Last night I had the pleasure of dining at Komi. It's considered the best restaurant in Washington, DC on most lists and rankings, but somehow has a way of remaining mysterious. I walk past the restaurant regularly, but it's very hard to see what exactly is going on inside from the street. While it's hard to describe a multi-course dinner with no menu that spans multiple hours, I did want to mention a few of my favorite things, and reiterate the wonderful dining experience. The interior is simple, warm, understated, and beautiful. There is nothing pretentious or overly decorated, just a beautiful dimly lit room with a window that allows a view into the kitchen. The food comes at a leisurely pace which I love as it allows you to talk, digest, enjoy your wine, and to focus on the flavors of each course. The Mezzethakia, or small plates, come out in progression from bites to heartier courses as the meal moves along. Chef and owner Johnny Monis invokes the Greek food and flavors he grew up with as a child both in the area, and by visiting his family in the Greek islands. A few amazing highlights from the meal last night:
- Towards the beginning of the meal we were served a small bite of spanikopita that we were instructed to eat in one bite. Sitting atop a layer of thick greek yogurt, this small pie created a small explosion in my mouth of spinach and cheese with the tart yogurt for balance.
- The marscapone stuffed dates topped with sea salt are a Komi classic. They come out piping hot, and they are one of the most delicious bites you will ever consume. The salt adds a nice texture to the soft consistency of the date, and it also cuts the sweetness of the flavors. I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert every day of the week.
- The pasta course was a perfect intermediary dish; it was hearty yet a perfectly small portion to keep you hungry for the heavier dishes to come. Last night's special was a handmade pappardelle with a lamb ragu topped with celery and Pecorino. The noodles were thick and eggy, and the sauce was delicious with a touch of cinnamon and spice.
- The main course was a roasted goat served with hot pita, and lovely Mediterranean accoutrements such as tzatziki, red onion mostarda, red peppers, and a sea salt. The goat had a crispy layer on top, but was also moist and fell off the bone quite easily. The meat with some lemon squeezed on top and the pita with the homemade tzatziki was divine.
I had a wonderful meal, and I was incredibly impressed with the high quality service. The staff works as a team, and each member is an expert in explaining the dishes in full detail, and they also did a great job of making us feel welcome. The suggested wines were well done, and they treated us to a lovely dessert wine towards the end of the meal which went nicely with the sweeter dishes as the night came to a close. Komi is open Tuesday-Saturday and takes reservations by phone one month in advance of the calendar date you wish to dine at the restaurant.
1509 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036