100 Best Restaurants 2008: Komi

No. 3: Komi

Cuisine: Brilliant moments abound on these prix-fixe ($84) and multicourse degustazione ($104) menus that nod to Greece and Italy but are chef/owner Johnny Monis’s own thoroughly modern cuisine. Monis’s family hails from the Greek isle of Chios, but his approach to cooking is almost Spartan: pristine ingredients with minimal manipulation.

Mood: A bit austere—the former townhouse has bare-wood floors and Champagne walls with a few well-chosen antiques. As the place fills up—which doesn’t take long with only 12 tables—the room gets warmer. Sommelier Derek Brown, who has put together an original wine list, exudes charm and generosity—extra pours of Champagne, a nip of sherry just because.

Best for: Food lovers with time to spare—the three-course prix fixe (with extras) takes 2½ hours, the tasting menu more like 3½.

Best dishes: Mezzethakia such as the perfect house-cured olive, buttery amberjack sashimi with Maldon salt, crunchy slivers of breakfast radish with trout roe, and savory miniature goat gyros on house-made pita with tzatziki and pomegranate; veal-brain raviolini, both meaty- and buttery-tasting; tender spit-roasted goat served with house-made hot sauce and crunchy tzatziki slaw; salty caramel ice cream with chocolate.

Insider tips: Reserve at least a month in advance for weekends, three weeks for weekdays. Monis is fond of artisanal salt—even in dessert.

Service: ••••

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 Petworth.