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Taste Test: We Tried The Pho Burrito

Behold, the Phorrito! (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
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Food mash-ups and fusion cuisine aren't anything new, but eateries are still surprising us with new ways they can stuff Asian food into new forms. There's the ramen burrito (aka the Ramenrrito) out at Presstea in New York and East Borough's Pho Banh Mi in Culver City, which both surfaced earlier this year. But now there's a new one in town—the Phorrito—and we had to try it for ourselves.

Komodo Chef Erwin Tjahyadi created the deconstructed bowl of Vietnamese pho in burrito form that's being served at his Pico-Robertson and Venice locations throughout the month of November.

LAist visited the Pico-Robertson spot around 2 p.m. today to sample the Phorrito. The restaurant was still packed after the lunch-hour rush and Tjahyadi told us they had temporarily run out of the ingredients for the Phorrito since it had become such a popular item. We waited for just a few minutes as a shipment of new ingredients got delivered to their restaurant. They've been selling the Phorrito for about two weeks now.

Komodo's sous chef Jonar Arboleda tells LAist that they use thinly-sliced Angus beef and flavor that with the spices you'd find in pho broth—minus the broth. So, imagine spices like cinnamon and cardamon coating the beef. It's accompanied by lime juice, blanched bean sprouts, slices of jalapeno and onions, Thai basil, cilantro, hoisin sauce, Sriracha—and yes, cooked rice noodles.

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The brisket is flavorful, and the cut and texture of the meat reminds us of something we would find in a carne asada burrito. It's familiar in that sense, but it's unique to get to taste pho flavors marinating slices of beef. The rice noodles are a surprisingly nice alternative to regular rice (and aren't mushy at all like we imagined it could be), and the texture of the bean sprouts adds a good crunch. This is a spicy burrito (so you might want to pick out a jalapeno slice or two if it doesn't suit you).

However, there are some things about the Phorrito that aren't as enticing. There's a bit too much hoisin sauce that overpowers the meat—the dish could benefit from being saltier rather than so sweet. And there is a slight bitter aftertaste from the burrito, but we couldn't put our finger on what was causing that.

Although we might prefer just having a good old bowl of pho, this Komodo item is still a fun new burrito to try. For the folks who are on the run and craving pho, this might be a good alternative. The Phorrito is a little pricier than your average burrito at $10, but it's a large one and they don't skimp on the meat.

Arboleda says that this is the first of some of their newer burrito mash-ups to come, like a Thanksgiving dinner burrito and a chicken pot pie burrito, which have both piqued our interest.

Komodo is located at 8809 W Pico Blvd., Pico-Robertson area, (310) 246-5153, and 235 Main St., Venice, (310) 255-6742

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