Borderstan welcomes a new food writer to the team, Kim Vu. A DC resident since 2005, he works in international development by day. He also has his own food blog, DC Wrapped Dates. Follow him at @dcwrappeddates or email him at kim[AT]borderstan.com.
The best meals are the ones you relive over and over again, year after year; Komi remains that way for me. Still, with the opening of Little Serow and its accompanying hype, it’s fairly easy to forget Johnny Monis’s old place in favor of his new baby, what with the restaurant’s “no reservations” rule and its relatively low price point at Little Serow.
And beyond that, the now four straight No. 1’s in the Washingtonian Top 100 means that the Greek-Mediterranean spot needs no further plaudits. Still, here are three quick reasons on why you need to grab a table at Dupont Circle’s Komi for your next special occasion:
All the Perks of an Upscale Restaurant; None of the Pretention
Unlike most of its “Best Restaurant in DC” contemporaries, which sometimes make you feel uncomfortable if you’re sans blazer, Komi is casual and low-key, its clean rustic country atmosphere building a level of comfort over pretention. What’s more, it features some of the best service in the city, led by gregarious sommelier Kat Bangs; on our trip, she not only nailed the pairings, but was friendly and engaging. For a dinner that needs to be just right, it’s these little things that cinch up a great night.
A Tasting Menu Designed for Interaction
Perhaps no other kitchen in the city seamlessly combines innovation with clean, traditional flavors better than Komi. On our trip, a classic and delicate kingfish duo of loin with chives and belly with juniper came right before a dish that blended burrata and sea urchin. Moreover, the latter courses are entirely family style, capped by a shared suckling goat or lamb or Wagyu beef filet.
Wandering through this menu with friends or dates means constantly asking the other person, “What do you think about this combination?” or sharing a delicious bite between the table. Then again, the conversation really might just end up being, “Mmmmm.”
Two Words: Spanakopita, Half-Smoke
That being said, two of my favorite dishes of the night – and two of the recurring ones on Chef Monis’s constantly shifting menu — were plays on time-honored classics (and delicious ones at that). Komi’s spanakopita is a one-bite breaded ball, with liquid spinach inside the crust. Beautifully creamy and just the right amount of hot, it’s a brilliant bite that for me recalled Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the restaurant’s take on DC’s signature dish is just as sharp, an entirely housemade sausage on a brioche bun with a flavor and texture pattern that tasted more like high-end steak than Ben’s Chili Bowl.
It takes a lot for a restaurant to live up to its hyperbole, but amazingly Komi lives up to it, and often exceeds it.
For a play-by-play of the meal, visit DC Wrapped Dates.