100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Komi

Photo by Scott Suchman

How a room of such quiet minimalism can feel so warm and embracing is among the dining scene’s enduring mysteries. But that’s Komi’s magic, no tricks required. The seeming effortlessness of the pacing is a credit to one of the region’s best staffs, a group of earnest folks expert in reading tables and moods, who don’t merely keep the water glasses filled but—corny as it sounds—endeavor to make memories. Johnny Monis’s cooking—nominally Mediterranean but drawing on a range of global influences—never fails to surprise, and not just because the absence of a menu keeps you from knowing what’s coming. The night starts with a procession of bites that eschew cleverness in favor of flavors that are pure and clear—none so memorable, perhaps, as a date stuffed with mascarpone and roasted until it takes on the umami richness of foie gras. From there, it’s on to hand-rolled pastas, then a lusty portion of, among others, crisp-skinned goat or baby pig, meant to summon a communal feast along the Mediterranean coast. Desserts, a weak link in the past, have improved and provide a fittingly glorious finish.

Don’t miss: Trout roe on brioche; foie gras with Concord grape; sourdough with root-vegetable tartare; Greek dumplings with crab; Japanese cheesecake.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.