all (gorgeous) photos: Dakota Fine
all words: Svetlana Legetic
At the very start of November, on Komi’s 8th birthday, Johnny Monis, and his new wife and longtime restaurateur partner Anne Marler opened the doors to Little Serow, their new and (somehow) even more intimate restaurant concept, tucked in neatly below the restaurant DC has known and love them for.
Since then, DC has been abuzz with stories of this new “downstairs” venture to their “upstairs” (for the record, restaurants have two separate entries, and Little Serow, unlike Komi, will not be taking reservations).
We were lucky enough to be invited for a first look and photo tour of the eatery, which we hope you enjoy at least a fraction as much as we did while being there.
Utilizing their true and trusted team from Komi, Monis and Marler decided to explore a completely different flavor palate from Monis’ fabled tasting menus “upstairs” (which are influenced by Monis’ Greek heritage). Little Serow serves traditional dishes from the Isaan and northern region of Thailand (which leans towards the more spicy and sour tastes and is known for utilizing A LOT of fresh herbs), with each dish being intended to share.
Monis has been quoted as saying, “It’s customary to have more dishes on the table than people around it, and everything is shared.”
The menu, which is priced at a cost of $45 for 6-7 dishes, will rotate weekly, and can be will be posted each week on the restaurant’s Website. The dishes we tasted during the first week were a true delight, fearless in their spiciness with dishes like crackling pork rinds, spicy cucumber salads and lemongrass-flavored pork sausage…
All of which, we think it’s safe to say, has the potential of becoming almost a game amongst DC’s dedicated foodies-I mean, how could one resist stopping in regularly and seeing what new and exciting things are cooking in their little, well lit kitchen, tucked at the end of the very flatteringly lit, 50s green dining room.
And why wouldn’t you, since the staff is friendly and knowledgeable (and from what we saw, dressed in the kind of dresses that evoke , the central island (not a bar, it should be noted) is perfect for communing with both your fellow diners as well as sommelier Kathryn Bangs, who is in charge of the creative beer and wine menu here (as she is at Komi)
and the little touches you notice throughout (like the play on paper picnic plates with their dinnerware) make you appreciate the spirit and sense of humor the space has been built with.
While Komi will endure one of our #1 picks for any special occasion in town (that table by the window should forever remain one of the most covetable Valentine’s day reservations in DC), it is nice to know that it now has a Little, more approachable sister downstairs that we can visit with more often.
(Little Serow: 1511 17th St. NW, Washington, DC. Doors open at 5:30 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and it’s first come, first served.)