Over this four-year span, I've tried almost all of these eateries at least once, with one notable exception. Komi, the six-year old restaurant of Johnny Monis, has ruled Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants List for the past two years...and happens to be less than half a block away from my apartment.
BUT...then came the magic of Christmas. I decided that one of my Christmas presents to Mark would be dinner at Komi, and was finally able to finagle a reservation for a Thursday night a couple of weeks ago.
The interior of the restaurant is minimally decorated, bare walls and dim lighting, yet it still felt cozy. From our table in the middle of the tiny, 38-seat restaurant, we could see directly into the kitchen, and throughout our meal, we kept glancing in, hoping to catch a glimpse of the 29-year old chef-owner (and I think we did at the end). The servers were quietly friendly, attentive and unobtrusive. But really, our attentions were dominated by the parade of amazing little mezzethakia that just kept coming.
I'm pretty sure that photos are not allowed at Komi, and there is no written list of the dishes that were presented to us that night, so immediately after dinner (and I mean immediately. It took about 30 seconds to walk home) we sat down to try to recreate the list of dishes we had from memory. Here is what we came up with:
Kampachi sashimi with fleur de sel and chives
Japanese fluke carpaccio with fresh grated wasabi
Duo of scallop (crudo with black truffle with dill mustard sauce and a tartare preparation)
Salmon belly tartare with candied pine nuts, shisho sorbet
Pork belly slider
Brioche w/lemon creme fraiche and trout roe
Fried Ceasar salad ball
Serrano ham with arugula, pear, and fried haloumi
Charred baby octupus with grilled baby artichoke
Date with mascarpone and sea salt
Spanikopita with egg yolk
Quail ragu with fresh pappardelle
Slow roasted goat shoulder with pita, roasted root vegetables and five condiments (greek oregano w/sea salt, roasted eggplant puree, house made hot sauce, pickled cabbage, tzatziki)
Goat cheese with candied fennel and grissini
Oatmeal cookie cream sandwich
Frozen deconstructed baklava
Caramel apple ice cream
House made banana rum lollipop
Our favorites were the pork belly slider, the brioche, the mascarpone-stuffed dates, and the slow roasted goat (which came with out-of-this-world pita). I almost wish that I had taken a little notebook with me to record my thoughts on each dish as I ate it, but then again, that may have taken away from the fantastic experience. What I can say is that, across the board, the food at Komi is beautiful, elegantly simple, creative and delicious. While we didn't necessarily love every single dish, there wasn't a single element of the meal that wasn't incredibly thoughtful and thought-provoking. All in all, the best dining experience I've had so far (in life!), and well worth the money.