ADDRESS: 1463 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
As some of you might be aware, I’m a pretty avid watcher of the TV series Top Chef. In the past few seasons, I’ve started to listen to a recap podcast called Pack Your Knives, and it was during a sidebar conversation on the podcast that I found out about Konbi. The two hosts were talking about egg salad sandos in LA, and ever since listening to that episode, this place has been my list to try.
This past weekend, my friend Emily and I planned to spend the day hanging out in LA, and took a quick stop over to Konbi for a lunchtime appetizer and some of their craft lattes. The small storefront is located on Sunset Boulevard in the Echo Park neighborhood, so you’ll need to find some street parking nearby before walking over.
At the time of this posting, they were only offering takeout orders from their storefront window. They did, however, have a few tables set up on the sidewalk for anyone that wanted to sit down and eat real quick. Emily and I decided to do just that before we moved onto our next food stop.
It was the sandos that made me interested in Konbi, but Emily mentioned that their pastries and lattes were also pretty good as well. On their menu, there’s also a selection of salads and other coffees / teas to choose from as well. Since we were just stopping by for a quick appetizer, we decided to split one of their Pork Katsu sandos. I also ended up trying their Kinako Latte, which contained toasted soybeans, ginger, Okinawan black sugar, and oat milk. It was definitely rich and full-bodied in the flavor profile, with a bit of the tingling on the palate from the ginger.
The staff inside were definitely cranking orders out like crazy, because we didn’t even have to wait two minutes before all of our stuff was ready. The pork katsu sando itself was packaged in a very neat, unassuming square box, with the sandwich cut into perfect thirds. It’s a very uniform look, and seemed like it is part of the Konbi aesthetic.
Each slice of the pork katsu was sandwiched between two pieces of Japanese milk bread, with the crusts removed. I think that both sides of the pork katsu were brushed with bulldog sauce, a Japanese condiment typically served with pork cutlets. In addition, there was also a small layer of cabbage on one side as well.
I will say that each bite of the sandwich felt really balanced. The breading and cabbage helped to provide a bit of a crunch, the bulldog sauce was sweet and slightly tangy, the pork loin itself provided the umami flavor, and the milk bread was soft, yet provided a subtle sweetness to complement the other flavors. I even got a really slight hint of Dijon as part of the aftertaste on each bite, which I enjoyed.
I would be content with a lunchtime meal from Konbi consisting of a sandwich, a pastry, and a craft latte. That being said, I don’t know if I would drive out of my way to take a stop here. It would be more of a situation where if I was planning to be in the area, then I would consider taking a food and drink stop. Both the food and the drinks were good, and I would certainly recommend giving it a try. I just don’t think that the sandos are something I would develop a craving for that would encourage me to make the special trip, but I’m glad that I did try the place out nonetheless.
Let’s now take a look at the Konbi Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Pork Katsu Sando **
Breaded pork loin served between two slices of Japanese milk bread, with cabbage and bulldog sauce.
** Chocolate Croissant (pictured left) **
Croissant pastry with milk chocolate on the inside.
** Kabocha Flan Tart (pictured right) **
Vegan flan tart, topped with soba cha caramel and puffed buckwheat.
And finally, here are my rankings for Konbi:
Food: 4.25 / 5
There’s a nice selection between sandwiches, salads, pastries, and drinks to choose from. The flavors within the pork katsu sandwich that we got was really balanced and didn’t make you feel heavy after eating it, either. The two pastries that I tried were also really on point, too.
The small tables and chairs provided a quick place where you could sit down to eat. But given that it’s right next to the street and people waiting to order / pick up food could make you feel a bit crowded, that seating was solely functional and not really relaxing.
Service: 4.25 / 5
The food and drinks came out super quick, and it’s a good thing too, since the lunch crowd started to form right after we ordered. But it seemed like they were able to keep a good pace to ensure the number of people waiting was manageable.
Price: 4.25 / 5
Maybe it’s just part of where the restaurant is situated, but I thought that $15 for the pork katsu sando seemed slightly expensive, given the amount of food provided. I did think that the pricing for the pastries and beverages, however, were pretty close to that of what you’d find in higher-end local coffee shops.