While many restaurant kitchens are still closed or operating at reduced capacity, a number of enterprising chefs and owners are turning to new meal-prep and delivery concepts for getting their food out. Comida chef and owner Lance George is just one culinary entrepreneur adapting to the current climate with soulful fusion dishes delivered through his new meal-prep service: Flavour Unit.
The name is the Spanish word for “food.” But anyone who’s stopped in for lunch or a late dinner at Comida knows that Lance George’s all-day cantina offers a lot more than typical Latin cuisine—elevated well above what anyone could simply call food. From Chinese char siu burritos and Korean bulgogi nachos to barbecue staples and Spanish-inspired seafood rice dishes, George has been pulling from his 20 years of experience in the restaurant business to produce fusion cuisine with a ton of personal character at his Ninth Street eatery, which he opened in early 2019. With pastries sourced from local bakeries and markets for morning coffee service, George has shown his savvy at bringing essential food options to a corner without a lot of other offerings.
But with the restaurant industry bearing the brunt of business closures during the COVID-19 crisis and many local diners still uneasy about returning to dine-in service, he has been thinking outside of the storefront. For the New Jersey native with experience in catering, hotel food and beverage management, and restaurant openings, including St. Joseph’s Brewery and Public House, where he worked as executive sous chef for more than two years, adapting and not sticking with a single concept has been part of the game.
So when things got tight at Comida, George started planning his next direction. The result? Flavour Unit, a new catering, meal-prep, and corporate lunch service that has been delivering some pretty flavorful dishes to homes and businesses over the last few weeks. Order by 8 p.m. from a menu that changes weekly, and you’ll likely get your dinner delivered by George himself, who is currently working out of the kitchen at Pasta Italiano in Westfield. Many of the recipes are classics from Comida, but all of them play off of his current taste or whim.
Highlights of last week’s menu included well-seasoned cornmeal-crusted catfish with just the right crunch and spice. A side of creamy cheddar grits took a gentle kick from poblanos, completing a satisfying comfort dish with some subtle international influences. “Growing up in New Jersey,” George says, “we had a lot of different cuisines and flavors available. It was always a little of this or a little of that—it wasn’t just one style of cooking.” That culinary heritage showed in a half-rack of sweet and spicy sticky ribs with just a bit more chew than your typical barbecue joint and clear influences from Asia and the Caribbean. A hearty bed of island-style rice made for a great foil to the rich pork.
Desserts came more directly from the American baking lexicon but were especially impressive. A slice of oatmeal cream pie married a chewy, earthy oatmeal crust with a gooey, sweet caramel filling reminiscent of Derby pie. And George’s Million Dollar oatmeal-walnut cookies didn’t disappoint, with tons of chocolate chunks to balance the chewy cookie.
George hopes to eventually reopen Comida, which wasn’t eligible for government pandemic funding, but catering and delivery will likely be in his plan long into the future. In addition to ordering from Flavour Unit’s weekly menus, you can also support Comida by way of George’s GoFundMe campaign—both delicious options for those wanting to support one of Indy’s black-owned businesses at an important moment of racial awareness.