Only in fusion-forward Los Angeles is something that smells like a bowl of pho and steams like a bowl of pho not necessarily an actual bowl of pho.
At the two brick-and-mortar outposts of the Komodo food truck, Southeast Asian–inspired Chef Erwin Tjahyadi has created a hand-held version of the traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup, which stuffs all its savory, crunchy, spicy goodness into your everyday flour tortilla. It's name? The Phoritto.
The brand is already known for its combining of Thai, Indonesian and Korean with Latin and American cuisines — its menu includes items such as kimchi nachos and Hawaiian-style fried chicken — but the Phoritto is easily Komodo's most adventurous fusion yet.
Originally meant to be one of the restaurant's temporary chalkboard specials, which rotate out every few weeks, the Phoritto has been such a hit (even selling out on some days) that its residency has been extended through the end of November.
Inside this monster of a mash-up burrito is everything you'd find in a good bowl of pho: thinly sliced rib-eye (seasoned with the sweet and roasted spices as a broth would be), chewy rice noodles, caramel-y onions, snappy bean sprouts, jalapeño, aromatic Thai basil, cilantro, hoisin sauce and a dash of Sriracha.
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By replacing the fatty liquid in which all these ingredients are usually floating with the versatile-if-carb-filled tortilla, the Phoritto is a bizarre deconstruction of a soup that it could be argued should never have left the bowl. And sure, there's a tad lost in the experience when you're not slurping up something that's been simmering with bones and beef bits for half a day (and the added novelty of watching your flank steak cook in the boiling broth in front of you), but for pho lovers on the go, a Phoritto is still a surprisingly flavor-approximate compromise.
Komodo, 8809 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A., 310-246-5153; 235 Main St., Venice, 310-255-6742; komodofood.com