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First-Take Review of Komali—the Hits and the Misses

Antojitos Mexicanos at Komali. (photos by Desiree Espada)

The setup: What you expect from Komali and what you get from Komali are not so much different as muted variations of each other. You expect a solid, flavorful, and surprising menu of items that, while you might not have heard of them before, are certain to be masterfully played at the hand of Uptown restaur-entrepreneur Abraham Salum.

That’s not quite what you get. The space, while attractive and sleek, has a sort of paint-by-numbers-with-a-kitschy-fireplace-thrown-in vibe, and the menu, for all its promise, is peppered with dishes that fall short of their descriptions.

And as much as we want it all to work (we really do), our experience with Komali left us underwhelmed.

Click here to read the full review.

13 comments on “First-Take Review of Komali—the Hits and the Misses

  1. What happened to Andrew Chalk’s much more detailed (and positive) report that was posted ten minutes before this one?

  2. For a “mixed” review it really seemed pretty positive. So the nopales weren’t so good. Everything else was ok to memorable, you say. Seems like a positive review to me.

    Next time have the poblano soup and the vuelve a la vida. I agree the service sucks. Regarding the noise, yes it is noisy but you report it like that’s something new. Please name more than 10 popular restaurants, worth going to, that are quiet.

    I hate the noise too but that shouldn’t be a major portion of your review since it is so prevalent. No reason to single out Komali for what they all do.

  3. @runDMC, I went to Komali around 8:30 on a Friday night. It was so incredibly loud that I could not hear my neighbor. Granted, that’s a great thing for Komali. It means it’s busy. But it was a big thing for me. I’m hard-pressed to think of another restaurant that I’ve been to recently where I had to talk as loudly as I do at a bar on a Saturday night. I honestly feel like it has to do with the wall treatments or the setup of the room or something. I think it’s important to mention all that because it just adds to the overall experience of a restaurant.
    However, my server was incredibly patient with my friends. Even when it took awhile to order and he was obviously very busy. I wish I would’ve written down his name, because he really was fantastic.

  4. Food was good, place was very loud. They need window treatments or something on the walls to absorb the noise. We were there with a table of ten and couldn’t talk to anyone that wasn’t seated right next to you. Not even across the table.

  5. Food was good but the service was lousy. Guess that is what happens when you try a restaurant on their fourth day open. I watched a manager chew out and berate the bartenders for not stocking the bar correctly and something not being in the register….she seems like a real joy to work with. Once we were seated at the table it took 20 minutes for our drink order to be taken and then we had 3 different people asking us the same questions throughout the night. Hopefully their service will improve because the food was good. It wasn’t too loud but it was also during the week.

  6. Krista – no doubt it was loud. I agree, but
    have you been to Al Biernat’s, Nonna, Nosh, Citrus, Urbano, Hibiscus, Meddlesome Moth, Shinsei, Tillman’s, Villa O?

    “Loud” doesn’t begin to describe the debilitating decibel levels in those establishments. Komali (unfortunately)isn’t unique.

    We need to establish a “shh,low noise” movement to accompany the popular “slow food” trend.

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  8. Why don’t we start holding diners responsible for being ridiculously loud and stop blaming the restaurant? I am confounded by critics who want to spend their time talking about cars in the parking lot or what people look like, or how they behave and less time on the scent, flavors, and textures of the food. As I said in another post, it’s the sign of an unimaginative journalist that needs to stoop to such levels. I agree the “review” – if that’s what you want to call it – wasn’t that awful…she didn’t like Nopales (I’m not a fan either) but I have been to Komali several times now and truly enjoyed many, many of the other dishes on the menu. I have seen the service steadily improve (yes, it was lacking during the first couple of weeks after opening when Sarah chose to review them – she skips that minor detail) and trust the folks at Komali will continue to build on that momentum as Abraham did at Salum.

  9. We go out for the food first, atmosphere second, and service third; Komali wins in my book, the food is great, I have been four times since opening, and have tried something different everytime. Poblano soup, and tamal for lunch this week. I would like the service to be better, it is mixed, highly dependent on the server. Love the atmosphere, Abraham deserves kudos. Can’t wait to go back.

  10. For some reason restaurants in Dallas get reviewed the first week they are open. So stupid. Let Abraham work out the kinks. What restaurant runs smooth day one? Abraham is a pro. He will fix the issues that “need” to get fixed. Just give it some time.

    You know there is another place in town that got almost the exact same review in their first 2 weeks (loud, bad service, etc..) that just got 5 stars….

    Ease up. Be patient. Go back. Support.

  11. Confused, maybe these restaurants shouldn’t do so much pre-opening hype, sending out press releases and generating so much buzz, so that they could open quietly and get the kinks worked out before word of mouth naturally increases their business. If you hire PR to promote your restaurant until there’s a frenzy, then you are going to get the bad reviews from diners who insist on being the first there.

  12. I went this past weekend. The place was packed. Didn’t experience the noise level that everyone else did but I did find the food lackluster. Surprisingly bland. I like Salum and hope that Komali will get it right. I’ll return in a few weeks to see how it is. But once you open your doors to the public and money starts changing hands, it’s all fair games. You only get one first impression.