As a big fan of Johnny Monis' cooking at Komi, I've often wondered what the chef's next project might bring. About eight years to the day since he opened Komi, Monis quietly unveiled his latest project, Little Serow.
Distance-wise, he didn't go far — the new restaurant occupies the basement of the brick rowhouse right next to Komi — but cooking-wise, the two restaurants are worlds apart.
Komi strongly reflects Monis's Greek heritage, but the casual new spot is devoted to the spicy, sour flavors of northeastern Thailand's Isaan cuisine.
His set menu of communal dishes is $45 for walk-ins only. No substitutions — and be warned to bring your spice tolerance. At a recent meal, I had delicious pork skin, still crackling from the fryer, with nam prik num (green chile) sauce, plus spicy cucumber salad with dried shrimp and lemongrass-flavored pork sausage.
"Whereas Komi is a natural extension of my heritage and the food I grew up with, Little Serow is a passion project," Monis says. "Isaan food has a flavor profile that I love eating on our days off and have been cooking for our staff family meal and behind the scenes for the last few years. Traveling through northern Thailand with Anne (my wife and the other half of Komi) furthered solidified the fact that we wanted to do this."
1511 17th St. NW