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Komi, 17th & P Streets


therese
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  My appretizer was fois gras covered with white anchoivies ($9).  The fois gras was as good as any I have had recently in the US but would not be something special in France.  I was looking forward to tasting the melange of anchovy and fois gras but the combination did nothing to enhance either.

What's the name of the restaurant again? WD-50.5?

Color me stupid...but I don't get it...explain?

This is what HOOLIGAN is referring to.

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

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

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  • 1 month later...

Pleasant dinner at Komi last night. The initial crush has subsided a bit and the atmosphere was mellow when we sat down at 7:30, followed by a steady flow through the doors that kept the place about 4/5ths full until we wobbled out some time after 10:30. Interesting, mixed 17th St. crowd and everyone looked pretty happy -- although the dressed-for-later club kid with the sheer Grecian blouse and no underpinnings did look a bit flustered after she turned most of the unshaved male heads with her teeter (eds: ahaha) across the room.

I thought the cooking was noticeably improved from the restaurant's early days, with only one misfire coming to our table of four: a very bland pork tenderloin that wasn't improved by a rather gritty black tea crust. Other dishes ranged from good to excellent -- with distinctions going to the salmon pastrami (just added to the menu, our server said) and the tiny, juicy cuttlefish served with a massive, stuffed and perfectly fried squash blossom. They do a good cheese course, too, and were pleasant enough to assemble a custom spread (requirement=all pasteurized) for the pregnant member of the party. Those of us who can still drink drank the L'Crocodile Viognier and quite a lot of a Monastrell-based dessert wine. The homemade cinnamon suckers are on sabbatical, replaced for now by frozen, salted watermelon pops. Service was prompt and solicitous, though the reverent recital of the dishes as they reach the table remains a bit too precious for my taste. In general, we left saying: "We should come here more often."

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Had a mellow, satisfying dinner at Komi last week on Thursday. Getting a reservation was a bit of work, i.e. "can't take you at 8...how about 8.30?" but when I came in, the place was at 50% seating capacity. Things of this nature happen, though, so I wouldn't hold a grudge.

Love the decor. So many people are doing the Asian-inspired fusion thing these days, but I really liked the spareness and comfort of the dining room. Bread was an assortment of crispy flatbreads with apricot chutney. Had to restrain self from loading up on the bread before food arrives.

Amuse was a thick cauliflower-almond soup with a touch of curry. Now, ordinarily I am not a soup person, less so of a cream soup person, and even less so a cauliflower soup person. But this was enjoyable, and the mini-pitcher presentation was (I thought) hilarious.

Appetizer was cuttlefish with squash blossom. I am a huge fan of cuttlefish, and for this reason I don't like it to be too cooked in the oversauced sort of thing, but this was just to my taste - done lightly with a flavor, but not physical presence, of garlic. Squash blossom goes fine with ricotta filling, but the sauce could use a bit more tang.

Main dish: lamb with lentils and spinach and sour cherry glaze. Loved it loved it. Lamb was just seared, crunchy lentils went nicely with spinach, and cherry sauce offset the lamb flavor very well. Skipped dessert. Check for two people (two glasses of sparkling each, appetizer and entree was $99 - a giggle-inducing number by the end of the meal).

Why I loved Komi:

1. Classy food in the neighborhood that cries for some. I mean, come on - this is Dupont Circle, allegedly the land of artsy galleries, funky shops and people in designer jeans, that's supposed to have all kinds of food options, so why did I have to either eat ghetto sushi at Taro or haul bottom to North Dupont? Nice ingredients, well-presented, nothing revolutionary, but I didn't want any. Just a place with taste and good food.

2. Manageability of portions. For me, as a European transplant of five years, that's very important, as I will never forget how I was brought to tears when I first saw the size of my salad in Houston, TX. "I have to eat dessert, too?" Komi portions are enough to satisfy the palate and feel the flavor, but do not leave you stuffed, and why would you wanna be stuffed, anyway???

Just my 0.02c.

Resident Twizzlebum

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  • 3 months later...

When I woke up this morning, there was a brown recluse next to me. I thought I was still asleep and dreaming, but I was certain of what I heard:

“Go to Komi tonight.”

I blinked and tried to wake up, but the spider was still there.

“Leave me be,” I said in a haze, and rolled back to sleep.

This evening there remained only a vague memory, but looking out from the restaurant onto 17th Street, the night outside becoming colder after the earth had spun away, sitting there tucked into a pocket of warmth and depth and heart, I knew that I had been awake this morning, and that I had not been alone.

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  • 1 month later...

Finally got to Komi last night for dinner and had a terrific tasting menu (details later as I am still trying to remember everything). Thank you Chef Monis for a great meal and to you too Sebastian for the wonderful wine pairings.

All I can say is, if you have not been, GO!

In addition to the items mentioned by hillvalley below we also had the following. Please excuse any errors or omissions as I am doing this from memory.

Jumbo lump crabmeat with sea urchin, avocado, and red grapefruit.

Pickled and deviled quail egg with Serrano ham and grilled frisse. An interesting take on ham and eggs that worked very well together.

Foie gras mousse with shaved black truffles, apples, and phyllo crisp.

The next two courses were absolutely wonderful. The first was a piece of white tuna wrapped in speck that was served on a bed of a orzo, peppers (I think), and garlic. The next course was a piece of pork belly and pork loin served with brussel sprouts and huckleberry reduction. This was probably my favorite course of the entire meal.

The cheese course was a wonderful assortment of cheeses that I wish I would have written down.

Dessert was the perfectly cooked sugar covered donuts and a piece of chocolate cashew cake with candied kumquats. The donuts are served with a delicious hot chocolate for dunking.

Edited to add the details of the dinner.

Edited by mdt (log)
Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.
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I had the pleasure of experiencing Komi for the first time through their tasting menu a few nights ago. It was the perfect way to enjoy the many talents of both the front and back of the house. These are a few highlights.

The meal was started simply but exquisitely. One perfectly shucked oyster (Malpeque I think) topped with a touch of creme freche and caviar. The creme freche brought out the creamy texture of the oyster while the caviar added another layer of the sea that heightened the briny finish. The presentation was beautiful. The oyster was presented on a block of shaved ice. Simple and elegant. It was the perfect beginning to the meal.

Our second course brought together marinated yellow tail, fingerling potato crisps and taramasalata. The yellowtail had capers and the thinnest slices of cornichon that I have ever seen mixed in along with a subtle dressing. The three components of the course were presented individually with the direction to place a bit of fish on the potato and top with the taramasalata. For our first bite we followed the directions. I was concerned that the flavor of the potato would be lost under such heavy flavors. Of course, I was wrong. With the first bite you immediately taste the fish, capers and cornichon. Then just a bit of the taramasalata. But it was the finish of the bite that surprised me. Lingering there, in the background, was the potato. Brilliant. Separately the three parts of the dish were fine. Combined together they took fish and chips to a whole new level.

A bit later came a grilled mushroom salad served with the current amuse, mushroom cappuccino. The soup was creamy with a touch of coffee (or was it chocolate) bringing out the earthy flavor of the mushroom. The salad joined the mushrooms with asparagus and ciliegine (mozzarella). The cheese added a bit of body to the delicately grilled mushrooms. The two dishes together played a great game of compare and contrast.

Finally, at last, after long wait, I experienced the crackers. Oh those crackers. I had heard. I had read. I was not disappointed. The first was on the sweet side topped with flecks of nori. The second was flavored with paprika. Last, but certainly not least, was the asiago cheese and red pepper flakes. When eaten in the order presented in the basket your mouth goes on a short trip full of different yet complimentary flavors.

Sebastian's cheese plate was excellent. I do not remember all the different cheeses, but his goat and two blue still stand out in my mind. After a couple of heavier dishes the cheese was a perfect beginning of the end. The cheese was served with simply flavored crackers. I assume they are the made of the same dough as the infamous crackers, without any additional seasoning. Perfect vessels to enjoy the nuances of each cheese.

Of course we had the donuts, along with three other decandent desserts. There is little left to say but they are really as good as their hype. Even if the rest of the meal had not been sublime, the Chef would have redeemed himself with his ending.

The service was perfect, attentive without being intruding. At times our waitress seemed to enjoy watching me giggle with each first bite. (I did that a lot.) Sebastian is as gracious and wonderful as his dreaminess over at Firefly. There must have been something in the water back in the '80s and early '90s out in the MD burbs. Chef Monis and his staff have many talents, all of which were displayed on a perfect Friday evening.

Edited by hillvalley (log)

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Without a doubt Komi is one of my favorite places in town.

And I've been meaning to say, it's one place where dessert is as memorable and as special as the beginning of the meal. I've never actually seen pastry chef, Robert Underwood there; maybe he doesn't look like he stepped out of the pages of Vogue or more than likely it's because he's there when we are not, slaving away in the wee hours.

It's been nearly two months since my last visit, but when is it a bad time to appreciate Underwood's beautiful homemade sorbets?

I forgot how heavenly simple sorbet can be. It's a perfect way to end a good meal when the texture and flavor is like the trio I had at Komi. Vibrant cantaloup, concord grape and cranberry. The three were bright and bursting with flavor, invigorating my entire mouth at a point when I was pleasantly full and had thought I was done tasting for the night. There wasn't one flavor better than the next; they were all soft and clean, not too acidic or cold, as to blast the taste buds. Memorable and refreshing.

And then there was the flight of dessert wines, courtesy of Sebastian.

Sebastian, bouquet to you!

The flight started with a sparkling Muscat from Asti Italy called Marenco, sweet but slightly dry and sparkly with tropical flavors. Next, a Samos Kourtaki, a Greek Muscat, "very different than other muscats, Sebastian told me,

"this one is very viscous, smells of raisin and alcohol." It was delightful, more sherry-like, I admit, but I liked it very much. The next was a sparkling Malvasia from Casorzo Italy. It was like a glass of sparkling raspberry juice, very light and refreshing. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but that one was delicious too and wasn't encompassed by the fruity sorbets. The last wine was Silvano Garcia Monastrell. It was deep and rich like a port , full of prune and black olive with a subtle sweetness. I think I remember that one as my favorite, but they were all precious.

It's like the caramels and cookies at Palena, a fit ending. The whole package at Komi, the staff's skill and passion, all of it deserves my praise and attention

(even months after a meal).

Edited by morela (log)

...

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hey there just a correction for you Mdt, the Tuna is actually on a bed of farro(Egyptian king) with sweet n sour squash. Not trying to be a snot, Im impressed you guys even remember having tuna!!!! :wink: (thats the face I make after that much wine!!! )

cheers

Is it just me....or do you hate it when people say....is it just me?

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hey there just a correction for you Mdt, the Tuna is actually on a bed of  farro(Egyptian king) with sweet  n sour squash.  Not trying to be a snot, Im impressed you guys even remember having tuna!!!! :wink: (thats the face I make after that much wine!!! )

cheers

It's all my fault! We tried to figure out for the longest time what it was, and I made the wrong call. It was a stellar experience, one of the best ever. And you're right, there wasn't much I could remember at the point of tuna.

Resident Twizzlebum

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hey there just a correction for you Mdt, the Tuna is actually on a bed of  farro(Egyptian king) with sweet  n sour squash.  Not trying to be a snot, Im impressed you guys even remember having tuna!!!! :wink: (thats the face I make after that much wine!!! )

cheers

Regardless of the amount of wine we had, that meal was way too good to forget what I ate. What I really want is a list of all the wines that we tried.

Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.
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We came, we saw, we ate, we were Komi-ed last night.

I think MDT and Hillvalley do a pretty good job describing the dishes so I won't go into a whole heck of alot of detail...but spend your ducts at Komi and definitely go with the tasting menu. We went with the 9 course menu, which turned into 11 with the amuses.

We started off with a Malapaque Oyster with caviar, creme fraishe, and vinegar. The presentation is stunning, napkin on plate, pyramid of crushed ice, with an oyster on the half shell perched on top. The oyster was briney and delicious.

Next was Hamachi, crispy fingerlings, whipped Greek caviar. Each ingredient is served on a tray in its own little compartment. Scoop up the hamachi with the fingerling, which is like a small crispy waffer, then top with the caviar. Another light but tasty dish.

Crab and Sea Urchin, blood orange, avocado, yogurt. This dish comes in a wide shallow bowl, with a tiny pile of crab and sea urchin, orange (although I thought he said it was grapefruit) and avocado, the yogurt is painted across the axis of the bowl.

Quail egg, pickled and deviled, 16 month Serrano ham, grilled frisee. A small spoon with the quail egg perched on it, a long strip of ham which ends at a small bundle of the frisee.

Mushrooms two ways, one served as a cappuccino with cardamon and yogurt. The other with basil, fennel, ciligiene...the cappuccino is the winner here.

Foie Gras, black truffle, chocolate, picked apple. The foie comes as small rectangular log, sprinkle with a little chocolate and topped with a thin slice of the apple. My impression of this dish was that it was like a box of fancy chocolate, with the foie acting as the nuget, it was soft and creamy and had chocolate flavor from the dark chocolate sprinkled on top. It was definitely a superior foie dish.

Speck Wrapped White Tuna, farro, sweet-sour squash, beet tzatziki. I'm not sure how they cook this dish, the speck (apparently a smoked Italian ham?) was almost crispy and the tuna inside was incredibly moist. I wasn't sure of this dish at first, but really enjoyed it.

Black Tea smoked bacon, brussel sprouts, apple, and some kind of berry jam (elder, huckle?). This was a version of a dish that they had on the menu last spring (it might still be on the menu, not sure), but this dish is all about the pork belly baby...

Veal Cheeks, parnsip, yellowfoot chanterelle, cinnamon. I think this was my favorite dish...lets follow up pork belly with some melt in your mouth veal cheek.

Cheese course...an excellent cheese course two trays, 10 cheeses! We were too hammered at this point to remember what was served, just lots of creamy goodness.

Dessert, a trio was served: banana, marcapone milkshake; apple gratin, blue cheese ice cream, and of course the infamous housemade donuts.

Bottles of wine we enjoyed:

Hillinger Welschriesling, 2003 Burgenland Austria

Anton Bauer Cuvee #8, 2002 Osterreich, Austria

Novelty Hill Syrah, 2002 Columbia Valley Washington.

Sebastian was also kind enough to match a couple glasses of wine with dishes for us:

Lowenstein Riesling, 2003 Rheingau, Germany with the mushroom course

Coloma Viura Blanca, 2003 Alvarado, Spain with the foie...if you haven't tried this wine try it...it's excellent

Li Veli Negroamoro, 2002, Salento, Italy with the cheese.

All I can say is wow, this definitely one of the top meals being served in DC right now. Sebastian and the front of the house took great care of us, especially in our drunken obnoxious state at the end of the meal. Thank you all!

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  • 1 month later...

Komi is becoming an answer to so many things.

Want a romantic evening where fabulous food and wine make you swoon in delight? Go to Komi.

Want to catch up with a girlfriend with dinner and drinks being a quiet compliment to the conversation? Go to Komi.

Want to break a non-foodie friend into what good food is REALLY like? Go to Komi.

Want to experience a meal that honestly makes you wish your stomach was twice as big so that you can enjoy dish no. 7 as much as dish no. 1? Komi is the answer.

Last Friday, yet again, Sebastian and Johnny kicked arse. The dining room was packed and booming, and it's great to see a place so deserving of being busy actually being busy.

Amuse of mushroom capuccino soup just enough to tease and prepare for the goodies to come. Smooth texture, very slight taste of yoghurt.

Homemade box o'crackers that is a delight in itself. Particularly like the fennel, slightly sweet ones and can easily imagine making a meal out of them for the carb-unconsious.

Salmon pastrami with grainy mustard (?) on triangles of homemade crackers. First piece wolfed down, second piece treasured and admired.

Marinated yellowtail with capers, fingerling potato chips and smooth dip (creamy with a hint of chickpeas?) Adorable presentation that makes the whole thing workable. Beautiful slivers of fish and unexpected combinations of flavors that are right for each other.

Now for actual appetizers (and you thought that was above? wrong, wrong, wrong.)

Crispy fried sardines with spinach spiked with pine seeds and raisins (I think.) Did I detect curry in the sardine batter? Oysters with creme fraiche and smidge of caviar, best presentation in town that involves a block of ice and a snow white napkin, and very satisfying slurping.

Mains: Ribeye steak for my friend, day boat scallops for me. (This is the time when I began to wish for doubled capacity of stomach.) I was only able to enjoy the steak by looking because there is no way I could even try that AND do justice to my scallops. It looked beautiful, pink juicy slices...mmm.

My scallops were one of these dishes where you love the main and the garnish equally. They came on a bed of quinoa, dates and something green (chard?) fashioned into a narrow rectangular strip on which beautiful plump scallops were set. Loved the sweetness of quinoa against the scallops, loved the texture, loved the taste.

Desserts by this time were an exercise in pure gluttony, but right now, staring at my Campbell's can of soup for lunch, I think of them very longingly. Apple crisp with blue cheese ice cream and caramelized banana sliced on homemade graham crackers. (Komi now has a pastry chef, Robert Underwood.) Loved the kick of blue cheese on apple crisp, what a delightful twist on a traditional combo.

In my mind, Komi has firmly become a showcase for quiet, sophisticated, non-flashy QUALITY in everything it does - food, service, ingredients, presentation, and decor. Nothing here is designed to floor you in the first second, but as you settle into your dinner experience, you can't help but notice this unrelenting attention to every detail on and off your plate that translates into a first-rate experience. (In figure skating, there is a term "polish" applied to skaters who not simply do their elements, but carry them through in every detail: stretched legs, pointed toes, arched spines and immaculate carriage...as in, "she is a very polished skater." These skaters make it look easy but their concentration does not flag for one moment. Very hard to do and quite effective. Well, Komi is a very polished restaurant. )

I can't say enough about how great the food is from start to finish, from sourcing of ingredients to unexpected combos of flavors and just overall respect of good taste. My ardent hope is that a place with so much goodness in it continues to prosper happily ever after.

Edited by Nadya (log)

Resident Twizzlebum

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After the meal jenrus and I had last night, I'm kicking myself that I waited a year and a half to finally make it to Komi.

We went with the tasting menu. I think they said seven courses, but it took some serious thinking to remember that in reality we ended up with what amounted to 13 courses when you count multiple amuses, sorbet and several desserts. And lots of really good wines with the wine pairing.

The course I can't get out of my head was a piece of tuna, wrapped in speck and served over a grain pilaf of some sort. One of the richest most flavorful fish dishes I've ever been served. And my first epoisses courtesy of Sebastian's enourmous cheese course made me realize what the allure of runny stinky cheeses are (although the one he described as smelling and tasting like a barnyard was a little much).

This is the type of place we need more of in this town. It's not a big, glossy corporate showplace and it's not overwhelmingly expensive. And most of all they are turning out really good cooking. That's what's really important.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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  • 2 weeks later...

Komi was Komilicious last night

We started off with the mushroom cappacino soup that they have been serving all winter as the amuse and a box of the house made crackers.

For starters we had the asparagus, mushrooms, and micro basil salad, a very light and refreshing plate. We also had the charcuterie plate, which came with two small slices of chicken pate, salumi (which was excellent), and serrano ham, all accompanied by a small bowl of pickles and a little pot of mustard.

we then split a bowl of the grilled squid (unfortunately they were out of the sardines). Unfortunately this was the one clanger of a dish. The beans were undercooked and the sauce just wasn't coming together. However, the squid was perfectly cooked, three body segments and plenty of tenticle parts.

We then moved on to the main courses. The roast chicken was really well done, crisp skin which came with a small pot of a maple glaze (forget what was exactly in the sauce), along with some sauteed rapini kicked up with garlic and red pepper flakes. I had the tea smoked pork, mainly because I wanted the pork belly! It came with the usual brussel sprouts, apple and bacon. wonderful as always.

For dessert we ended up spliting an order of the donuts.

I was talking to the waitress and apparently alot of people don't know what to think about the pork belly, which wasn't making Chef Monis very happy. I suggested that for people in the know, they should be able to order the dish without the tea smoked pork and get a double order of the pork belly...she smiled and said, next you are here place that order, it will make the chef smile.

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  • 1 month later...

I just have to echo what people have already been posting about Komi. Last night was my first visit and the food and service were equally amazing. Evan our server, who some may remember from Palena, was fantastic-- as personable as he was knowledgable about the food and wine list.

One of the things that really stood out about the food here sounds kinda odd but I couldn't believe how good everything smelled when it was laid out before me- building such anticipation for that first bite. I was not disappointed once!

Some highlights included a fantastic amuse of celery root and marcona almond soup accented with 25-year aged balsamic.

Hen of the woods mushrooms with homemade pasta that was somehow rustic and delicate at the same time.

Tweaked-- I could've eaten two plates of just that pork belly!

The chef here combines ingredients in such a way that everything complements each other perfectly. Case in point--we ordered a dessert of devil's food cake, chile gelato and marshmallow puff, my friend had a bite of just the cake and gelato and was thinking hmmm this is a strange combination. But after having a bite with all three elements together she loved it!

Can't wait to go back!

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  • 3 months later...

I had an off the charts meal at Komi last night!

The amuse of dates stuffed with marscapone cheese were absolutely spectacular. We were really dissapointed when our lovely server wasn't able to procure for us another plate even if we were willing to pay.

My first course consisted of tempura fried squash blossums filled with riccotta. Included on the plate were a ramesco sauce, a beef carpaccio of sort, some lightly par boiled fava beans, and lightly roasted olives. Really well put together I'm impressed at how the flavors of each really stood out and I like the relatively little saucing.

Next course was the sea urchin rissoto. If you are a uni fan run don't walk to KOMI for this course. There is a nice size portion of ultra fresh uni placed on top of the rissoto which was made with lobster stock. The Uni makes this risotto jump off the plate with a rich creamy brine essence that is un-mistakeable. Fantastic.

Then came the smoked and spit roasted suckling pig served with a polenta of sorts and small brussel sprouts. This worked so well together. The smoke was deep and rich the portion which reminded me of an osso bucco was so tender and falling off the bone, perfectly cooked and in need of nothing else. This was not sauced either and I was really happy with that since the pork was soooo flavorful.

Finally the fresh made doughnuts with chocolate (and something else) marscapone topping out of this world. This was my first KOMI experiance but I'll definetly be back soon. It was a little warm in there once the place filled up and got a bit loud as well but all in all just a wonderfull meal.

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