Komi is the award-winning opus of Chef Johnny Monis, named after a beach on Chios Island, Greece where his parents were born. It has no à la carte menu, but offers instead an ever-changing tasting menu that showcases Chef Johnny’s skills. The key to a perfect night at Komi starts with reserving early and stating any dietary restrictions, for you will be relinquishing control to very capable hands.
A small restaurant with 12 tables, it’s great for impressive dates and special occasions. Reminiscent of a Greek tavern, Komi has dark wood furnishings simply decorated with the glow of candles, yet it is the service and attitude that is most inviting. Out of respect for the restaurant’s no-photography policy, I’ll do my best to describe the experience through words.
You’ll receive the attention of several servers who happily bring wine and a steady parade of tasty morsels. You will taste exquisite bites as you move to a fun, quirky soundtrack led by Peter, Bjorn and John. A trio of crudo starts with buttery hamachi yellowtail tuna with chives and sea salt; madai red snapper with crispy sumac onions; then ends with a sinfully rich kindai farm-raised bluefin tuna in tuna broth and freshly grated wasabi.
There are silky diver scallops served two ways–thinly sliced on the shell with bright, sweet blood orange and crunchy tatsoi; and playfully nestled on a silver spoon with pickled beets and buttery, tart sea urchin vinaigrette. House made biscuits with cool, poached Maine lobster and celery root call to mind a lobster roll in summer, but is still best left on a New England buttered roll.
Spinakopita croquettes are battered squares topped with cheese…in a bed of cheese. Eaten in one bite, it pops like a cherry tomato, filling the mouth in warm, creamy cheese. Yukon Gold potato gnocchi is soft and melts in the mouth, decadent with sea urchin butter and salty Osetra caviar. Overhead, you’ll hear the folksy sounds of The Builders and the Butchers, who sound like young Bob Dylan.
From light to lavish, the savory dishes end with signature katsikaki sun-roasted young goat shoulder. So fork tender is the meat, it falls off the bone with a taste that is clean, fine and not gamey. There are secret stashes of lush fat for extra flavor. You will never find fluffier house-made pita with which to make your own mini sandwiches, accompanied by a sprinkle of lemon, cucumber-dill tzatziki, pickled cabbage, eggplant cilantro purée, house-made hot sauce, or wild oregano sea salt.
Sweet endings come in the form of frozen baklava, deconstructed into whisper-soft wafers that feel like butterfly wings on your tongue, followed by cool vanilla ice cream, sweet honey and crunchy nuts. Loukoumades are crispy, dense Greek donuts which taste like beignets, topped with honey and powdered sugar. Dip into the sweet chocolate tahini or satiny lemon curd.
The Greek-inspired multi-course progressive dinner is $135 per person, with optional wine pairing for an additional $70. Reservations are highly recommended, and are accepted one month in advance, starting at 12 pm. Groups are not ideal, as Komi cannot accomodate parties larger than four.
1509 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.