Konbi Ni will have reservations, steak fries and tasting menu dinners

When Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery Closed the Original Konbi in echo park few months agoone thing was clear: whatever iteration of the restaurant opened in its place would likely not serve the Japanese-style sandwiches that the restaurant has been locally and nationally recognized for. (Its location in Culver City, which open this summeralways make those egg salad and katsu sandwiches.)

“We had to re-evaluate what kind of service model this space was,” Montgomery says of the small restaurant’s eight-seat counter. “We needed to have a different service model to be able to operate sustainably. By offering reservations and a fixed menu, we can plan our work accordingly.

Starting this Thursday, the updated Konbi Ni (“ni” means “two” in Japanese) is ready for its close-up: with some minor design changes, including painting the exterior a bright blue and some interior renovations, the restaurant is making reservations for the first time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are prepaid menus, while the lunch menu is a la carte. Montgomery says the restaurant will also add a 20% service charge to each meal, which will go toward staff salaries and health care. Konbi Ni will debut with breakfast and lunch this week; the dinner will start on December 1st.

Breakfast includes a Japanese set menu for $35: pickled cucumbers, soba cha-braised kabocha squash, layered omelette, charcoal-grilled fish and a Sencha biscuit, plus your choice of dinner tea . The a la carte lunch menu takes inspiration from French bistros, with dishes like roasted carrots with shishito-pistachio and nori dipping sauce; Treviso salad with dates, pear, red walnuts and ricotta salata; and steak frites with salsa verde and aioli. “We’re looking at foods that we love that are very inspired by things we’ve seen in Japan,” Montgomery says.

Interior details.

Several bottles of non-alcoholic wine on a shelf at Konbi Ni.

A selection of non-alcoholic wines and ciders.

Dinner, meanwhile, is a five- to seven-course tasting menu ($95), which will change frequently. The current menu kicks off with an oyster with celery mignonette and plain rice dumpling before moving on to grilled sweet potatoes with lemon Meyer chili dressing, grilled rice and sesame; and turnips roasted with turnip pesto, marinated Asian pear and sunflower seeds. Diners then have a choice of three main dishes: beef stew, king oyster mushroom stew, or grilled fish with daikon relish. Montgomery notes that there will be vegetarian options at all meals to accommodate as many diners as possible.

The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license, so it offers a pairing option ($49) of what Akuto calls “premium” non-alcoholic drinks at dinner, with ciders from the craft producer German Geiger, as well as a cherry and pear cider from the Swedish company Beskows. Akuto notes that the restaurant will only serve absolutely ABV-free drinks (in other words, don’t expect kombucha) and that Konbi juices will also be available.

Konbi Ni will be open from Thursday to Monday. Breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., lunch will be served from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Reservations are open on Resy.

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