picture-forward review

2 Likes

The Great Wave Off Cookiegawa…

2 Likes

Looks awesome! Sounds like business is good too. Was poking around their Instagram and noted that today they decided to change hours from 7 AM to 3 PM going forward, possibly because of hitting max sandwich capacity: https://www.instagram.com/p/BokMhQ_hfND/

I’ve always loved that (what?) poster.

This was lovely. I came here last Wednesday with a friend and put us on the list. While we waited, we got a croissant, a pain au chocolate, and two espresso drinks to snack on. These pastries were so satisfying! So flaky, shattering all over my shirt and beard, with tender, elastic buttery interior. But we were here for the sandwiches. My friend came earlier that weekend with her kid. She’s Japanese American so this place was already on her radar. She was a little in sticker shock but i guess homesickness, nostalgia, and the thought and skill in the kitchen won her out. It did for me. Well, minus the homesickness and nostalgia.

We split three sandwiches, the katsu sando, the dashi tamago yaki, and the oft instagrammed egg salad eyeball one. Already caffeinnated from our wait, we had warm barley teas, which was a nice touch. It’s available hot or cold, and maybe that DOES bring me back because that reminds me of Korea (except it’s free but that kind of thinking isn’t helpful!). We watched the omelets being rolled and pressed, and admired the restraint in the kitchen with both the mayo and the mustard. That tamagoyaki was tender and subtle, not at all like the chilled sweet things you get in bentos. I’m going to get a dozen eggs and practice making these at home. I used to make them and never get them right.

I can’t really say anything about the eye of egg salad sandwich. I only agreed to split it so my friend could try it. I don’t like egg salad. This was fine. More for everyone else that loves egg salad. It’s good.

The katsu sando caught my attention because the interior of the cutlet was still rosy and juicy, like it should be, like good pork should be! There’s maybe one place here in SF that has a katsu sando and it’s good, but nowhere as good as this one, with those details like a perfectly fried cutlet. I would’ve ordered the eggplant one, too, but that would have been overkill. I took one more croissant to go, and we took three canelés as well, which were nicely caramelized and almost bittersweet in the crust contrasting the sponge-like airy custardy interior.

Yes it’s not cheap but it’s good. And everyone working here seemed very genuinely eager to welcome and make guests feel at home, while also being quite efficient considering the volume of people trying to cram into this tiny spot. Here are some pics of the interior of the pastries. I’m honestly not that crazy about the croissants in SF, except maybe Neighbor Bakehouse, so these helped make my day

9 Likes

Thanks for the report! It’s good to see the Konbi team handling the food and the guests so well, even as they get slammed daily from the Instalove.

yup!
so good
the eggplant shocked the S#*& out of me. So yummy.

Really craving some pastries this morning so I headed to Konbi alone and there was no line at 8:30 in the morning.


Hazelnut Financier - Apparently, I’ve been having shit financier at Bouchon and all other places.


This specimen is wonderfully buttery with notes of nuttiness from beurre noisette echoing the hazelnut flavor. The crisped exterior brings a real nice contrast to its delicately light inside.


Canele - Again, I’ve been having shit canele all my life…


The thick caramelized crust brings a great crunch which immediately cedes to its moist and custardy interior. Have I mentioned that aromas of rum and vanilla are front and center throughout? Wowzer!


These are what I came for. I watched them get the egg wash treatment before going into the oven for 18 mins + another 5 mins after.


Croissant - HOT DAMNNN. Konbi just switched from New Zealand butter to the French Isigny butter, which Chaumont also uses, 2 days ago. @Chowseeker1999


This is the best croissant I’ve ever had. It’s shatteringly flakey on the outside and ridiculously soft, moist (on the verge of overly so), and airy with well defined honeycomb pattern inside. Its decadent buttery aroma permeated every bite.

It’s really not a fair fight between Konbi and other croissants I’ve had since none of them ever entered my mouth within a minute out of the oven.


These babies came out of the oven along with croissants at the same time.


Pain au Chocolat


This pain au chocolat, despite possessing an incredibly flakey crust, ends up with a poor structured interior as you can see in the picture. Perhaps the interior is too moist so the whole thing collapsed when I took my bite…still taste great though.


Gateau Basque


A rich and buttery shortbread-like crust encloses a sweet and tangy strawberry filling. The filling is just a touch too sweet to me.


Pork Katsu | cabbage, bulldog sauce
It’s a good sando. Sandwiched between two pillows we call bread are finely julienned cabbage
and tonkatsu with a lightly crispy exterior. The interplay between the mustard spread, savory Bulldog sauce (a Japanese Tonkatsu condiment), and hints of citrus notes from the orange zests keep the sandwich interesting throughout.

16 Likes

Wow great Intel! I wrongly assumed that they out sourced their pastries since the place is so tiny. Looks fantastic

1 Like

Daaaaaamn I’ve gotta go back and try it with that French butter. And I love that canele so much. My usual order is a cortado and a canele to go, pretty perfect combo and fast even when it’s crowded.

1 Like

Any intel?

2 Likes