Uptown Mexican Update

New chef at Komali adds fine-dining finesse to authentic Mexican menu

Komali, empanadas, chef
Photo by Kevin Marple
Komali, chef
Photo by Kevin Marple
Caesar salad at Komali restaurant in Dallas
Photo by Kevin Marple
Komali, fish, chef
Photo by Kevin Marple
Komali, meat, chef
Photo by Kevin Marple
Komali, corn discs, chef
Photo by Kevin Marple
Komali, watermelon salad
Photo by Kevin Marple

Uptown restaurant Komali, the authentic Mexican gem from chef-owner Abraham Salum, welcomes new executive chef Julio Peraza, whose new dinner menu features tempting items such as these pork confit quesadillas (left).

Peraza is taking the restaurant in a new direction while maintaining its integrity.

"Julio is the perfect fit for where we are going with Komali," Salum says. "I feel like we’ve had an injection of creativity and energy in the kitchen."

Born in El Salvador, Peraza graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 2002 and has worked with such notable chefs as Joel Guillon, Kerry Simon, David Myers, Michael Mina and Andre Natera.

His resume includes The Argent Hotel, Gary Danko Restaurant, St. Regis Hotel in Kauai, Cathouse in Las Vegas, Comme Ca in West Hollywood, the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, American Fish at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, Pyramid Restaurant and Village Kitchen.

Komali's house salad is reminiscent of a Caesar. It has grilled romaine with cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumber, red onion and queso fresco in a cilantro and pumpkin seed dressing.

“We are still the same Komali, just better,” Salum says.

Roasted sea bass comes with skin still on. It's stacked atop chayote squash, and it is accompanied by confit fingerling potatoes and watercress cream sauce.

"The food is more up-to-date in Mexico City than most people would probably think, so it was a good starting point for me when I was researching the cuisine," Peraza says.

Cochinita pibil is a beer-braised pork shank in plantain leaves with green beans, peas, purslane and pickled red onions.

"When Chef Salum and I got into the kitchen together, I wanted to take that rich history of amazing food and blend my fine-dining background and modern techniques," Peraza says.

Sopes come three to an order. These masa bites are topped with chorizo, potato, queso fresco, crema and avocado, with a side of guacamole.

"We are taking very traditional dishes but refining what we are putting on the plate," Peraza says.

The harvest salad has mixed greens with melon, including watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe, in a Mexican herb vinaigrette.

"With this menu, we wanted to showcase how simple and beautiful the cuisine is, while also taking it to the next level," Peraza says.