10900 Wilshire Blvd. #170A
Los Angeles, CA 90024
By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer
Comoncy, a small, regional chain of gourmet kitchens with convenience store elements, recently opened its Westwood location.
The fast-casual concept is the latest idea to emerge from Alliance Hospitality Group, the 2002-formed company responsible for the über-popular Coral Tree Café brand, Brentwood steakhouse Baltaire and the Chef Mindy Oh-helmed, contemporary Encino eatery Mora Italiano.
With the company for a decade, corporate chef Joseph Gillard steers two mighty ships for Alliance: Coral Tree Café, which, since 2002, has expanded from its Brentwood original to Beverly Hills and Encino, and Comoncy, a 2014-launched quasi-spinoff with Beverly Hills and Studio City spots, an outlier outlet in Scottsdale, Arizona, and two more coming to Beverly Grove (this summer) and Sherman Oaks (2020).
As with parental unit Coral Tree, designer William Emmerson brings bright whites with splashes of signature orange hue to this chain. The interior at Comoncy Westwood is an inviting, albeit compact, space; overall utilitarian and functional, occupying less than 1,000 square feet of ground-floor retail within a 230,000-square-foot office tower.
Each Comoncy adapts to its varying corporate setting, so no two Comoncys are exactly alike—menu-wise or environmentally. The Westwood location does have a lovely patio, maximizing its outdoor space.
Baked into its marketing is Comoncy’s embrace of third-wave coffee culture, where skilled baristas pour artisanal roasted coffees and espresso beverages. According to the eatery, the chain employs house organic blend from Equator Coffee Roasters made specifically for Comoncy, brewed by a custom-built La Marzocco machine.
Truth be told, Los Angeles has exploded with these types of health-conscious, politically correct concepts. Southern California restaurants have force-fed us grass-fed, artisanal, organic, free-range, farm-to-table and locally sourced foods of every type and stripe.
So why patronize Comoncy? Simply because food here is delicious.
With its pithy menu, Comoncy focuses on its limited target and kills it every time. As simple as the Avocado Salad may sound, this bowl proved so fresh and irresistible, its contents practically evaporated. We were informed that another bowl, the Thai Salad—shredded chicken breast, Napa cabbage, organic greens, toasted peanuts, heirloom carrot, jicama, peppadew peppers, crispy ginger and basil, dressed in Mae Ploy vinaigrette—is the eatery’s signature dish.
Yet while I certainly enjoyed its reliable mix, Avocado Salad—alive with red frill, romaine, cherry tomatoes, radish, basil, scallion, cilantro, Maldon sea salt, chile-lime vinaigrette and Tajin, all topped with hearty half-bulbs of the titular fruit—spoke to me more.
Sandwiches are solid. Anyone looking for a BLT can bite into an Egg-cellent Sandwich—organic eggs, apple-smoked bacon, scallion mayo and local organic greens pressed between slices of whole grain bread.
Comoncy Beyond Burger, a quinoa-crusted meatless burger (of a certain, IPO-busting variety), layers slices of tomato and crispy onion, remoulade, and greens to scrumptious-enough effect to sate even us meat-lovers.
If anything captured my imagination here, it came from the most unexpected corners. What Comoncy calls its Green Soup is a delicious blend of every type of green, from spinach and broccoli to bok choy. Kind of like a hot veggie smoothie, every sip tastes very healthy, almost medicinal, yet with an odd allure and, with a piece of baguette, I cherished every sip. This bowl may be the first thing I seek the next time I fall under the weather or when fall weather arrives (whichever comes first).
One of Gillard’s most clever gambles is his contemporary spin on French toast with its layer of Greek yogurt and agave syrup. The breakfast favorite here utilizes French baguette. The layer of yogurt is particularly inspired—the equivalent of a cheesecake utilizing ricotta over cream cheese—and it totally makes the generous portions pop.
Comoncy also posits itself as a place where people can break from work or life to enjoy a coffee or tea and pastry (ie. Morning Bun, Cannoli). Vanilla Latte utilizes clover milk and house-made vanilla syrup, and arrived in perfect, Coral Tree-like fashion with a charming floating heart design. This cup proved as good as its presentation; a touch bitter and not overly sugary.
For a side of arugula, Gillard added some house-made vinaigrette made of Greek seeds and olive oil (not the usual garden-variety canola oil). The chef also presented us with the Buffalo Chicken Burrito and a side of orzo with cucumbers that was not on the menu. He said that each location offers unique specials, customized to local tastes.
If anything, this sincerity sums up what sets Comoncy apart from competitors; everything is created and cooked on site, with attention to detail going into every menu and dish that personalizes the location and lends each Comoncy its own distinctive soul.
In an increasingly cookie-cutter, fast-casual universe, Comoncy not only inspires appreciation and loyalty, but respect.