Restaurants & Bars 3

Komi - review

jacinthe | Jan 18, 2004 09:33 PM

I have no clue regarding restaurants when it comes to DC, relying heavily on this board and reviews from the Post and other area newspapers. Last time, we ended up at the Minibar at Cafe Atlantico, which was just amazing. This time, I chose Komi, after reading a review in the Post and the Washington Blade, and then searching on the board for past reviews. It looked good, so I took the chance. (It being in Dupont Circle, it was but a couple of blocks away from our hotel, which was also nice.)

We had reservations for 4 at 8PM on Saturday. When we got there, the restaurant was about 2/3rds full. By the time we left at 10:30, it was about 3/4 full. You don't need reservations, apparently - the girl who brought over our wine said that it was a touch slower than usual because it was flurrying outside.

It is a smallish room, with low ceilings. No decorations on the white walls, which is probably better because it would just make the room seem even smaller. You can see the wood-burning pizza oven in the back, which adds a homey touch to otherwise rather stark decor. Wood floors, chairs and tables further warm up the space. We started out with cocktails (1 person got a glass of wine) while we tried to figure out what to eat. Since the restaurant does not have a full liquor license, they had two speciality cocktails - a blood orange bellini, which I got and adored, it wasn't too cloyingly sweet - and a muscat mojito, which was a nice twist on the standard rum-based drink. The person that ordered the wine just asked for a "spicy" red, leaving it in the hands of the waiter, and he came back with a shiraz that she said fit the bill quite nicely. When we wanted to order wine with dinner, and couldn't decide on what, the waiter sent the manager over to consult, and we ended up with a nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc. The wine list is very reasonable, with about 5 or so of red and white each also offered by the glass. Some intriguing Greek selections.

Menu is divided into salads, a crudo section (featuring seafood, mainly), entrées, pizza, intriguing vegetable combinations (like celery whipped mashed potatoes). There is a note on the menu that says they make their own mozzarella.

The amuse was a curried cauliflower and apple soup. I generally don't like either curry or cauliflower, but this was very good, the curry not too overpowering. The breads were a ciabatta and foccacia, served with grapes and sun dried tomato-flavoured butter.

For appetizers, my boyfriend and I split the peekytoe crab (off the crudo section), and the other couple split the grilled asparagus with bacon (or proscuitto). They were split for us in the kitchen and brought to us on individual plates, which was nice. The peekytoe crab was a "composed" salad, a small bed of frisée and mixed greens on one side of the plate, a small terrine of crab mashed with avocado and lime juice over a grapefruit slice, topped with some delicate teeny greens. Artfully presented, and very tasty. The grilled asparagus looked good too, served atop a slice of a white cheese that looked like mozzarella (but wasn't) that was made in the restauant, although I didn't get to taste it.

For entrées, I ordered the rack of lamb with a polenta crust and haricots vert and some sort of berry reduction, and my boyfriend the sea bass with lentils and soybeans and merguez and lobster emulsion. The other couple ordered the atlantic char with black mission figs, and also the sea bass. I ordered the lamb medium-rare, and while it came out a touch rarer than I usually like, it was an amazing cut of meat and so was fine. Some of the best lamb I've had in awhile. The haricots were not mushy, also very good. The sea bass was a touch overcooked for my taste, but it was tasty. I really liked the accompaniments that came along with the bass. The differing textures were great in the mouth. I didn't try the char but the person who ordered it liked it a lot.

For desserts, my boyfriend and I split the doughnuts with hot cocoa, and the other couple got the chocolate four ways. Two warm doughnuts, dusted with cinnamon, and their accompanying doughnut holes were served with a pot of cocoa, whipped cream liberally piped on top. I'm always a big fan of this dessert, as it gives me the chocolate I love but not in unbearable post-dinner-nearly-exploding-full amounts. The doughnuts were denser than most, almost churro-like, crisp on the outside and wonderfully doughy on the inside. The chocolate four ways featured 2 chocolate meringues, an incredibly dense flourless chocolate cake with chocolate shavings on top, and something else I don't remember.

Along with the check came lollipops, all were cinnamon. While tasty, the cinnamon left a slightly gritty texture in the mouth of which I wasn't too much a fan.

The tab came to around $220 before tax - this included 2 appetizers, 4 entrees, 2 desserts, 1 glass of wine, 1 bottle of wine, 3 beers, 3 cocktails and 2 glasses of dessert wine. I thought this was incredibly reasonable, given the quality and quantity of the food.

There is incredible attention to the details. Silverware and glassware are fabulous, and the menus are slipped into leather presenters that have the restaurant's logo on the back. (So many times, even at nice restaurants, I've just been presented with a sheet of paper for the menu, and it's just so flimsy.) I assume it's the chef/owner who brings out the dishes and presents them to you - a lovely touch. His pride in his products is evident, as it well should be. Service lagged in places, but it wasn't horrible. The noise level is moderate.

It was an absolutely lovely experience, and it's been so long since I've gone to a restaurant and truly been impressed. For dates, a small group, whatever.. I'd return in a heartbeat.

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