Q&A With Doma Kitchen Chef Kristina Miksyte & Co-Owner Angie Corrente
When I first started food blogging, one of the first events I went to was Doma Kitchen’s 2015 media preview of their then-location in Manhattan Beach. Now in 2017, the restaurant — which started in a small Redondo Beach spot — is still growing. Doma Kitchen, now in Marina Del Rey, has an expanded menu and space. I recently went to check out their new brunch service, which is as delicious as it sounds. Doma Kitchen offers an international-inspired cuisine with an emphasis on Eastern European and Central Asian techniques.
“Doma” means home in the Slavic language. Owners Angie Corrente and Stan Mayzalis have taken inspiration from their many world travels and created a menu with Chef Kristina Miksyte that reflects the exciting cuisine found in regions throughout the globe. All dishes are prepared from scratch and are seasoned to perfection with housemaid spices, placing the highest importance on farmer market fresh, seasonal and quality ingredients. I had the incredible Breakfast sandwich, the Eggs Benedict on latkes, and a heavenly slice of Honey cake. So good.
During my visit, Chef Kristina and Angie were nice enough to sit down with me during the brunch/lunch rush and answer a few questions.
Chef Kristina Miksyte
What has inspired the menu? Where are you from originally?
I’m Lithuanian from Europe. That inspires me to do … I like to do everything from the scratch with the natural product. I mean with the natural food and everything. This is what we’re doing, and the taste is different. I mean the salad dressings we’re making here and then the meat we’re making here, I mean everything what we can do we’re making here. This is different.
How long have you been in Southern California?
I’ve been here for 12 years, 12 years already. Everything from back there, I mean I’m thinking right now because it’s something new. It’s always something new in the kitchen, some food coming, always something new. Definitely you’re taking from here, but still I’m doing my way.
What was it like growing up in a family of chefs?
My dad, my grandma and my mom — it was family tradition to do every Sunday family food. It was cooking everybody, and then we’re having lunch or dinner, whatever it is.
I remember my mom, she bought a book for me, cooking book. When they was at work, so I was cooking from that book and I was talking with myself, pretending that somebody is filming. As a little kid, everybody was telling her, “She’s going to be a chef. She’s going to be chef.” Then, I finished high school and I’m like, “Okay. Let’s do that culinary school.” I did four years there baking and cooking.
What is one of your favorite dishes on the menu?
Kiev. This is that chicken breast, inside is the butter and with dill. Here, we’re doing with the couscous and then the fresh vegetables. That kiev, we deep fry in the deep fryer around 15 minutes, 16 minutes that. We’re doing that every day so it’s very fresh. This is my memories. When I was kid, so my dad was working in the restaurant. We’d have gatherings at home or every Sunday, we went to that restaurant and had kiev. From when I was kid, I always liked that dish.
The main thing when you’re cutting the kiev, that butter, because it’s melting inside, so when you cutting, that butter is coming out. You have a bath with the butter. When you dipping, that is very, I mean, juicy. Very good … It gives me a lot of memories, good memories, from my childhood.
Co-Owner Angie Corrente
What was it like for Doma Kitchen to move from Manhattan Beach to Marina Del Rey?
The mall in Manhattan Beach went under renovation, construction. The same landlord that was there is the same landlord here in Marine Del Rey. They had a wonderful, bigger space for us and it was just perfect timing. We needed a bigger space and the clientele is very similar, it’s all down the coast.
It’s all about healthy eating and it’s all about eclectic kind of restaurants that are moving in to Marina Del Rey. Google, Snapchat, and then the Silicone Beach is moving in so we have an amazing eclectic customers from the locals, have been here forever in Marina Del Rey and as well as the new comers, the millennials. So we have a mix and they just enjoy how we share through food, art, the music. We added live music since we moved from Manhattan Beach because the space allows us. Now we have two different rooms. In one room we put a live band. They differ from tango to jazz to Brazilian lounge. And it’s always different … And they’re all local. The artists are all local and the musicians are local and our local customers just love it.
Another part of our business are growing is our catering. Because Silicone Beach is in this area, they want catering. Just now we just made a catering to the boat because we have the marina here.
Tell me more about the new breakfast/brunch menu and the decision to add it.
Just recently, about three weeks ago we started breakfast. In Manhattan Beach we only had lunch and dinner. And now we added breakfast. It’s something that we did really, really well in Redondo when we just opened, four years ago. We started breakfast and lunch so we know how to bake and we know how to make really amazing breakfast. In the Marina, it’s in a demand. Manhattan Beach, where we were, it wasn’t. So Kristina bakes all the pastries and she bakes all the desserts and we do a lot of egg dishes like the breakfast egg sandwich, the Benedict. And we’re always doing all kinds of creative like zucchini pancakes and ricotta cheese pancakes. So we take an expression from different recipes that are homemade recipes from around the world.
What do you think was behind Doma Kitchen’s growth over the years?
I think the word spread and the demand so we followed the demand. We kind of Manhattan … Redondo Beach was a tiny, tiny, tiny space and there was kind of almost like a test kitchen. It was kind of a food truck without wheels. It was that small.
We didn’t know how people would react to Eastern European influence, especially in Redondo Beach. It was just something new for Redondo location for sure. The demand, we had lines out the door, we needed a bigger space. And people were asking for dinners but it was too cold to sit outside.
How did you meet Kristina?
We met through a really good friend of ours. So it was one of my husband’s best friends and he absolutely, really close friend of ours and he recommended one of his close friends that we never met. It was a chef. It was just meant to be. She’s my best friend. She’s just a business partner in everything. And we paint together, we build tables together, we put the floors down, we just … It means a lot to us. This means everything to us. Doma Kitchen means everything to us.
And we actually have Kristina’s mom who works with us. She makes homemade dumplings so we continue to make all that made from scratch. So it’s kind of like even more feels like home to have two generations who’s standing side by side in a kitchen. One is making homemade dumplings, the other one is just making these incredible dishes.