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Komi and Kuma Reports-long

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Komi and Kuma Reports-long

sunshine | Aug 14, 2005 08:12 PM

Komi continues to excel, but the prices have also risen, so alas won't be eating there as often as before. This said, it's still a great deal for what you get. Same laid-back neighborhood restaurant with unpretentious service (please keep it this way). Starte with the "house-made maccherone" (prices $10-15). Partner had the sea urchin risotto in lobster broth as a starter and i had the gnocchi with house-cured guinciale and truffle brown butter. both delicious. i expected the sea urchin to be very fishy, instead it was buttery and rich in combo with the risotto. the gnocchi was light and swimming in the butter with the subtle yummy flavor of truffle. the guinciale was a bit overcooked for me (kinda tough to chew but I ate it up anyway). Entrees (range $25-30) were the roast suckling pig on polenta with brussel sprouts and apple-wood smoked bacon and the best, most interesting dish of the nite - the speck-wrapped tuna over a garlicky faro, spinach and garlic medley with beet tzatziki on the side. The pig was a generous shank surrounded by luscious tender meat, and the polenta was creamy. the bacon was just gilding the lily for any pork-lover. the tuna was amazing - tasted like some new kind of meat, not fish, cooked on the medium side. for dessert, greek style donuts with honey and a chocolate mascarpone pudding on the side. excellent - i prefer this version to the denser donut and hot chocolate version offered in the past. this place impresses without pretension, it's all about the food, and it's always a joy to visit. if you haven't been, komi is a must-try.

Kuma is for those desperate for Korean and stuck in D.C. with no way to get to the VA and MD burbs for the more authentic deal. Near AU-Tenleytown metro, it's a nice contemporary space with a sushi bar and a huge TV-karaoke set-up. Kuma has great sushi and a mostly Japanese menu with some nice bento box deals, yakisoba, tonkatsu and donburi also. We went for the Korean and had the bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, dolsot bibimbap and chap chae noodles with beef. The meat is pre-cooked (no table-top grill option), and the pan-chan (side dishes) are paltry (just some kimchee, bean sprouts and greens). The food is overall ok, good in a pinch. The bibimbap in the stone bowl was not hot enough so the rice didn't start to cook at the bottom. The chicken bulgogi is mildly spicy in a red sauce (not noted on the menu). All quite filling and tasty but I've had better elsewhere. Still, it's nice to have an alternative for D.C. Korean and also satisfy the Japanese cravings at the same time. Prices (sushi- $3-$10, entrees $8-$15, large bento boxes up to $30) It's also worth a visit just to see the bathrooms with two toilets in one room. odd.

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