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For those of you who are waiting breathlessly for the Washingtonian to reveal its top restaurant of the year, please allow me to spoil it for you: It’s Komi. (Okay, it’s not really a spoiler; most of you knew this already.) Frankly, I think it’s a smart choice—-at least from the standpoint of food. Johnny Monis treats ingredients the way Republicans treat the homeless: He stays out of their way, to allow each ingredient to speak for itself. As for Komi’s dining room…well, it has all the personality of a Presbyterian meeting room. A dimly lit one.
Today, the Prince of Petworth, without so much as acknowledging the Washingtonian‘s pick, asked his readers what they thought of Komi. The responses have been mostly fawning, though there are a few haters, which the internets seems to breed like lice. For example, someone who bravely calls himself/herself “anoneemoo” says Komi is “totally overrated, overpriced, over hyped. try pallena or cityzen or ten others.”
Those PoP readers with better palates, and less drama, had nicer things to say about Komi, including this comment from “aj”:
I ended up at Komi for my anniversary because it was in the same space as the restaurant where my now husband and I had our first date – hadn’t heard any hype. It was the best meal I have ever had. EVER. I’ve never been to Citronelle or the Inn at Little Washington, but I’ve been to most of the other fancy area restaurants, including Palena. Komi was amazing, but also very expensive (and this was three years ago or so), so I won’t likely get back soon. But man, that place was exceptional.
The most thoughtful comment, however, may have come from someone named “Irving Streete,” who has a righteously complicated take on Monis’ place:
And, while Tom Sietsema was vilified for coming out and saying it, sitting through 15 or 20 bite-sized courses (irregularly spaced last time I ate there) can get to be a bit fatiguing over the course of four hours. Especially if you find yourself waiting 25 minutes for those dates.
I enjoy the place, but I think Komi-worship is strongly influenced by back-story and restaurant fashion: plucky Greek boy opens restaurant at 27, turns it into nationally-know restaurant by 30, and brilliantly combines eco-friendly food with an earthy-crunchy townhouse setting (think a really nice dinner party hosted by someone who did a decent reno on their home, and likes to keep the place dark), creating a stark contrast with the crystal-and-silver expense account palaces who are its culinary competitors.
So where do you stand on Komi?