Komali: In Defense of a Dallas Staple
Over the weekend, we decided to try somewhere we haven't been for quite a long time: Komali, that regional Mexican cuisine outpost that's been on Cole since 2011. Wanting something lighter on a hot weekend afternoon, we thought Komali could be just the ticket. We were right, but were utterly shocked that no-one else seemed to have the same idea during the height of Sunday brunch.
If you haven't been in a while, we'll just tell you that the space is gorgeous! Beautiful patio, great new coffee shop space at the front, and ample parking on the patio side of the building. Oh, and they have great margarita options and drink specials that scream "Sunday Funday." So why, then, were we 2 of like 10 people in the restaurant on Sunday at 12:30?
It wasn't because the food has suffered under Komali's relatively new owner--it hasn't at all. We had skinny Margarita Especials, and their Tamarind Margarita, along with an enormous bowl of extremely fresh guacamole, their Queso Fundido (flaming cheese), their Mahi-Mahi Ceviche, and their Shrimp Ceviche. The bowl of Queso Fundido--with sausage mixed in--was absolutely delicious spread over a fresh tortilla like a taco. Both ceviches were extremely fresh, citrusy, light, refreshing, and delicious--exactly what we were looking for. And all the portions were large enough for 3-4 to share--we were stuffed when we left.
So, why wasn't the Dallas brunch scene enjoying Komali like we were? We think it goes back to when Dallas' food scene meant sub-par steakhouses with very few great or inventive restaurants. Back then, when a "new" restaurant opened, people would flock in hopes of getting away from the daily grind of surf-and-turf restaurants. And, over time--especially now that the Dallas restaurant scene has taken off--everyone has gotten used to rushing to try all of the "newest" and "best of" restaurants each time a new D Magazine issue comes out.
The only problem with constantly focusing on the latest and greatest is that it can kill "staple" restaurants that are foundational to the Dallas food scene. Like Komali. Komali isn't the newest restaurant in Dallas. It may no longer be the coolest. But it puts out awesome food, and is worth a stop. So, while we're guilty of trying lots of the "newest" restaurants around as well, we're going to remember places like Komali, and try them much more often. Because, sometimes the newest isn't necessarily the best.