1509 17th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, Greek/Mediterranean, American
Open Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to close.
Nearby Metro Stops: Dupont Circle
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Mascarpone-stuffed dates; scallop with truffle emulsion and black truffles; spaghetti with sea urchin; roast suckling pig; baby goat.
Dinner menu, $135 per person.
“This’ll taste like the best back-yard cheeseburger you’ve ever had,” says our server, presenting something you’d never see at a cookout: a sourdough toast holding lush rabbit-liver mousse and wisps of pickled zucchini. Somehow, he’s exactly right. Therein lies one of the many geniuses of Johnny Monis, chef/owner of this destination. He can coax Proustian pleasures out of esoteric ingredients and combinations.
Spend a few hours under the dusky-low lights in this spare dining room and you’re likely to find more revelatory moments among the $135 parade of roughly 15 dishes, for which there’s no written menu. Raw fish is the star of the first few bites—which might include tiny wonders such as Coho salmon with sumac onions and sea urchin. As dishes become more substantial, Monis’s Greek heritage becomes more apparent. Dinner culminates in a make-your-own-gyro feast centered around a platter of roasted meat—we can never decide between the luscious young goat shoulder and crisp-skinned suckling pig—served with warm-from-the-oven pita and a raft of sauces and accents. It’s yet another dish we’ve put into the “one of the best things we’ve ever eaten” category.Don’t miss: The menu changes frequently, but recent highlights have included a vinegary sardine over fava-bean purée; brioche with monkfish liver; mascarpone-filled date; charred octopus with tomato and fig. Open: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.