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Jun 14, 2012 09:40 AM

Komi...a huge disappointment...just saying

Ok…someone needs to stand up here and say this emperor has no clothes!

We have dined in fine restaurants all over the world, and have spent much more than Komi’s (in this case, exorbitant price) per person. This restaurant is a joke. In fact we laughed often at it’s pretentiousness- which they are, in spite of it’s amateurish fare and modest décor.

Some lowlights:
-the little brioche bite topped with salted cod: this cod was extremely salty, and stringy…getting stuck in our teeth. Salt cod is supposed to be soaked in baths of water to remove most the salt. These ‘creative’ chefs-thought they didn’t need to…they really should.

- crudo of hamachi and sea urchin on a chickpea ginger puree
 and crudo of Monkfish liver and scallops: interesting textures I guess…but no flavors…zero …isn’t it supposed to taste good too? …or just taste of something?

- the sardines were tasty…but we were asked to share! two tiny 2” pieces of fish. There were 4 of us, and I was sharing this tiny plate with the person to my side…trying valiantly to slice this “bite” in two…and carry it with fork and knife to my fresh dish placed ceremoniously before me. What? For $125 per person…we are asked to share this dish?

- The little hot dogs were a happy relief. It’s popular because it’s the first dish of the evening that has FLAVOR!

- I know what a good potato gnocchi is…I do. I’ve had it all over Italy. This was soggy, mushy, barely formed gnocchi….with no discernable flavor. This gnocchi was like my first mistakes, trying to learn how to make a good gnocchi….not enough four worked in or something.

- A super sweet stuffed date in the middle of dinner? …super sweet. Wrong place, wrong time….too-too.

- The suckling pig should be a happy time. Greasy, not tender chunks of..pig, with skin that had the texture of leather. Sad.

- This Goat shoulder. It had no flavor. It tasted like it was boiled for a day…pulled out, and dried and then seared crisp on the outside. Great crunch on the outside…no flavor..just boiled meat flavor…awful bland mushy meat on the inside. Thank goodness for the little tasty sides that could mask the meat.

- Oh the little balls of…breaded cheese. Crisp on the outside, melted cheese on the inside. They hold out a plate of them, and ask us to use our fingers to serve ourselves…and then add it might be a little warm. Well, there is no way to test that…holding this cheese ball in our fingers, and it’s bite size…so it gets popped in the mouth. One of our party said she thought it burned the top of her mouth. Shouldn’t they have the temperature of it down…so this doesn’t happen? Dumb. Put it on a plate then, so we could cut into it and test the temperature.

- The gyro was very good, the rigatoni was good.

- These desserts are a sad play on dessert. When you see little chocolate things, you expect sweet, right. Not here….no sweet- for all three desserts. The some kind of “bark” actually tasted of burnt, sticky sugar…and this stuff got stuck on our teeth….really. Something sticky and nasty.

Yes, they will have two servers presenting plates at the same time, switching out fresh dishes in front of us that are many times not used, because they also suggest we use our fingers and serve ourselves family style from a community serving dish. …or they ask us to share dishes that are placed between two people- and it seems useless to cut and drag your portion to the fresh plate in front of you.

Honestly…a waste of money, and time. Who’s agreeing with me here? I can’t be alone.

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  1. I've never been there, but your review is just what a review should be: very detailed so that others can know exactly what the issues were and make informed decisions before spending a considerable sum on a meal. I really appreciate your taking the time to write it all out.

    1. I'm sure there are others who've had a bad meal there. Most complaints I've heard of are from rather big people who think the portions were too small. I can assure you that Komi is worthy of at least 1 Michelin star (if it was in NYC).

      4 Replies
      1. re: Worldwide Diner

        I assure you that I am very fit, and never mentioned the size of the portions. I attempted to post information on the quality of flavors of the dishes. There was plenty of food presented.

        1. re: DeborahC

          I count at least five distinct references to portion size:

          "little brioch bite"

          "two tiny 2” pieces of fish"

          "little hot dogs"

          "little balls of…breaded cheese"

          "little chocolate things"

        2. re: Worldwide Diner

          Honestly, this restaurant as serves now-as of April 2012 couldn't dream of a Michelin star even if they plopped it on top of le Tour de Eiffel.

          1. re: DeborahC

            Absolutely no chance of a Michelin star. Its ranking is solely based on perception and service...being ranked by individuals that have no business reviewing/rating food.

        3. We made our first visit to Komi in the fall of 2008 and our second in 2010. Both times we thought our meal at Komi was heaven. One of the best dining experiences of our lives and, like you, we have dined all over the world.

          We made our 3rd visit to Komi in November 2011, not long after they had opened their Thai-style restaurant, Little Serow, downstairs. What a difference that experience was. We were profoundly disappointed. As you said, almost every dish had no flavor at all. The highlight was the half-smoke and a pasta dish was quite good. Beyond that, everything else was totally forgettable. We noticed that the chef, Johnny Monis, was not in the kitchen. We were told by the wait staff that he was in the kitchen at Little Serow. Everything about the evening was off, from the food, to the service, to the wines (their-then sommelier, Kat Bangs, was also downstairs). The gap between this visit and our previous visits could not have been wider. We couldn't help but wonder if having the chef's attention diverted to the new endeavor was having an adverse effect on his flagship. This would not be unusual, just very, very sad.

          Needless to say, we concluded that a future visit to Komi was not in the cards -- too risky for such an expensive outing.

          4 Replies
          1. re: foodtrip

            I read an article somewhere that described the DC restaurant scene as having some truly great restaurants at any given time, but with short shelf lives. They start out phenomenal, but within a few years they are shadows of the former restaurant, resting on the laurels. Maybe the case here as well?

            1. re: lalajane

              Or maybe it's this cycle: a chef starts a great restaurant -> it blows up -> turns trendy -> chef (leaves and) opens up another restaurant that will "blow up" -> original turns into shell of former self.

              I've never been to Komi or Little Serow, but it could be the case here.

              1. re: mdpilam

                Komi and Little Sparrow are chef owned so I don't think that this has anything to do with it.

                1. re: wineo1957

                  Right, but it's by the same person, that's what I was suggesting (again, haven't been to either, but I have seen this happen before, where a chef leaves his original and opens a second restaurant and the original suffers due to his focusing his efforts on the new darling).

          2. What city are you from? Only ask to get a point of reference. I haven't been to Komi in 3 years but I left with a good impression. There were hits and misses but better than some of the top 50 pellegrino restaurants I've been to.

            Perhaps foodtrip is right and quality has gone down.

            1. One can say alot of things about Komi -- unfocused, small portions, too avant-garde or trendy -- but lack of flavor is probably not one of them.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Please, enlighten all of us here...and defend those dishes. Tell us what the goat shoulder tasted like, was the salt cod topping prepared thoughtfully, great gnocchi?,

                1. re: DeborahC

                  Well, it was several years ago, and we had the "dinner" tasting at $90/person.

                  The highlights of the meal were the Shellfish Sabayon on a spoon which was both tart and briny -- in a good way.

                  We also had the famous “Spanakopita” -- which made me rethink the whole notion of Cesar Salads and perhaps even the whole concept of smoothies.

                  King Salmon Belly was probably like the foie of the ocean.

                  The baba ghanoush was fine, but certainly not memorable.

                  Were all the dishes great? No, absolutely not. But was the entire meal worthwhile and spectacular? Yes. And I've been back a couple of time since.

                  To each her own, I suppose.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Yes, I agree that the Spanakopita was very good. We were not presented with any of the other dishes that you mentioned here.

                    I suggest at the very least, that multiple years is a long time to continue a strong defense of this restaurant...that now costs $125. Please...go again and let us know what you think.

                    1. re: DeborahC

                      I was there just this past winter. And my opinion has not changed.