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Komi, 17th & P Streets


therese
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I was in D.C. this week for work and ended up at this restaurant, referred there by the receptionist (or whoever answered the phone) at Nectar (where I didn't go because we hadn't booked ahead of time and my dining companions were not willing to wait until 9:30, though I certainly would have).

Anyway, cute place with open kitchen in the back featuring a wood-burning oven (so particularly cozy on a chilly evening), generally very good food. The best thing I had was my main, crispy arctic char served with some wilted greens and tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. My appetizer was scallops with salmon roe, served in the shell on ice, a bit on the understated side. For dessert I chose plum (and something) soup, mostly because it sounded interesting. The soup itself was too sweet for my taste, but it was fine tempered with the scoop of buttermilk (or some other similar cultured dairy product) sorbet/ice cream. A bit heavy-handed with the salt in some instances (according to my dining companions), but overall very good.

Any other experiences? I did a search here and couldn't find it, but perhaps I've gotten the name or spelling wrong.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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It's altogether possible that we're talking about Kumi (though maybe it was Komi all along?). I can't find either a Yellow Pages or a Google hit that allows me to either rule in or rule out either possibility.

Has anybody else been?

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Yeah, no liquor. They did have some sort of cocktails listed, included a mojito made with muscat.

Glad to hear that it's really Komi, as I tend to be pretty good with visual memory stuff, and the sign outside is pretty big.

We didn't do pizza, but the other things were good. We had a nice wine, a pinot noir called (I think) Pinno.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Never went to Vivo. Always wanted to, but never made it.

I'm going to watch this place closely, as it's right around the corner from me. Went with a large group of people on opening night. Had already eaten, so I just had drinks. Food looked good, and I didn't hear any negative comments, so I'll take that as a positive. Hopefully they'll open for lunch, so I don't have to make the BDC trek for Monday lunch.

Space is attractive, staff is friendly, I think it'll be a nice addition to my hood.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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Anything good to eat on that vast wasteland of 17th street is a welcome addition... you can get plenty boozed up on the strip... but for food...good food?

there is nothing to eat there except damn good and consistent sushi @ sushi taro...or the occasional drunken gyro at 4 in the morning....

although I gotta say the space we're talking about has a rather cursed history (think roberto donna...)

listen to Black Sabbath..often

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Ain't a damn thing here. Had hopes for Logan Tavern but shutting for lunch is not good for me.

It seems eating anything in this corridor needs to be immediately followed by vast quantities of booze (for antiseptic purposes folks) at ye olde Fox and Hounds.

Help me obi-wan komi...You are my only hope.

If not, I'll just have to make the BDC trudge. Again.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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Jeebus, after all this talk on so many threads of BDC, I'm under the impression this must be the BEST restaurant in DC.

Nah. It only has the distinction of being the place that I frequent the most. Well, maybe the baby/screaming incident.

I am merely lamenting the fact that there ain't a damn thing to eat in my neighborhood, except for Dupont Italian Kitchen, but I'm not so sure I'd be welcome there.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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not the best restaurant in DC ( but doesn't try to be...it's a bistro...meat, salt, cheese, cream, booze...I'm happy)...but certainly one that contains a lotta drunk chefs around 2 in the AM on any given saturday nite (and a guy wearing really loud shirts too...)

listen to Black Sabbath..often

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Don't forget about MC Michel Verdot, rolling strong on the mic...

Anyway, I hope the Komi people do well, what I saw last week was enticing. Just hope they open for lunch, and I'll be there every Monday. That I can promise.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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Chef John, I think you'd be safe at DIK as long as you avoided the upstairs bar. :blink:

We always called 17th Street "the trough" when I lived down around there. I am hopeful that this place is good, but if not there's always Sushi Taro.

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I finally made it to Komi. I've been wanting to go since I posted the thread saying that "Kumi" was opening soon. (Whoops!) Anyhow, I'll give all the details before I start talking the place up. We had a lovely little tasting menu offered us by Chef/Owner Johnny Molise.

The amuse was a teacup of granny smith apple soup, a bit heavy on the salt, but lovely still. Our first course of the evening was gorgeous, three little scallop shooters served in their shells with cuccumber-watermelon water, salmon roe, and a spicy kick of mustard oil. They were beautifully refreshing and zesty.

Next came three perfect little napoleons of tuna, cucumber, and watermelon. Each layer was brushed with zesty herbs (I believe a bit of wasabi was in the mix.) and a leaf of chocolate mint topped each one.

Next came beautifully prepared bass, complete with crispy skin, and a perfect texture. The filet rested on crispy fingerling potatos, edamame, and a lobster emulsion (definitely a highlight of the meal, it tasted like movie-theater popcorn).

The last savory course was a crispy pork belly served with baby turnips, apples, and brussel sprouts. Now, it should be noted here that I like neither turnips nor brussel sprouts overmuch. I loved these. The turnips were mild and delightfully crunchy, and the brussel sprouts were definitely not the ones my mother insisted that I eat as a child. (I'm not quite sure it was even the same vegetable.) As a southerner I am particularly persnickity about my pork. The meat must be a perfect texture, the right amount of fat must be left on, etcetera, etcetera. This was as good as it gets, folks.

Komi is also joining the ranks of restaurants in DC doing a real cheese course. Five distinctly different and fun cheeses from all over the world. I don't know how many times I said "Just one more bite and then take it away."

Dessert was a super-high-fi hot cocoa with house made doughnuts to dip into it. Brilliant.

Beverage wise Evan, the dining room manager, set us up with a lovely bottle of Jossmeyer Riesling, from Alsace (a favorite of mine) which worked well with all the food. With the pork we had a very pleasant half bottle of Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir (don't remember the vintage). Very nice. The entire wine list is under $60 and very food friendly.

The service was very friendly and casual. And I highly reccomend going in for lunch or dinner.

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Komi is also joining the ranks of restaurants in DC doing a real cheese course. Five distinctly different and fun cheeses from all over the world.

I am so there. Everything else sounds great, but this puts it over the top.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I am so glad to hear this. 17th street is pathetic! Although I do love Skewers and Cafe Luna for no-fuss cheap breakfast and lunch in addition to Sushi Taro.

Does one need a reservation for Komi at this point? actually, having a great restaurant across the street could also be a bad thing! (ok hold on, i mean for the wallet and waistline)

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Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the pre-starter/amuse-gueule thing: a very rich soup, seems like roasted cauliflower and apple that night. Very good.

As to the need for reservations, we went on a Friday, and had called ahead (Nectar had actually called for us), but had no trouble getting in on short notice at 7:30. But I'd imagine that will change when the word gets out.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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I just got back from lunch at Komi on a (very) rare Wednesday off. Ate by myself, certainly enjoyed it.

To start; the apple-cauliflower soup with pine nuts and micro basil amuse. To think one would receive an amuse in this neighborhood is unfathomable. But it is very gracious and very good. I kept thinking to myself the juxtapositon of the semi-formal amuse and Johnny (chef) wearing his John Deere hat was too funny.

The wine list is small but reasonably priced with some cool stuff, like 4 Greek wines. For the record I had a glass of a Greek white (forgot already) and the 2001 Vinum mourvedre from Oakville for $49.

Starter was crispy sardines with Swiss chard, raisins and pine nuts. I don't order sardines much, can barely eat them when they show up at a table. These where delicious, crispy, full of flavor and well complimented by the chard and raisins. A lemon/curry oil added a nice touch of fragrance and acidity. Worked well with the white, even better with the Mourvedre.

Open faced lamb sandwich with arugula, yogurt and cucumbers with housemade pickles was the main course. A ton of sliced lamb was piled high on a brioche crouton, drizzled with cucumber yogurt and garnished with arugula. This appealed to my (pardon the reference) Arby's beef-n-cheddar and gyro addictions, and was quite tasty. But by no means the compare the three.

Dessert was easy. If there are about four choices, and one of them is a plum and bay leaf soup with yogurt sherbet (or the like), you have to go with that. Different and tasty.

Like the space. Like the staff. Like the menu that has an edge. I'll be back.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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"Like the space. Like the staff. Like the menu that has an edge. I'll be back."

Gotta agree with John. We went with two friends from Amsterdam hoping to find a still undiscovered gem of a restaurant quiet enough to talk over good food. We did. It's polished and full of charm already, with lots of potential still despite only being open for a short time. The staff has this kind of infectious enthusiasm which doesn't cross over the line--our cute, modern dance-studying, hip-as-a button, though-not-tall-enough-to-be-a-Vogue-model server was perfect all night.

I didn't think the wine list was as reasonably priced, and it certainly wasn't very deep (yet). There should be more good offerings under the $40 to $50 a bottle price point--we drank well last night--and chose a St. Supery meritage white, a Zellenberger riesling (instead of the other very good Alsace riesling by Josmeyer), and a malbec--but I'd like to see more bottles priced closer to $28 to $30, which drink above their price, if they expect neighborhood folks to eat there more than once a week. Still, they have a young wine guy obviously passionate about the juice, the choices seem very personal and eclectic, so expect movement and good things to keep happening on this front.

Last night we arrived at 7:30, left at 11:00--with no more than 1/4 of the tables occupied at the peak--and the food wasn't exactly served...expeditiously. Be prepared to linger, especially if the place gets busy, but I'm sure the kinks will be worked out when the place picks up some critical mass. It will have to.

As far as the food, my assessments probably echo those of Sietsema, John, therese and expatraver. It's very accessible comfort food, the chef is unafraid to use salt, he also likes strong flavors and all sorts of braised vegetables. Loved the sardines, perfectly fried and the wilted greens accompaniment, with the salty-preserved lemon taste elevating this from being mundane. The in the shell shots of scallop/roe/cucumber water/mustard seed oil (?) do shake you as you swallow--they've definitely been perked up therese. Perhaps too much. The one pizza crust we tried could have more inherent flavor but was still very nice, impeccably crisp. The bread basket had nice intense little asiago cracker things, an unadorned cup-o-soup amuse subtly flavored with curry, excellent salads--we had the pear/walnut/blue cheese--which is a better version of the salad you get elsewhere all over town--and the grilled asparagus/frisee/mushroom--which was great. Of the entrees I had the most of: that crisp-skinned striped bass dish was to die for, the thick square slab of pork belly (called "Polyface farms bacon" on the menu) was one small step from perfect--just the slightest bit less moist than it could have been--but still really engaging texturally. I didn't have any of the char dish--which was served without the special bean variety the chef brings back from Greece (must have run out) and I only had some braised endive from the hangar steak dish--but it reminded me that I don't have good braised endive like this enough.

Cheese plate--agreed, very nice selection of 5 progressively distinctive cheeses, an affordable $9 fix for junkies.

Desserts: Liked that fruit soup except it didn't have any discernable bay flavor--just two leaves stuck in the sorbet. The yogurt sorbet couldn't be detected above the much more dominant vanilla. Still, I sucked down that vanilla seed-inflected soup very easily and would again--also liked the molten chocolate cake with rock salt. Didn't find the donut French Laundry-like attempt too appealing. The ramekin of hot chocolate was not good--watery, insipid.

They have a good French-press style coffee and offer tea, in funky, incredibly heavy tea pots, but no black tea available as a selection last night. I found that strange. Green, peach, mint, and maybe chamomille, I forget.

It's a good sign for DC--in terms of national food status--that another new restaurant like this opened up, let's realize it's only been open for a few weeks and keep supporting this and others like it in that middle ground aiming higher--from Matchbox to Ella's to the likes of Firefly--which Komi will most likely, and correctly, be compared to. We might just grow a good, competitve food town here after all.

For four people before tip--3 bottles of wine, 3 bottles of water, a glass of a non-descript Greek white, 4 apps, 1 pizza, 4 entrees, 1 cheese plate, 3 desserts, coffee and tea: $337.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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had dinner tonite around 7:00...only 3 other tables...rather nervous staff, but friendly and not pretentious...had scallops with cucumber water and salmon roe, and mustard oil?...what ever it was added some wang to the dish...Halibut w/ back eyed peas, bacon, dandelion greens and some kinda lemon vinagrette was the entree...really solid cooking...great amuse... and it's nice to see someone writing a menu that delivers more than says.

listen to Black Sabbath..often

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I went last night and all I can say is "thank GOD we finally have a very good restaurant on 17th Street!"

We went with a couple who live two doors down and we were all quite excited. They do have a few improvements to make but all in all, a great place. The staff was excellent and very enthusiastic about the menu.

And the cheese course!! Hurrah!

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I didn't call before trying, so I didn't know until I showed up tonight that they're closed on Sundays. :sad: The menu looks great though, and I am delighted to see they support Polyface Farms by buying their bacon and Sunnyside Farms (I think that's where their beef is from) as well...both excellent vendors selling at the Dupont market on Sunday mornings. My friend and I vowed to hit them for lunch the week after Thanksgiving.

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Well, I am in town from Philly, so LiamDC, Mazman and I went over to Komi to try it out before heading to the 930 club for a show. The positive reviews had us pretty excited, I must say.

I arrived first, to a completely empty restaurant (at 6:30 pm, tho yes, it was a Monday night). The servers were attentive, got me a glass of wine (muscat-this was good), while I waited for the rest of my party. When the boys arrived tho, the servers seem to have disappeared--it took ages to place our order (a staff meal or tasting actually seemed to be going on in the open kitchen), and this continued throughout the meal--we were the 1st party to place an order, but by no means the first to get our food, nor the 1st to get the check--and we were in a hurry. In addition, our server was less than friendly.

In addition, the light over our heads was fluttering/flashing/ going out, which felt like a strobe light or something...they said PEPCO has caused the problem while doing some work but didn't offer to reseat us, or even offer much of an apology, they just made the explanation and left. And then played with turning down the lights several times, an unsuccessful attempt to minimize it.

Anothe issue-- LiamDC was served a wine glass that was covered in lint, and even had a hair in it --the wine we ordered (the Shiraz, right Mazman?) had already been poured into it. At least, once notified, another server replaced the glass and the wine.

Now, the food. Overall, my meal was pretty disappointing. I tried the scallops, and thought this was a pretty unsuccessful dish. The scallops were tiny, not much taste to them, and the cucumber water around them really didn't do anything to enhance or even complement their taste. Nor did the salmon roe, which again hardly tasted of anything. And texturally, the whole thing was a bit odd. I also had the pork belly--now, this was unlike any pork belly I've had anywhere else. It didn't even resemble pork belly-- it just looked like pork! The best I've had is at Fifth Floor in San Francisco, and a slightly less perfect version at WD-50, and this wasn't even in the same ballpark. Unlike Steve, I didn't find it engaging at all. To top it off, the turnips and brussel sprouts were undercooked--so undercooked I couldn't sink a fork into them. And the reddish sauce on the side was mysteriously bland.

Mazman had the chicken, and Liam the veal --both devoured their dishes, but I'll let them report.

I previously had every intention of trying dessert, but I was so underwhelmed by the whole experience, and due to the slow service we were running so late, that I didn't bother.

I admit, the menu itself got me excited. I had thoughts of Nectar, at even more reasonable prices. But IMHO, this place isn't it--at least not based on what I ate. Maybe it's a step up for DC--but again, IMHO that's not a terribly high bar to set. In Philly, this place wouldn't survive more than a few months. I know others will disagree with me, and I'm open to debate. But this litany of negative experiences should at least provide a full dissenting opinion.

ps. One thing I did like--the amuse, cauliflower soup. But it was overly salted.

And like Steve noted, the wine list is definitlely over-priced.

:sad:

Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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