December 21, 2010

A Dining Experience

I have been anticipating this meal for a long time. It was a much delayed - and long anticipated birthday celebration for Jonathan. You have to make a reservation exactly 30 days in advance. It takes several tries to get through to the reservation line. The time for suspense is not lacking... So, the evening finally arrives. Komi. We met my aunt there early in the evening. The restaurant has a warm atmosphere with candles and flowers decorating the dining room.

This restaurant is not a normal dining experience. There is no menu - they just cook for you. When you make the reservation they ask you dietary restrictions and preferences and then create a different menu each evening depending on their guests. The meal consists of a variety of meze, a pasta course, an entree, and then a flight of desserts. So, the only decision left for the customers is what to drink.

After selecting our wine the first meze arrived. Mine was a small steamed bun with yogurt and fried caper berries. It looked lovely and took out my iPhone to take a picture of my food. However, before I was able to capture an image one of the servers came over and told me I was not allowed to take pictures of the food. What? No pictures? In a world with Facebook, Twitpic, and Foodspotting they don’t allow diners to photograph their food. As a result the words in this blog post will be unaccompanied by photographs. A disappointment, but one that passed quickly after my first bite of steamed bun.

After the steamed bun I received a variety of different small dishes featuring vegetables.

  • Fennel cooked three ways - one of which was an amazing sliced fennel that was cooked until the edges were caramelized but the center was still crispy.
  • Beets and avocado served with candied orange peel.
  • Crispy scallions served with a dressing made of fresh herbs.
  • A perfect salad with radishes and greens.

My non-vegetarian dining companions were served a variety of seafood or vegetables small dishes. My favorite small plate was a unique version of spanakopita. Instead of the normal layers of filo and butter with spinach in between, this variation is formed into a round ball with a crispy outside and a warm spinach puree inside. Eating it is similar to biting into a chocolate truffle with a molten center. It tasted absolutely amazing.

After the vegetable and seafood dishes we were all had wonderful dates served warm, stuff with marscopone cheese, and served topped olive oil and fleur du sel. A perfect bite - and definitely a tie with the spanakopita for my favorite thing in the meal thus far.

Next was the pasta course. The non-vegetarians at the table had pasta with lamb ragu - but were a bit jealous of my dish. I had freshly made gnocchi with butter and shaved several large shavings of black truffle. It was wonderful - the gnocchi was creamy and the flavors were warm and woodsy.

Then it was finally time for the main entree. I received a chestnut flan served with winter vegetables. It was creamy and delicious with a mild nutty flavor. I had never imagined eating a savory flan, but it was lovely. And of course, again my dining companions had a different dish than I. They were served roasted goat with a variety of accompaniments. To go with our entrees we all received this fabulous fresh pita bread. Warm and buttery - it was another highlight of the meal.

Last, came desserts. We received three small dessert plates and then a salty and sweet lemon lollypop. My favorite were a wonderful caramel disk served on a spoon and a frozen variation of baklava.

The meal at Komi was like a languid adventure. It is an event more than a meal - a true dining experience. Too bad I don’t have any photos to share with you.


Anonymous said...

Truly enjoyed reading your post. And thank you for providing the link on the Komi FB group.

Robert R

Jessica said...

Thanks Robert!