The menu items at Komali are reminiscent of Mexican talavera pottery; bright, colorful and playful. Recently, new ownership team James Broady and general manager Emanuel Salinas revamped this restaurant by keeping an upscale, yet laid back climate. After previous owner Abram Salum decided to sell, executive chef Geovanny Arredondo re-imagined the menu by creating art with a nuance of ingredients.
Bar manager Leann Berry still delivers a beverage program that consistently ranks among the best in Dallas. Her Caliente Clementine with habanero and jalapeño-infused tangerine puree is silky smooth — add mezcal to transform the drink into a smokin' Clementine. When ordering one of Berry's cocktails, an appetizer of pork belly tacos and chicken tinga sopes makes perfect sense. The soft pork belly with a lightly crispy exterior comes decorated with dots of queso fresco and chile salsa over a tiny bed of pickled onions, surrounded by a sweet mole tortilla. Both appetizers look inviting and taste even better.
"Komali takes its name from the native Aztec word for an open fire griddle," according to the restaurant's website, and the land portion of chef Arredondo's menu pays homage to this method of cooking. He effectively adds an air of mystery to the pork chop with guajillo jam and chorizo Brussels sprouts while the duck enchiladas are just as alluring. Handmade tortillas are topped with a green mole with its primary ingredient being the hoja santa, an aromatic leaf found in the Oaxaca region.
"With chef and I both from Mexico City, we want to bring those flavors, along with the flavors from the many different regions, to Komali," Salinas says. "Something unique we will do is cook street tacos and various street foods outside during brunch to mimic our upbringing. I also grew up in Acapulco and wanted to draw from coastal influence, too."
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Komali accomplishes just that with several seaside dishes, but notable is the mahi-mahi al pastor. This mild subtropical fish is cooked with a sweet guajilla-pineapple marinade, wrapped in leeks, then served with basmati-style rice and grilled pineapple. A few bites of these, along with a sip of the prickly pear puree and mango Komali margarita, makes a visit to this Cole Avenue hideaway memorable.
Komali, 4152 Cole Ave.