We had a lovely evening last night at Komi, a small, easy-to-miss spot near Dupont. Despite its bland exterior, inside it is an intimate, warm, single room space with soft lighting, nicely spaced tables (just 12) and a welcoming staff. Komi has no menu; instead, chef Johnny Monis and his team send bite after bite of fanciful yet never ridiculous tastes and flavors that ultimately provide you with a full meal spanning mezze through dessert. You can order glasses or bottles of wine or opt for the wine pairing accompaniment which T and I both chose to do. I was particularly interested in the Txakoli (a very slightly sparkling white from the Basque region in Spain) listed in the by-the-glass section, and the sommelier happily integrated that into our tasting. The wines were wonderful. Our flight of alcoholic fancy started with a Greek cava. I'd never had a bubbly from Greece before, but both T and I really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be on the lookout at future wine store visits. The Txakoli followed and was wonderful; this is one of my favorite whites. It's low in alcohol and in my experience, a really consistently well-produced wine. Glasses of Fiano di Avellino came next, another of my preferred whites. Fiano is grown in Southern Italy, particularly Campania and Sicily. Like the Txakoli, I have found Fiano to be consistently good, always refreshing and with a lovely zip in the mouth. It's a great accompaniment for mezze, pizza, really a whole host of things. Next came a glass of Saison Dupont, one of T's very favorite Belgian tripels (yes, a beer), and then we headed on to a nice but not super memorable (perhaps due to all that came before) Chianti, and then a marvelous dessert wine from Greece. If you didn't know what was in your glass, you'd swear you were indulging in a fantastic vin santo, and in fact, this Greek version was a straw wine too (the grapes are aged on straw, and the dehydration is what brings about the beautiful amber-brown color of the liquid).
While we loved many of the dishes, others fell flat. Stand-outs, however, included the remarkable:
liquid spanakopita (a quick fried ball with a molten spinach-dill-feta interior)- wow; avocado, sweet Maine shrimp and dehydrated olives- yo!; half smoke which was beyond insane. I'm not a hot dog gal, but this sausage was incredible, on a perfectly toasted bun and topped with a dilled aioli-Napa cabbage spread; yukon gold gnocchi with venison, cinnamon and cocoa- another wow; mascarpone-stuffed date with fleur de sel (possibly my favorite dish); hibiscus shellacked, julienned Honeycrisp apples; date cake with yogurt gelato and pomegranate molasses -more wow; and the bite-sized cardamom-chocolate treat at the end.
I was surprised by the relative averageness of the seafood options. The sea urchin tasted soapy, and the shaved diver scallop with endive and black truffle just didn't come together. Its taste was overwhelmingly that of soil, a sad outcome in light of the stellar components. The service was terrific overall, though there were two members of the staff with such affected delivery that we felt we'd been transported to the set of Zoolander every time they brought a dish. It was all we could do not to laugh hysterically as they described what we were about to enjoy.
Overall, Komi is a special place, and I'd enjoy returning but wouldn't go great guns to do so in the near future. You've got to admire Monis' creativity and vision, and if I could have taken some stuffed dates and half-smokes to go, you bet I would have with glee!