January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants

Johnny Monis's place feels like a neighborhood restaurant but has the soul and ambition of something greater.

Komi ★★★½


Watching Komi these last few years has been like watching a precocious if gawky teenager turn into a poised adult. Most remarkable is that the transformation has occurred under a chef/owner, Johnny Monis, who’s only 27.

That maturity is reflected in the renovated dining room, a quiet, softly lit space. Monis’s cooking abounds in confidence, dispensing with the Modern American influences of a couple years ago to more fully embrace the flavors of his parents’ native Greece.

One of the best introductions to Monis’s style is the Mezzethakia tasting, a show of generosity (seven to nine courses) and virtuosity (dates stuffed with mascarpone and anointed with salt). The young staff seems to delight in bringing these little plates to the table. There’s a newfound depth and lustiness, too, from the foie-gras-stuffed agnolotti to the turbot with braised carrots to the capretto , a luscious dish of 48-hour-braised baby goat and soft polenta. For dessert, don’t miss the Greek-style doughnuts with mascarpone chocolate cream.

Komi has gone from promising to good to very good in a few years. What’s next?

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.