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Leopold's Kafe & Konditorei


I'm officially adding Komi to my Foodie Experiences category. Why? Let me explain.

Actually, let me give you some background was Amy's birthday (December 27th) and there was no other restaurant that she wanted to go to more than Komi. So when I tried to make reservations last Monday for tonight, I learned that Komi was going to be closed for two weeks for renovations. "WAIT NO!! You can't be!"

It wouldn't have been that big a deal if this didn't happen to us every year on Amy's birthday. Every year, we try to go out on her birthday and the restaurant we want to go to is closed for some reason. Her birthday either comes on a Sunday, or the restaurant is closed the week after Christmas, or the whole restaurant gets the flu.

I wrote some quick emails to our babysitter, "Hey, are you gonna be around this week at all? Any chance you're free for babysitting ANY night this week?!!" Lucky for me, she was.

So on Thursday night, we headed over to Komi for dinner. It had been a while since we'd been there -- probably at least two months and a good deal had changed, but in the end, it was still the same old Komi.

The most noticable change was the menu. There were a many new dishes on the menu, all of which I wanted to try. Lucky for me, there was a tasting menu available. For $57 a person, you get a series of small plates (which basically ends up being small portions of all the appetizers on the menu), your choice of pasta course and dinner course, a cheese course and your choice of dessert course. We also asked for a wine pairing which will run you an additional $40 a person, but is well worth it because they basically never let your glass get empty.

Our first dish was just a few olives that Chef Johnny Monis and his girlfriend discovered during their trip to Italy last summer. They were mild flavored and juicy to the point where you bit into them, the juices would squirt into your mouth.

Following the olives, was another amuse bouche and quite possibly the world's most perfect food -- two dates, heated to just before the point of carmelization, filled with mascarpone cheese and topped with olive oil and a touch of sea salt.  There's so much to this: flavors of sweet, salty, creamy, smooth. It's a huge dish of contrast and simplicity in four little bites.

Shortly after we finished the dates off, out came the Burrata di Bufala, which came topped with crispy breadcrumbs, a slice of fresh anchovy, and just the right amount of sea salt. If you've never had burrata before, it's a type of mozzarella cheese that's very creamy and rich in flavor -- and quite hard to find. I loved that the cheese was topped with the crunchy breadcrumbs. Normally burrata is great on its own, and I didn't think it was possible to make it better.

Next, two dishes were brought out at the same time. The first was a grilled bread topped with prosciutto and figs -- a perfect contrast of sweet and salty -- and is representative of Johnny's menu which embraces influences from Italian and Greek cuisine. The second was a crostini topped with a slice of deviled egg. Both were fantastic and nothing I ever would've thought to make myself.

Those dishes were followed by a fried ricotta ball, which was good, but a little too salty for my taste. Moving on.

Following the ricotta ball was probably one of the more adventurous and different dishes I've eaten all year -- a cauliflower and tallegio panna cotta. It took me a little while to figure this dish out, but once I found the quail egg surprise in the center of the panna cotta -- oozing out when you sliced into it with your fork -- and mixed it with the shaved rutabega and (of all things!) blood orange slices, I realized that Johnny Monis has raised the culinary bar for dishes in DC. Absolutely delicious!

One of the nice things about Komi is the pacing of the meal. When you order the tasting menu, the kitchen spaces it out each of the courses well to give you time to digest the food. I took advantage of this time to clear my mind of the panna cotta, finish off my glass of wine, and allow myself to move onto our upcoming pasta course. Lucky for me, our pasta course was excellent as well.

I chose to go with the bread soup with kale and homemade lamb sausage, which I had loved during our last trip to Komi when Amy had ordered it. This was overshadowed, however, by the ricotta ravioli with mushrooms and almonds that Amy ordered. After trying the ravioli, the bread soup just didn't seem quite as good as the last time I'd had it. I still have yet to eat anything with mushrooms at Komi I didn't love.

Moving on to our entrees, I decided to order the one thing that I've never had at Komi: a grilled lamb tenderloin with lentils and rutabega. The lamb was quite complex. The lentil and rutabega salad on the side was seasoned with something spicy -- most likely a curry of some kind, which went well with the lamb. Once again, Amy went with her favorite, the Bronzini Me Harti -- and why shouldn't she? It was her birthday for Christ's sake. The bronzini is a very light and fluffy fish which is simply topped with olive oil, lemon and salt and served with fingerling potatoes and some fresh greens.

At this point, I was pretty full, despite the spacing of the meal. We'd been there for close to two hours, and we still had the cheese and dessert courses to go. Luckily, the cheese course wasn't very big with three small pieces of cheese, one of which was a delightfully stinky blue. The cheese was served to us with a glass of Vin Santo, a traditional dessert wine from central Italy.

We had our choice of any dessert on the menu, which was a difficult choice. "Should I take the safe route and order the donuts?" I asked Amy.

"The donuts are good." Amy replied. "But you can't always write about the donuts. You should try something new."

It might have been because we were so full, but the desserts didn't leave quite the impression on us that the rest of the meal did. I tried the Pumkin Flan which was dense and sweet but I really wished we'd ordered the homemade donuts, because there's no dessert in the city that's better.

Ever since our first trip to Komi, service has never been an issue, and this time was no different. As usual, the whole restaurant worked as a team to make our meal seamless. No complaints there.

In my opinion, Komi is an extremely good value when you consider what you're getting. The food easily competes with that of Michelle Richard's Citronelle and Maestro and at those places you're guaranteed to spend twice what you'll pay at Komi. Our check came to $200 before tip and taxes. This included the tasting menu and wine pairing for both of us. I believe when Amy and I went to Citronelle for my birthday, the check came to over twice that, and Amy wasn't even drinking at the time.

One last thing I want to add (and for those of you who are still reading, I thank you): For every person I talk to who eats there at my recommendation and loves it, there's someone who just doesn't get it, and here's the reason I think they don't get it. They go, and order off the menu like it's a normal appetizer, entree, and dessert kind of place. This, in my humble opinion, is a mistake. You really need to get at least four courses at Komi to truly get the full experience.

Read about my past trips to Komi.

1509 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 332-9200

Closed Sunday and Monday.

Dress Code: Business Casual
Parking: None, nada, zip - street parking is a rare in Dupont. No valet either. I recommend taking a cab. Or take the Metro to Dupont Circle and walk a few blocks.
Smoking: Not Allowed.
Closest Metro: Dupont Circle
Reservations: Taken
Amy's Bathroom rating: Immaculate.


J from DCFB

That was such a beautifully written review. My god, why have I not been to Komi? It sounds so luscious. Happy birthday to Amy, and good meals to you all in 2006. Thanks for being a great blog to read! --J from DCFB


I'm glad I read this entry. I've been wanting to go to Citronelle for a while but I think I might try this first. By the way, have you been to the Firefly recently? If so, did it perform better?


Well, I have been to Firefly and yes it was better than the first time I went. I need to go again and then I'll do a new post for Firefly.


I went to Komi for my birthday (the only way I could afford it- thanks to Mom and Dad) based on your recommendation and loved it (check my October 17th entry). I tried to even make reservations for New Years' Eve (and forego any expenditures for the rest of break), but was also saddened by their closure. I agree that you need to try lots of the dishes to understand what is going on at Komi. Luckily, it was my birthday, so I told my family what four appetizers/pasta dishes I wanted to eat and we got those four. I also said which four dinners I'd like to try, so we got those four. The point is, sharing helps.

And the donuts. Oh man. I'm not even a huge fan of chocolate, but I could drink that marscapone sauce like water.

I'm glad you've got time and money to review restuarants, but most importantly to push Komi as the best restaurant in DC. I found more inspiration to become a chef from Johnny Monis at Komi than any other restaurant in the world.


I enjoyed the descriptive post-especially since you got to use the term "amuse bouche"!


I came into DC to enjoy just this kind of experience about 2 weeks before, and man was it good. My table of 4 had the tasting menu and all had different pastas/entrees, so we got to taste everything. A 4-hour experience that I will never forget. Definitely different than Citronelle, and certainly a better value.

I think the 1 additional item we had was an oyster with a tiny dollop of greek yogurt on it. Yum. Hungry now.


I want to take my fiance to Komi for his birthday next month for the tasting menu. I'm a little concerned though that it will be too much food. Is the meal paced well enough that you won't feel disgustingly overfed when you leave? I'm not really a big fan of that feeling.

How far ahead should one call for reservations?


Jason: I religiously followed your site when I was in DC when I picked restaurants. I have moved to New York, and I haven't found a site just as good as yours. Do you have any suggestions/ideas what are the good websites out there. Thanks in advance.


We tried Komi last night for the first time. The food was truly outstanding, and though we have no point of comparison, the new redesigned interior is rather attractive. Tom S sums it up nicely in today's WP.

While I thought the food was outstanding and a good value, my high expectations of the service weren't quite met. I do wonder, Jason, if you get a bit of special treatment as the restaurant's promoter-in-chief.


I took my boyfriend to Komi for his birthday dinner on 1/21 and we loved it. They now serve only the $58 tasting menu on Saturday; the food was great and overall it was excellent value especially if calculated by the hour (our meal lasted 3.5 hours). Two small disappointments: two of the five mains were shared entrees and they no longer offer wine pairings with the meal (but they pour a very generous by-the-glass). And Jason's most recent review describes the meal we had perfectly.


I went to Komi last Saturday night (01/28) with two other people (they only do the fixed price tasting menu on Saturdays). It Was $58 for the tasting Menu & $35 for the wine accompaniment (a good deal for the 6 glasses I had). All three of us had the ricotta ravioli with mushroom for the pasta course, it could not have been better. My friend and I split the suckling pig (it was for two) and my fiance had the tuna. All of the food was Great, definitely worth the trip. The meal took about 2.5 to 3 hours long but well spaced so you did not get stuffed on the eight bite sized appetizers. You should make your way down here if you have not tried it.


Couldn't agree more about Komi. I've been three times, and the last trip was the best yet. The prix fixe tasting menu was out of this world. I can't say enough about the food there. You gotta go.


Fantastic recommendation. Went there last night and did the tasting menu. Absolutely perfect. Service was beyond outstanding. Best I have had in DC. The attention they gave to just filling me water was beyond anything I could have expected. I was sad that the dessert menu didn't have much choice but it was more than made up for by everything else. The dates with marscapone cheese might have been one of the most delicious things I have tasted.


Glad you liked it Alec! You're is making me want to go back again soon.

Rahul Sinha

Wow, we had gone before the menu changed, and really Komi was alright but nothing special...

Things have changed. This was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had. The service was wonderful, the food was great and the price was pretty reasonable (we had the tasting menu + wine pairing).


From his "we," Rahul, right above, took me as a suprise for my birthday yesterday. The tasting menu and the wine pairing was a three hour dining experience like no other.


Went there last night, my first time. My friend and I had the tasting dinner with like 10 courses. The service was indeed the best I've ever experienced in DC, but I'm really more of a food person than a service or ambience person. The food was obviously prepared extremely well, but I can't say I was blown away by the taste of any of the dishes. Many of the flavors were more subtle than I usually prefer, I suppose, and there wasn't a lot of variety in terms of flavors. For example, a lot of the dishes were salty, and halfway through the appetizers, I desperately wanted something sweet or tangy or spicy to cleanse the salt taste from my palate, but they just keep brought more of the same. Anyway, I chose the lamb for my dinner entree. It was extremely juicy and flavorful, but the texture of lentils that went with the lamb got a bit monotonous about halfway through the dish. Overall, I can't say I was all that impressed really, at least not for the $90 I spent on it. Just as a comparison, I would say Grapeseed in Bethesda kicks Komi's ass, at least in terms of food and flavors, if not service.


For starters, I just want to say how much I enjoy your site. And I think your reviews of Komi are spot on, including the recent one in Washington Flyer. I totally disagree with George Stone's response: (1) I can't imagine leaving there hungry (we actually brought home leftovers); and (2) I actually think it's a good value for the experience. I am curious about one thing in your Washington Flyer review, though, specifically your characterization of Maestro as having a pretentious feel. Have you experienced the restaurant firsthand yet? (Last I read from your comments you had not.) In our experiences (very fortunately more than one) at Maestro, the feel has been anything but pretentious. In fact, we have found it surprisingly comfortable for that level of restaurant.


I went to Komi last night for a farewell dinner with 3 friends and we had the tasting menu with the wine pairings for $64 and $40 respectively. Everything was amazing and quite unique. The Burrata di Bufala was probably my favorite, with the ravioli with almonds, mushrooms and ricotta and the soft shelled crab with cuttlefish as a close second and third. My tuna entree with faro and spinach(?) in a pomegranite reduction of some sort was also fantastic, although it was very meaty with an almost steak-like consistency. My least favorite item was probably the dessert - a chocolate cannoli cake topped with olive oil and a pinch of sea sale, and served with olive oil gelato. It wasn't bad by any means, but the sorbet and the donuts were much better. I would definitely recommend both the tasting menu and the wine pairing to anyone looking to celebrate with a great meal.


I went to Komi recently, and it was fantastic. My one comment is that of the entrees that have been most highly recommended (the bronzini and the suckling pig) were shared entrees. If you're dining out with a vegetarian companion, this limits your choice of entree...


I went to Komi recently, and it was fantastic. My one comment is that of the entrees that have been most highly recommended (the bronzini and the suckling pig) were shared entrees. If you're dining out with a vegetarian companion, this limits your choice of entree...


Thanks for this post on Komi. I finally went last night with some friends. It was amazing. The speck wrapped tuna and mixed grill was absolutely delicious. The one thing I wished I could have tried but it wasn't on the menu was the suckling pig.

I also have to agree with you on the dates filled with mascarpone. They were wonderful... my friends and I couldn't help but ask for more.

As for dining with a vegetarian Komi was very accommodating. They were able to make the tuna without the speck. A couple of us shared the mixed grill and my friend had the tuna.

As for the desserts though. Other than the mascarpone chocolate pudding... I wasn't too impressed.


I am lucky enough to live directly across the street from Komi. I've been a few times and found that it is the little things at Komi that really make all the difference. Like homemade crackers, wow!


My girlfriend and I went to Komi last night. We had reservations for 9:45, but with the nature of the intimate dining, we had to wait 20 minutes for our table to become available - fortunately the staff was gracious enough to offer us a glass of champagne while we waited.

Once seated we had a wonderful time. We did the wine pairing (it was a Saturday night) which offered us a chance to sample many of the chef's delicacies. We absolutely loved everything. The food is rich and you definitely get the feeling that this is something you can't make at home.

Besides the excellent food the service was the best I've ever had. The servers are knowledgable about their wines and very attentive.

There is nothing bad I can say about Komi. Cheers.


The wife and I had dinner Saturday, apparently they only offer the tasting menu on Fri and Sat nights. The prices are up to $71 for the 5-course, and $51 for the wine pairing (up from $57 and $35, ouch!).

This was definitely one of the best meals I've had in DC, comparable to Gerards Place and other great meals. The Greek slant on most of the appetizers (they bring out 4-6 for your first course) makes for inspired and delicious creations. Sure, they are usually 3 bites on each plate, but they are tasty. Next comes a pasta dish: as many have recommended, the Papardelle pasta was good, but the ravioli with fois gras was even better. For the 3rd dish , we got the Hen and the Tuna, both were very good, though the Tuna was not up to the same level of the rest of the dishes (but still good, just not great).
For dessert, after reading all the hype, we got the donuts with chocolate marscapone, and the Apple/Cake/almond gelato dessert. Sorry, they must have changed the donuts (previous reviews mention 2 donuts and their holes, these were just 2 blobs), they weren't that awesome. The wife said I may have overhyped them ;) However, the cake, apple and gelato dessert was very good. Got some coffee (very good French press), and finished off with the lollipops, all in all a great meal, though the new pricing really puts a hurtin' on the pocketbook (over $300). But you don't really put a price on a great meal, after all, it leaves you with memories for a lifetime :)



I wish I had known about this review before last week's dinner with friends! No one had heard of Komi, so my suggestion was dismissed and instead we suffered through a miserable dinner at the Iron Gate...for practically the same prices I might add. For anyone reading this, do not ever waste your money at the Iron matter how enticing the ambiance seems. I'm going to Komi by myself next time :)


i went to komi last last. Yes i was expensive. 2ppl dinner amounted to ~$300 + tip. However if you consider all the differnet type of food you got, it's really not so bad. Overall the food was good, got to try several things that were exceptional and some just so so. I would get the suckling pig again b/c it was done just right. The venison was done okay, nothing to write home about.

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