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1789 or Komi

  • d

I'm taking my very mature 15 yr old daughter to Washington for 3 days this month. We are Chowhounds from LA and really want a DC experience.

On my last night, should I book 1789 or Komi?

For the other nights, my girlfriend recommended Clyde's, Me Too, Central and Zaytinya.
I've heard "Me Too" is VERY cool, but I'm really looking for atmosphere and good food.

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!


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  1. Are you thinking of Mie N Yu? I've never heard of Me Too

    I've personally never been to Komi but I have been to 1789 and LOVED it. It's def. an older crowd--some might say stuffy. But I actually found the experience a lot of fun. The service is top notch, you get to get dressed up and eat in a classic DC dining room and be waited on hand and foot. It's a nice change of pace from what you usually experience in restaurants. We had 2 waiters who's names I wished I could remember who were very helpful and very friendly at the same time.

    Komi from my understanding has a much more limited menu than 1789. It's a little more trendy and practically impossible to get a reservation these days since the chef was just named Best New Chef or something along those lines. So its a very popular spot at the moment.

    But 1789 is unlike any other restaurant you named on your list.

    And btw...I would personally skip Clyde's all together. I've had and heard of too many mediocre experiences there for me to recomend it to anyone.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elyssa

      Elyssa s right on this, and skip Mie N Yu as well. Central is right on.

    2. 1789 and Komi are quite different and both quite good. 1789 is traditional Washington, a sort of Colonial feel to it. Komi is sleek, modern and more avant garde food. I highly recommend it.

      Mie'N'Yu is all atmosphere and quite mediocre food. Go and have a drink if you must but don't eat there. Clyde's is a local chain and serves "safe" food; where you might take your grandmother. I don't recommend it. Central and Zaytinya are both good choices.

      1. I think you're thinking of Mie N Yu in Georgetown, right? The food is so-so, and definitely not worth the price. I'd skip Clyde's and DEFINITELY go to Zaytinya. If you're up for more than one small plates restaurant, try Jaleo for tapas. I think Komi would be more fun than 1789, but 1789 is more of a "DC" place...it's like comparing apples and oranges.

        1 Reply
        1. re: beta

          Agree with everything beta says. Skip Mie N Yu, Skip Clydes, and definitely check out Zaytinya (and Jaleo if you've got another free dinner). I found 1789 kind of blah, but it does have history. Komi gives you a very limited amount to choose from, so do keep that in mind if that is going to be a problem. Central is wonderful, as is the new Brasserie Beck.

        2. Hey DFD - Check out the Central reviews here on a separate post, I just shared my experience there on Friday night and would not recommend it.
          If you are looking for a place that a mature 15 year old would find cool, with unbelievable food, you must go with Komi (if you can get a reservation!). It is the ultimate dining experience with a spectacular series of small plates (house cured olives, mini butter radishes with cream cheese and caviar, and many others), entrees of which you've never tried the likes of before (we forgot our doggie bag of roasted baby goat at the restaurant and I'm still in mourning about that), and amazing desserts (my partner's mother never finishes her dessert and she ate TWO desserts at Komi). To make all this even better, the waitstaff are a bunch of young, cool (but friendly) beautiful people, the atmosphere is intimate and makes one feel very special, and the music that was piped in was really good (lots of Indie artists, rather unusual for dining).

          Zaytinya is also good, but nowhere near the caliber of Komi. Near Zaytinya there is a new place PS-7 that is very trendy, with a neat menu (presentation was gorgeous), and the food was good there too; reservations are easy to get.

          If good food is more important than the cool factor and you are seafood fans I'd also throw Black Salt into the mix - great dining there.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lumos1428

            Komi sounds great. I looked at the menu on the website-- are there good options for vegetarians/ or seafood eaters from your visit?

            1. re: rln

              I don't eat meat. Whenever I eat at Komi, I let the server know and the kitchen responds graciously, often fixing special appetizers for me while my carnivore GF has the regular items. There are more than enough entrees to choose from that are seafood. Strict vegetarians may find the menu limiting but I am confident that the chef would be happy to accommodate. You might want to mention any dietary restrictions when you nake your reservations [which are a must].

              1. re: Dakota Guy

                Actually, when I ate at Komi I let them know in advance that I don't eat red meat. They were very nice about it. They confirmed this with me as I walked in the door. Then they proceeded to keep bringing out meat things in the "appetizer" portion of the meal. I had to keep flagging the waiter back over and saying "are you sure this isn't meat, because it sure looks/tastes like it" only to be told "uh... ooops" and having it whisked away. Everything was very tasty, but this was a pain in the /ss. I realize it isn't their job to worry about this, but I do want to warn vegetarians that it could be a problem.

          2. I have been to both 1789 (once) and Komi (I think 3-4 times). They are indeed very different restaurants. 1789 certainly has good food and an old school atmosphere, but it is far from hip and modern. Komi is a very small place, modern, the food is brilliant and the service very, very good. Komi is only edged by Palena for me on the DC food scene (ignoring the truly expensive places like Maestro, Citronelle, Laboratorio, CityZen, etc). I'd forget about 1789 and book a table at Komi.

            I also suggest skipping Clyde's and hitting something more interesting. One place that I have heard is very good and 'hip', might be Hank's Oyster Bar.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pool Boy

              Hank's is an excellent choice...especially if you are from LA because it will give you a little taste of what the East Coast has to offer. You can go for lunch or brunch as well.

            2. I just had one of the best meals I've ever had anywhere at Komi. It is fantastic food, but there's nothing particularly "DC" about it. 1789, on the other hand, is old-school DC, but Komi's food is better. Depends what your priority is.

              I'd skip Mie N Yu and Clyde's as other posters have recommended. Clyde's isn't a bad place for lunch in Georgetown, though, if you're wedded to the idea of Clyde's. Pizzeria Paradiso is, IMHO, a better Georgetown lunch option. Whichever you choose for your last night, maybe sub the other (Komi or 1789) for Mie N Yu.

              I really like the food at both Zaytinya and Central, and both are very cool -- especially Central right now.

              Whatever you choose, choose soon because reservations at both Central and Komi are among the more difficult in town.

              Good luck and have fun!

              21 Replies
              1. re: msbo78

                Thanks for all the wonderful posts. It sounds like both 1789 and Komi are good choices. I have a reservation at Komi for my last night.
                After reading the reviews of Central, I'm thinking of canceling and booking a table at 1789. I only have 3 nights. The first will be at the Old Ebbitt Grill (the day we get in to Washington.) Palena sounds wonderful too, but I've heard no reservations? Any thoughts?

                1. re: DFD

                  Regarding Central- those who dislike it tend to be a very vocal minority- I've now dined there 3 different times with different groups of people and the food is consistently good as has been the service- remember this is a new restaurant and is still ramping up its service (though mainly settled now).

                  1789 is excellent, but a little too "old world" for my tastes. The modern bistro style is more to my liking of cooking.

                  Skip OEG except for the oysters- the rest of the food isn't so hot- there's a lot of other food right in that area that's much better.

                  Palena takes reservations for the rear of the restaurant, but you cannot order off the bar menu there- all the food at Palena is stunning though.

                  1. re: jpschust

                    My first night is on Father's Day, so I think I may be very limited. I know in LA, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day etc--the food is usually at it's worst and the prices are at their highest. That's why I thought of OEG. Any suggestions?

                    1. re: DFD

                      OEG is actually very DC. It was originally in the old Rhodes Tavern and was one of the oldest watering holes in town. When it was proposed that the building be torn down for the sake of urban renewal, preservationists forced the issue to a referendum and the people's will was overturned by the courts. After the historic Tavern building was demolished the bar you see at Old Ebbitt was salvaged and installed in the new building. You'll have a good story to relate to your daughter if you google Rhodes Tavern.
                      They have a pretty straightforward crabcake which you won't find at most of the other places you're thinking of going.
                      Unfortunately, there isn't any similar story about 1789. It's just a lovely old Federal townhouse dating back to when Georgetown was a substantial port and there was no Washington, DC.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        It sounds kind of neat. Another option I just found is Zatinya's?

                        1. re: DFD

                          I know people like Zaytinya, but I think it's just fair to poor tapas- Father's day isn't quite as big as mother's day, so your options are pretty wide open.

                            1. re: DFD

                              Of course:)

                              Dino is always a favorite of mine- it's in Cleveland Park and is rustic Italian. This is a more unique DC experience in the same way that it's a neighborhood place, but still in enough vibrancy to see how fun the city can be.

                              On the higher end is Vidalia- RJ Cooper, the head chef just won a beard award for best chef of mid-atlantic (he shares the award with Frank Ruta of Palena)

                              I'm not sure where you're coming from, but Hank's Oyster Bar is truly a wonderful way to experience what east coast seafood can be.

                              Those are some places I really like, take a look and if you want some more choices let me know and I'll give you a few more. (Don't want to overwhelm you)

                              1. re: jpschust

                                Sound like great suggestions. I don't know where Cleveland Park is? Close to DC?
                                We're not big steak eaters, nor oysters. But thaty's about it. We LOVE Italian.
                                I'll take all the suggestions you have!
                                We're staying at the Hay Adams, without a car.

                                1. re: DFD

                                  Cleveland Park is basically straight north of you if you are at the Hay Adams (which by the way is my favorite hotel in DC). It should be about a 10 dollar cab ride or use our easy metro system and it will cost you about 1.50 per way per person.

                                  1. re: DFD

                                    If you're staying at The Hay, Ristorante Tosca is a comfortable stroll through Lafayette Square and past the White House and Treasury Building. It's in the 1100 block of F Street, NW. Best Northern Italian in town, elegant service, very good wine list. Fabulous place. Closed Sundays.

                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                      I'll add my comments about Tosca too. Great restaurant and great food and great waitstaff. Been many times with consistent service and food and everything.

                                    2. re: DFD

                                      Don't necessarily cross Hank's off the list because you don't do oysters. They have many non-oyster options. While I've had the fried oysters as an app both times I've been, I've never had a raw oyster there. One word of caution -- no dessert! Apparently the kitchen isn't big enough. They give you a chunk of semisweet baking chocolate instead. I guess this is just an excuse, though, to try another place for dessert. :)

                                      I'll also chime in on Dino vs. Tosca to say that you should know they're VERY different places. Dino is a laid-back neighborhood place, and you'd be more than comfortable in jeans there. Tosca, on the other hand, is much more expensive and is a white table cloth place.

                                  2. re: DFD

                                    Two other real DC choices.
                                    For Father's Day, consider Charlie Palmer's Steak at the foot of Capital Hill. A great steak and wine list made better by a knock-out view of the Capitol Dome out the window. I've lived here for decades and it still takes my breath away, silhouetted against the night sky and I pass it almost daily.
                                    Some of the best prepared, freshest seafood in town is at Seacatch, set in an historic old warehouse in Georgetown which has tables set out along the banks of the C&O Canal. The Potomac is tidal up to the port of Georgetown and the Canal was dug to transport goods inland by mule-towed barges all the way to West Virginia. Another history lesson for your daughter. Great raw bar.

                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                      Charlie Palmer is a great idea for a nice high end steak dinner and a beautiful view. I also agree with Hank's Oyster Bar---a personal favorite. They don't take reservations but I've never had to wait more then 30 minutes. They have outside seating and its a great place to people watch and enjoy excellent service and food. I'm never disappointed there.

                                  3. re: jpschust

                                    I agree. I'm not as blown away by Zaytinya as a lot of other people are.

                                    Maybe for Sunday night dinner you should go some place on U St. Most people don't tend to head there if they are just visiting and I think its a neat area. I personally really like Creme (you HAVE to get the mushroom appetizer..its delicious and simple) but if you are looking for yummy Italian you can go with Al Crostini. For a cool atmosphere and alright food you can go to Busboys and Poets. It's got a very cool vibe to it...part restaurant, part lefty book store, part coffee shop, part art gallery and part bar. You might want to go there for dessert and dinner at Creme.

                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                      So now I'm set for Komi on my last night. The night before I have a res. for Central. Should I change that to 1789? My first night--Father's Day (Dad's at home watching my other kids)--OEG or Dino's or Zaytinya?
                                      Thank you!

                                      1. re: DFD

                                        Oh def. go to Dino! It's far better then the other places you listed. And I would say stick with Central. Even though I've never been its a new restaurant that is very popular and a chance to try Michel RIchard's food without spending a ton at Citronelle.

                                        1. re: DFD

                                          Dino for father's day- they are doing some additions to the menu that look awesome.

                                          I love Central, but it can be loud- 1789 is much more formal. Both are excellent though.

                                          1. re: DFD

                                            I'd stick with Central. And either Dino's or Zaytinya for the last night. Both are very good, if very different from each other. I'd definitely give OEG the skip.

                                            1. re: DFD

                                              I prefer Dino over Zaytinya, but you really couldn't go wrong with either. Zaytinya is where the beautiful people go to be seen by other beautiful people. Dino is where you hang out and eat and drink well. Their wine list is great and amazingly well-priced.