1st Anniversary - need knock out restaurant in DC
Have my heart set on MiniBar, considering Komi - money is not an object... suggestions welcome
Suggestions are irrelevant: it is where you can get a reservation. Having said this the best dining experience in D. C. is neither. It is the Chef's Table at Teatro Goldoni. There are numerous posts on here about it. It is the equal of any experience in the United States. I should also note that I say this having written this about a year ago: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5180...
Post #34 in this thread has photographs of the twenty or so courses which are served at Goldoni's Chef's Table: http://www.donrockwell.com/index.php?...
Komi vs. Teatro Goldoni is a tough decision. Komi, nominally Greek food, is very creative and covers a wider spectrum of flavors and cuisines. Teatro Goldoni is creative but mostly confined to Italian fundamentals. This is not to say one is better than the other, just distingushing between two equally good dining experiences. Minibar is a blast and should definitely be experienced if resources permit. As for the most romantic, you probably should look to the Inn at Little Washington.
If you can get into MiniBar, go! There is no experience like it. You will fun and have great anniversary memories.
Komi vs. Teatro Goldoni should not be a tough decision at all. Komi is excellent and inventive, and the service will help make the occasion feel special. There is a reason Komi is always busy and a hard table to book.
In my humble opinion (and with apologies to my good friend Joe H.), Teatro Goldoni is nowhere near the same class. The food is not great and at times can even be not good. Service is lacksadaisacal. There is a reason that Teatro Goldoni is almost empty every night of the week.
Other than that, you have provided too little information regarding likes/dislikes for me to dig out particular suggestions for you.
Bonz, the Chef's Table is an entirely different experience. It is truly extraordinary. I have not eaten at Goldoni in the "regular" dining room in three or four years but ten of us had an incredible dinner at the "Chef's Table" in mid December. The analogy to MiniBar is a real one: a special area/seats/table/bar set aside for an extraordinary prix fixe dinner which is not served in the dining room. At Goldoni you are served by Enzo himself who also personally cooks or oversees the preparation of the meal. My guess is that this is a loss leader as, I believe, is MiniBar. They are both the same price, i.e. $125 prix fixe. But it is truly outstanding. I think, at a minimum, equal to the best of Komi.
But again, I am only talking about the Chef's Table. I am not making a value judgment on Goldoni's dining room-I just haven't had dinner in it in years.
Eric, by the way, posted a number of excellent pictures of his dinner at Goldoni's Chef's Table on Rockwell.
Call minibar a couple minutes before they are officially open... and then keep calling, punctuality counts. Also the calls for a weeknight will not be near as many than for weekends. I will wish you luck. I got my reservation the very first time, we loved it. Even Fiance who can be a little bit safer of an eater than I loved it.
special places for a special anniversary
1. Minibar- tough reservation but I had a very memorable 50th birthday dinner there
2. Citronelle: excellent, expensive, whimsical
3. The Prime Rib: throwback to the old style classical dining experience with top notch service and food quality
4. Wolfgang Puck's The Source
5. Chefs table at Teatro Goldoni
Komi is exceptional--I had my first meal there last night. 3 hours of small dishes, some truly exquisite (tiny pieces of raw seafood, accented with wasabi or a sliver of olive; Ferran Adria style deconstructed bites, and so forth). Ending in wonderful roast goat and suckling pig. Unusual and excellent wines from Greece and elsewhere.
And yet.....in a way more food to think and talk about then to eat regularly. I do almost all my birthdays at Obelisk, and I still think on balance I would pick it over Komi; not molecular, not cutting edge, but superb ingredients perfectly cooked. More in the Chez Panisse spirt than El Bulli
I recognize that I may be the only person who feels this way, since I see so many raves for Komi and haven't seen anybody else write that they feel as I do - but with that preface, I would not recommend Komi for a special occasion for most people. The reason is that, the two times I've been there, the vibe has been joyless. It is a long parade of extraordinarily well-cooked food, and if you're someone for whom that is the goal, then by all means go - but if you are looking for a sense of pleasure in the people working there, and a sense of some vibrant energy in the room, I would look elsewhere.