Valentines Day was very special this year - Partly because of the great food, but mostly because of something else. At about 3 PM, I left work to meet Amy at the radiologist's office in Bethesda. Amy was having a sonagram to find the heartbeat of our 8-week-old baby growing inside her. Amy was about as nervous as I've ever seen her, terrified that there wouldn't be a heartbeat. At about 4:20 PM we were called into the examination room. The technician started performing the sonagram and at first there was nothing on the screen. Then I sort of saw something on the screen - a little spot that seemed to be fluttering. I think Amy and I saw it at just about the same time. Soon after that the technician said, "There it is. I'll let you hear the heat beat." BA BUMP. BA BUMP. BA BUMP. BA BUMP. BA BUMP. 160 loud beats a minute. The spot that we saw fluttering turned out to be the heart. And then the technician said, very appropriately, "Happy Valentines Day!" I don't think it had occured to either me or Amy how appropos it was that we were doing this on Valentines Day until the technician said that. LOL. You can read more about the Sonagram Story at Amy's site.
After the sonogram was over, we headed home. I stopped to pick up a few things, groceries, something from Tiffany's, etc. (in case you couldn't tell, I spoil Amy). We weren't home for too long before it was time to go to our reservation at Komi. Just as it was time to leave, it started to rain, and of course, we didn't bring an umbrella. I was trying to hail a cab on Wisconsin Ave. What is it with the shortage of cabs lately!? I probably stood there for 30 minutes trying to hail a cab in the poring rain. To say the least, I was soaked. Luckily, Amy was able to hide under a Metro bus waiting area. We finally found a cab that was actually pulling out of our street.
The good thing was that we were out of the rain. The bad thing was that this taxi driver was the worst we've ever driven with. First, our reservation was at 7:30 and we were already late. This driver practically rolled down the street. Only one pedal existed for this driver, and it was the break. I kindly asked him to speed up because we were in a hurry, so he started using the gas. JESUS CHRIST GO FASTER YOU ASSHAT! I'M HUNGRY! YOU DON'T WANT TO MESS WITH ME WHEN I'M HUNGRY! OK. I didn't actually say anything, but I wanted to scream. Not only that, but the driver decided that he was going to go the scenic route through Columbia Heights to get to 17th and P. AAGGHHH!
We finally arrived. We were about 20 minutes late. I HATE being late for a reservation. Sebastian Zutant, the Wine, Food, and Service Director at Komi (and the person who took my reservation), was at the door greeting people. He introduced himself to me (I'd never met him in person) after we told him who we were. It was nice to finally meet him. We were seated right away and had a pick of places to sit.
The menu was completely different from out last trip. Only a couple dishes remained that I recognized - the Marinated Yellowtail and the Braised Short Ribs. Amy immediately had this panicky look on her face. She was worried that her stomach wouldn't be able to handle the food. Pregnancy is taking its toll on her. She's had to eat like a poor college student, feasting primarily on Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese, Spaghettios, and Ramen Noodles. I knew the tasting menu would be off limits this time -- It's just way too much food for Amy. It was no loss, though. There were plenty of great dishes to order off the menu a la carte.
When we ordered, I asked the waitress if it would be possible for them to bring me a wine pairing with the dishes I ordered. Amy wasn't drinking, but that wasn't stopping me - if anything I need to drink more now ;-). I'm not sure this is something they normally do, but she went and talked to Sebastian about it. I guess he said it was ok, because they brought out four wonderful wines with my dishes. I'll go into detail later.
Before our dishes came out, our waitress brought by the little demitasse (small cup) of soup. This time it was a mushroom soup topped with what I thought was sour cream. I wasn't all too crazy about this. I mean, it was better than most mushroom soups I've eaten, but I'm not usually one for mushroom soup. Put it this way, Amy couldn't eat all of hers, so I finished it for her. If it was "bad," I wouldn't have done that.
For our 1st course, Amy ordered the Calabaza Soup. There were two melted marshmallows on the top of it. Amy could also taste strong hints of curry, which we always love. It was very similar to the butternut squash soup we had last time - but better :). For those of you who don't know what a Calabaza is (and that included myself until I just looked it up), it is a South American pumpkin. I, on the other hand, chose to go with the Hen of the Woods Mushrooms with Papardelle and sheep's cheese. The Papardelle pasta was perfectly cooked. It reminded me of my trips to Il Pizzico in Rockville. I also saw some parsley and olive oil. I didn't really taste the sheeps cheese on it's own, but the whole dish eaten together was outstanding. The mushrooms had a very mild flavor. This dish pretty much made the meal for me. Chef Johnny Monis has a great ability to pick out mushrooms for his dishes that don't have that pungent mushroom flavor to them. For this course, I was given a spicy Soave from Verona, Italy, which was "completely coincidental and not intentional," as Sebastian stated. (The soundtrack for "Romeo + Juliet" was playing in the restaurant when he brought it over.)
Amy opted to skip the second course, but they brought her a little something anyway - a few blood orange slices with yogurt, avocado, pine nuts and baby greens. I think the Chef felt bad that some ass was making her watch him eat the yellowtail. The artistry and attention to detail that went into the creation of this dish amazed me. It was perfect for a pregnant woman and settled her stomach down. Meanwhile, my yellowtail was just as good as the last time I had it. Like last time, it was served with a tiny spoonful of greek caviar and thin-sliced, fried fingerling potato chips. It was served raw and marinated in what I thought was a lemon vinegar. The glass of wine I was served with the yellowtail was a slightly fruity glass of Di Lenordo Tocai Friulano from Fruili, Italy. I LOVE Italian whites.
For the third and final course, I had it down to a decision between the speck-wrapped tuna and the roasted pork. I was incapable of a decision so I let our waitress decide. (It turned out that we had the same waitress as our last trip. She was great!) She convinced me to get the tuna. It came served on a bed of bulger wheat, mango, olive oil and seranno ham - a mixture of ingredients that I never would have pictured going so well together. The tuna itself could have been cooked a lot rarer. I like my tuna still flapping on the plate. The speck wrapping was a wonderful added touch. The smokey flavor of the meat complimented the flavor well. With my tuna, I was served a glass of a 2003 Le Paradou Grenache from Cotes du Luberon, France. I'm usually never one to drink a grenache, but I really liked this. It was just slighly sweet enough to compliment the salty, smokey flavor of the tuna and speck.
Amy's ribeye was absolutely, perfectly medium, like she asked. Well, actually, a little more on the medium-rare side, but that's really the way she likes it anyway. She only ordered it medium because the site of blood makes her stomach do loops. It came with a creamy spinach paste. Overall, I found the flavor of the paste a little too strong for the ribeye, but that was after eating my dish, which had some pretty stong flavors itself.
For dessert we chose to chare the Key Lime Flan. It was very TART! A little too tart for my taste, but still very good. If any of you have had the blood orange sorbet at 2 Amys, you'll know what I am talking about by TART. As far as texture was concerned, it was right on. Firm and not mushy as flans tend to be. Anyone who isn't into really sweet desserts will love this. The flan was also served with a side of chamomile sorbet, which helped settle Amy's stomach after the ribeye. Sebastian brought me a small yet interesting glass of German wine, which wasn't on the menu, nor was it really a dessert wine. The name escapes me, but I remember him saying that I'd need German characters to write about it. :-)
The cost of the meal when it comes to a restaurant like Komi is really inconsequential, but if you must know...The bill came to about $145 - Well worth it. That included two appetizers, one middle course, two entrees, a dessert, and my wine pairings. Your first courses run from $7 for the soup to $13 for foie gras. 2nd courses (or Thalassina, according to the Komi menu) are priced from $8 for grilled squid to $14 for the oysters. Entrees run from $17 to $22. Desserts cost about the same as you first courses. As far as the wine menu goes, Sebastian Zutant had done a wonderful job picking out wines that complement the dishes on the menu. Glasses of wine cost anywhere from $6 to $9 -- really quite a bargain considering what other similar restaurants in the area charge for a glass of wine. As far as bottles are concerned, there are many in the $20 to $40 range.
As usual, service was excellent. The ONLY time I had any issues with service was the first time we visited Komi, and even then, I only got pissy because my drink glass wasn't kept full.
1509 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dress Code: Business Casual
Parking: None - street parking is a rare in Dupont. No Valet either. I recommend taking a cab (just find a cab driver that drives faster the 20 mph and knows where the hell he's going).
Bathroom rating: Immaculate.