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Komi, 17th & P Streets NW, 2013 James Beard Award Winning Chef Johnny Monis Rocks East Dupont - Tipping Eliminated on Sep 7, 2017 for 20% Pre-Tax Service Charge

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Thank you rbh and jca76! So far Komi is the front runner and I'll be sure to note my restrictions when/if calling for a reservation. 

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I just made a reservation to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday. I haven't been in 10+ years. I want to say I went in maybe 2005, before they had a set menu. I lived a block away for 13 years so will be revisiting old stomping grounds as well. I'm very excited!

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I cannot remember the exact year Komi started, but a group of my wine pals and I went when it was a much more casual affair ad they allowed us to indulge and bring some really good wine. We talked with everyone on the staff about the food, the wine and just shooting the sh!t. It is a great memory.   Maybe 2004? 2005? 2006?

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13 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

I cannot remember the exact year Komi started, but a group of my wine pals and I went when it was a much more casual affair ad they allowed us to indulge and bring some really good wine. We talked with everyone on the staff about the food, the wine and just shooting the sh!t. It is a great memory.   Maybe 2004? 2005? 2006?

I was at Little Serow a few weeks ago, and Johnny told me he's worked every Valentine's day for 14 straight years, FWIW.

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13 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

I cannot remember the exact year Komi started, but a group of my wine pals and I went when it was a much more casual affair ad they allowed us to indulge and bring some really good wine. We talked with everyone on the staff about the food, the wine and just shooting the sh!t. It is a great memory.   Maybe 2004? 2005? 2006?

Komi opened in 2003 I believe. Took over from a Roberto Donna outpost called Vivo or something like that.

in the early days Komi had a great brunch. I don’t miss much about living across the street, but that’s one thing.

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50 minutes ago, Keithstg said:

Komi opened in 2003 I believe. Took over from a Roberto Donna outpost called Vivo or something like that.

Can you believe how *different* Komi was when it first opened, with Sebastian Zutant getting his start, and those beignets you'd dip in hot chocolate?

---

BTW, here are the original internet posts on Komi - this is when I was active on eGullet, but just before I agreed to become Forum Host (I resisted for as long as I could, but the third time he approached me, Steve Klc wouldn't take no for an answer - one thing's for sure: Steve Klc is the person who changed the course of my life).

For those who care, my very first eGullet post is here (I was a sarcastic little snot even then; this was less than one year after Karen died. My goodness, Isabella must hate my guts: my second post is here); all my stuff there can be found here (not in order; the oldest stuff is on page 31). That said, I got my start posting on one of those rec.dc.restaurants newsgroups on Usenet in the 1990s - ironically, a friend of mine wrote me then and said, "In all seriousness, have you ever thought about being a restaurant critic?" 

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1 minute ago, DonRocks said:

Can you believe how *different* Komi was when it first opened, with Sebastian Zutant getting his start, and those beignets you'd dip in hot chocolate?

That “Mexican” hot chocolate was incredible! They still had goat back then, too.

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20 minutes ago, Keithstg said:

Took over from a Roberto Donna outpost called Vivo or something like that.

It was an Il Radicchio for awhile. I don't remember Vivo.

ETA: I still have no recollection of Vivo despite living a block away when it was open, but according to the intertubes it was in fact in that space, probably between Il Radicchio and Komi.

16 minutes ago, Keithstg said:

They still had goat back then, too.

That goat was life changing for me. I hadn't eaten much goat up until then. I still fantasize about that goat.

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57 minutes ago, dracisk said:

It was an Il Radicchio for awhile. I don't remember Vivo.

ETA: I still have no recollection of Vivo despite living a block away when it was open, but according to the intertubes it was in fact in that space, probably between Il Radicchio and Komi.

That goat was life changing for me. I hadn't eaten much goat up until then. I still fantasize about that goat.

They still had a pizza oven back then, too.

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2 hours ago, Keithstg said:

Komi opened in 2003 I believe. Took over from a Roberto Donna outpost called Vivo or something like that.

in the early days Komi had a great brunch. I don’t miss much about living across the street, but that’s one thing.

Yes, 2003 makes more sense to me. We've only ben back to Komi, my wife and I, maybe 4 or 5 times from maybe 2003 to 2011 or so. Recently tried to head back, but were thwarted due to our lack of planning. We'll fix that soon.

2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Can you believe how *different* Komi was when it first opened, with Sebastian Zutant getting his start, and those beignets you'd dip in hot chocolate?

--

Loved that stuff - truly! I remember the dining area was really quite casual at the time when they first opened.

1 hour ago, Keithstg said:

That “Mexican” hot chocolate was incredible! They still had goat back then, too.

Truth!

1 hour ago, dracisk said:

It was an Il Radicchio for awhile. I don't remember Vivo.

ETA: I still have no recollection of Vivo despite living a block away when it was open, but according to the intertubes it was in fact in that space, probably between Il Radicchio and Komi.

That goat was life changing for me. I hadn't eaten much goat up until then. I still fantasize about that goat.

I could not agree more.

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According to their website, the prix fixe is increasing from $150 to $165 as of July 1, with a notation that "A 20% pre-tax service fee will be applied to the final bill; no tipping necessary."  That is to say, the charge will effectively be $137.50 (not including alcohol and tax).  No mention of whether tip is also built into the drink prices (e.g., the $85 pairing).

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4 hours ago, Marty L. said:

According to their website, the prix fixe is increasing from $150 to $165 as of July 1, with a notation that "A 20% pre-tax service fee will be applied to the final bill; no tipping necessary."  That is to say, the charge will effectively be $137.50 (not including alcohol and tax).  No mention of whether tip is also built into the drink prices (e.g., the $85 pairing).

That is not how I read it. I took it to mean they will now auto- tip for you and you don't need to tip extra. Was it $150 out the door before? I would expect the new total cost to be $165 + 10% tax + 20% tip = $214.50.

Otherwise it would probably say "tip included; no further tipping necessary."

Edited by guanabana
clarity
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3 minutes ago, guanabana said:

That is not how I read it. I took it to mean they will now auto- tip for you and you don't need to tip extra. Was it $150 out the door before? I would expect the new total cost to be $165 + 10% tax + 20% tip = $214.50.

Otherwise it would probably say "tip included; no further tipping necessary."

You're right, guanabana, that that's the more natural reading. Perhaps it's right. But wouldn't that defeat the purpose others have had (e.g., Danny Meyer) of building the service fee into the cost and precluding tips, which is to allow the restaurant to share the fee with the BOH?

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I *believe* that legally, if you call an automatic, extra charge a gratuity, then it must go to the server, but if you call it a service fee, it can be split up among many members of the service team, including managers, or even a portion kept by the establishment.

Service charges are also subject to tax. Since this is "pre-tax" my calculation is $165 + $33 + $19.80 = $217.80

Still worth it because Komi rocks

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We had a great meal for our  25th Anniversary the other week at Komi.  Service was personalbe and professional.  Highlights were the amberjack with berebere, the grilled watermelon, stuffed dates, corn tortellini, and of course the goat.  I don’t know how they got corn that sweet in the tortellini.  Also, bergamot soda was great for this non-drinker.  My only question was the mild flavor in the Italian summer truffle for the pasta course. I was expecting something funkier.  Kudos to Komi!

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14 hours ago, ICD said:

We had a great meal for our  25th Anniversary the other week at Komi.  Service was personalbe and professional.  Highlights were the amberjack with berebere, the grilled watermelon, stuffed dates, corn tortellini, and of course the goat.  I don’t know how they got corn that sweet in the tortellini.  Also, bergamot soda was great for this non-drinker.  My only question was the mild flavor in the Italian summer truffle for the pasta course. I was expecting something funkier.  Kudos to Komi!

Summer truffles are never as pungent as Winter truffles, in my experience. 

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On 2/24/2018 at 11:38 AM, DonRocks said:

For those who care, my very first eGullet post is here (I was a sarcastic little snot even then; this was less than one year after Karen died. My goodness, Isabella must hate my guts: my second post is here); all my stuff there can be found here (not in order; the oldest stuff is on page 31). That said, I got my start posting on one of those rec.dc.restaurants newsgroups on Usenet in the 1990s - ironically, a friend of mine wrote me then and said, "In all seriousness, have you ever thought about being a restaurant critic?" 

On a tangent, I never told you that you had me with this comment (on one of your early posts on eG): "Don's House Of Nuts... Get your nuts in here"

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Posted (edited)

Komi's turned into Happy Gyro for June.  It's like a really refined vegetarian diner (think Chicago Diner or the local Fare Well putting on airs).  It continuously riffed on (at least my) childhood memories of favorite foods--sure, they're elevated here and fancier, but darn if they're still not comforting and deeply satisfying.

There were about 8 dishes of varying sizes, with the main attraction being a choice between a gyro or a cheesesteak.  My wife and I picked one of each and split them.  Both were delicious and would be perfect replacements for Adams Morgan's post-drinking jumbo slice, but my heart belongs to the gyro because it was the closest thing in the USA I've had to the gyro of my formative years.  The mini tacos tasted like--and this is a true compliment--how I remember Taco Bell decades ago.  There was also mushroom souvlaki, beet fritters, feta and tomato salad, garlic bread, roasted squash, and strawberry ice cream.  Everything was outstanding. 

(To those who may be curious: as far as I could tell, there wasn't any tofu, seitan, or processed meat substitutes--it was mostly mushrooms or legumes in place of meat.) (EDIT: jca76 kindly explains below that the gyro is tofu-based.  I was too busy Snuffles-ing to be bothered to ask.)

Edited by washingtony
correction
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second the rave for happy gyro!  i've never been to chicago diner or fare well, but to me it's basically vegetarian greek little serow.  (if johnny and anne want to open this concept as a third restaurant, i am so there for it.)  

as washingtony notes, the mini black walnut taco is playing on some serious childhood nostalgia vibes.  think ground beef texture -- how do they do that with walnut?! -- shredded iceberg lettuce, crunchy shells, old el paso seasoning.  the souvlaki was two bites of excellent umami, layers of crispy-edged mushroom with a bit of chew in the center.  the beet "morcilla'" was probably my least favorite dish of the night -- which is still a pretty decent floor -- because while i loved the sweet corn puree accompanying it, i found the crunchy, fried beet fritter to be a bit dry.  greek salad (tomato, cucumber, onion, caper) was elevated by a delicious whipped feta.  two outstanding cold salads came at the same time:  the first a mix of white and green asparagus, baby potatoes, and dried olive bits that were almost bacon bits-y in their salty umami.  in the second, roasted summer squash and really crispy halloumi were dressed in a lovely herby green sauce.  both had excellent acidity.  mini belgian waffles topped with tzatziki, radish, and tiny purple allium flowers was as beautiful as it was tasty -- a balance of carby crunch, creaminess, brightness, acidity, and something sweet.  the tofu gyro was fantastic; they manage to get an amazing texture out of the thinly sliced tofu (compressed?  tofu skin?  not sure), and of course anyone who has done the normal menu knows how great the tzatziki and especially the pillowly komi pita are.  but the chicory cheese steak was a sleeper hit for me; i'm not usually a bitter vegetable fan, but the bitterness was mellowed by cooking and balanced by the gooey cheesiness, while still having a nice char.  strawberry ice cream had vivid berry flavor, and the sweet-salty-crunchy polenta topping provided a great contrast.    

an excellent meal and really great value, especially for the quantity of food.  i'm definitely going to return before the end of the month!  

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23 hours ago, washingtony said:

Komi's turned into Happy Gyro for June.  It's like a really refined vegetarian diner (think Chicago Diner or the local Fare Well putting on airs).  It continuously riffed on (at least my) childhood memories of favorite foods--sure, they're elevated here and fancier, but darn if they're still not comforting and deeply satisfying.

28 minutes ago, jca76 said:

second the rave for happy gyro!  i've never been to chicago diner or fare well, but to me it's basically vegetarian greek little serow.  (if johnny and anne want to open this concept as a third restaurant, i am so there for it.)  

Okay, thanks for the information. Now would everyone please shut up until I get my reservation?!

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This sounds really fun, although I am truly terrible at remember reservation/ticket release days and logging on timely.

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Thank you @washingtony and @jca76 for your detailed descriptions of the dishes. 

I was intrigued, but for me,  it sounds like there is too little innovation or reimagination of a greek/mediterranean inspired plant-based menu.  I fear I would be underwhelmed so I will forgo.

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As of this writing, there are two-tops for:

* Tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:30, 5:45, 8:45, and 9:00

* Friday, same times

* Saturday, 9:00 and 9:15

If you all don't want a MIchelin-starred, vegetarian meal for $60, plus wine pairings for $50 (that are worth 50% more than that), I feel sorry for you.

Get the reservations, now, and if you can't do it this week, camp online next week at 2 PM on Tuesday.

Trust me,
Rocks

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On 6/9/2019 at 9:47 PM, jca76 said:

second the rave for happy gyro!  i've never been to chicago diner or fare well, but to me it's basically vegetarian greek little serow.  (if johnny and anne want to open this concept as a third restaurant, i am so there for it.)  

as washingtony notes, the mini black walnut taco is playing on some serious childhood nostalgia vibes.  think ground beef texture -- how do they do that with walnut?! -- shredded iceberg lettuce, crunchy shells, old el paso seasoning.  the souvlaki was two bites of excellent umami, layers of crispy-edged mushroom with a bit of chew in the center.  the beet "morcilla'" was probably my least favorite dish of the night -- which is still a pretty decent floor -- because while i loved the sweet corn puree accompanying it, i found the crunchy, fried beet fritter to be a bit dry.  greek salad (tomato, cucumber, onion, caper) was elevated by a delicious whipped feta.  two outstanding cold salads came at the same time:  the first a mix of white and green asparagus, baby potatoes, and dried olive bits that were almost bacon bits-y in their salty umami.  in the second, roasted summer squash and really crispy halloumi were dressed in a lovely herby green sauce.  both had excellent acidity.  mini belgian waffles topped with tzatziki, radish, and tiny purple allium flowers was as beautiful as it was tasty -- a balance of carby crunch, creaminess, brightness, acidity, and something sweet.  the tofu gyro was fantastic; they manage to get an amazing texture out of the thinly sliced tofu (compressed?  tofu skin?  not sure), and of course anyone who has done the normal menu knows how great the tzatziki and especially the pillowly komi pita are.  but the chicory cheese steak was a sleeper hit for me; i'm not usually a bitter vegetable fan, but the bitterness was mellowed by cooking and balanced by the gooey cheesiness, while still having a nice char.  strawberry ice cream had vivid berry flavor, and the sweet-salty-crunchy polenta topping provided a great contrast.    

an excellent meal and really great value, especially for the quantity of food.  i'm definitely going to return before the end of the month!  

All I can say is ditto--this post pretty much sums up my impression of Happy Gyro. The only thing I would add is that the wine parings are fabulous, too. Get a reservation, if you can. You won't be sorry.

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52 minutes ago, DIShGo said:

All I can say is ditto--this post pretty much sums up my impression of Happy Gyro. The only thing I would add is that the wine parings are fabulous, too. Get a reservation, if you can. You won't be sorry.

I concur wholeheartedly.  What a blast.  And if you're lucky, some nights Johnny has a few pizzas available, too, which are (not surprisingly) fantastic. But the gyro is even better.

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