Kembara is the latest project from Chef Sosa and long-time partner and restaurant developer Mark Stone. The restaurant embraces the rich tapestry of Asian street food culture through time-honored recipes, while also incorporating innovative and playful twists on familiar flavors and techniques.
Drawing inspiration from regions such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and beyond, Chef Sosa and Stone have utilized their culinary odysseys of traveling, cooking and tasting across Asia throughout their careers to create a menu that offers fresh interpretation on beloved recipes and honors the lineage and legacies of generational dishes.
Kembara’s menu embodies Chef Sosa’s concept of a “trinity of flavors,” giving each dish a delicious balance of sweet, sour and salty elements to create the perfect harmony in every bite. Menu items include the Wagyu Beef Rendang, a Malaysian comfort food staple braised in chili sambal; Banana Leaf Halibut, smothered in a sambal made with Chile de árbol, Fresno chiles and Thai chilis; Fish Head Curry braised in a mixture of spices and coconut milk served on a banana leaf; and Crab Fried Rice that is stir-fried with lump crab, oyster sauce, sugar snap peas and other veggies.
Kembara also offers a complete vegetarian menu with dishes like the Silken Chili Tofu or the Massaman Vegetable Curry, as well as a dessert menu featuring Vietnamese Coffee Donuts tossed in a Vietnamese cinnamon and sugar mixture and served with Len’s Vietnamese Coffee and condensed milk dipping sauce; Buckwheat Taiyaki with matcha cream and strawberry jam with mustard seeds; and Thai Ice Tea Shaved Ice with Thai iced tea pound cake, Italian meringue and pickled blueberries. Guests can also enjoy an exquisite beverage program featuring Asian-inspired cocktails and a premier sake list curated by revered sake sommelier Eduardo Dingler.
LA-based designer Thomas Schoos, whose projects include Tía Carmen in Phoenix, created a modern, energetic space for diners. The restaurant boasts a vibrant color palette, along with elements inspired by Asia’s night markets, including hand-painted murals, vibrant hand-blown glass and bent neon rope lights. Kembara also features a grand bar and open kitchen layout in the main dining space, two private dining rooms and outdoor garden seating.
Kembara is open Wednesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. To learn more and book a reservation, visit kembaradesertridge.com
Photos courtesy Kembara