Komi, Washington, DC (Mediterranean)

Chef: Johnny Monis

Born and raised in Arlington, Chef Johnny Monis was initially a student in the Pre-Med program at James Madison University before dropping out after realizing he was more interested in pursuing a culinary career. He then enrolled at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, South Carolina, where he also left before graduation when he decided that he was learning more about cooking while working at McCrady’s on the side. Born the son of Greek immigrants, as a child, Monis spent much of his time at his parent’s small Greek café and pizza shop. He is heavily influenced by his Grandmother and the small beach town of Komi in Greece where his restaurant got its name. Preferring to live a private life, Johnny Monis is one of the most revered chefs on the DC scene, but little is known about him due to his strict take on privacy.

Opened in 2004 as a playful, casual restaurant, Komi was closed and remodeled in 2006, cutting the number of seats in half, and changing the menu from A La Carte to a Prix Fixe only menu. The atmosphere now is small and dimly lit, simply decorated with white linens, allowing the food to be the star of the show. Monis demands perfection in all his dishes and has been known to work for years perfecting a dish before placing it on his menu. With no written menu, Komi offers a tasting menu of approximately 12 dishes, the first of which are meant to be eaten quickly upon their arrival and in one bite such as the Trout Roe and on a Brioche Bun. No pictures are allowed in the restaurant to better respect Monis’ privacy and allow the food to speak for itself. Monis prides himself on variations of texture in his dishes, and this starter dish showcases this perfectly. Chef Monis makes all his pasta by hand and has been known to work with farmers to create a diet for the chickens that creates the best egg yolks possible. While the menu changes regularly, one can only hope to experience the House Mint and Pea Agnolotti whose flavors will leave you wanting more. The Roasted Lamb is cooked to perfection and literally falls off the bone. With pauses in between many of the courses, the entire dining experience traditionally takes about three hours and is meant to be slowly savored and enjoyed. Komi offers a wine pairing if desired, with a paired down wine list featuring traditional “old world” wines. Well worth the wait for a reservation, you will leave in awe of the experience when dining at Komi.

  • 1 Michelin Stars, 2017
  • James Beard Award, Best Chef Mid-Atlantic (2013)

Website: www.komirestaurant.com

Phone: (202) 332-9200

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Tony Lagana

Chef Tony is a 42-year veteran of the food industry and is often known by his peers as “The New Product Guru.” Throughout his illustrious culinary career, he’s earned several notable titles and positions including Acquisition International’s “Most Influential Product Development Expert, U.S.” in 2019.

In 1997, Tony also founded Culinary Systems Inc., a group of culinary consultants that assist with culinary training, restaurant start-ups, concept development, and more. Since then, Tony and his team have generated over two billion dollars in sales for their clients in restaurants, retail, and manufacturing.

The strategic, technical, and culinary skills of Tony and his team can be seen on the menus of national chains, in the portfolio of national food manufacturers, and on the grocery shelves of products produced by major retail companies.