Plaudits: Washingtonian 2012 Top 100
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle
Having missed a couple opportunities to eat there previously and with Official Friends of DCWD Ana and Matt coming into town, Official Girlfriend/Co-Writer of DCWD Texas and I decided to head to Johnny Monis's new restaurant, Little Serow.
Like its sister restaurant (and next door neighbor) Komi, reservations are fairly hard to come by at Little Serow... which is to say, there are none. Seats are first come, first serve beginning at 5:30; if you miss the first wave, they'll take your cell and text you when your table is ready. Though with the number of seats in the house (three fours, four or five twos, and eight or so seats at the bar), if you don't get there immediately, that might be a while. Luckily, the evening we chose was a little slow and we scored a table at 6, though from our vantage point, we saw party after party turn around at the door with a slightly bemused, slightly dejected look on their face.
Built into an English basement in the building next to Komi, Little Serow's vibe is designed like an expat bar in the middle of the jungle, helped by the dim lighting and the low sheet metal ceiling. The brick and concrete walls have been painted a sea green, and everything has a fairly country home feel, from the repurposed wood and metal furniture to the small drafting table serving as the host stand to the white wood paneled bar and the simple antique adornments behind it. Even the hostess (by far one of the most pleasant and friendly I've ever met) and the waitresses wear vintage dresses, while a steady stream of old country music plays above.
, or marinated cobia cubes with lime, lemongrass, and chilies. This was by far one of my favorites, like an Asian ceviche with just enough heat to keep you sweating. The fish was wonderful, with notes of dill to complement the citrus, but otherwise a pleasant and perfect Asian flavor profile. The fish was soft and fleshy, and continued to hit you with great tangy sweet notes. For me, the best measure of a dish is how quickly someone finishes it; this one might have been done before it hit the table.
The last touch was Little Serow's version of petit-fours: small cubes of rice and coconut cream. A bit of a throwaway, but a nice sweet bite to finish out the night.
Worth all the praise, and Chef Monis's second raging success. That a restaurant like this can exist and thrive in DC excites me greatly.
Food Rating: **** 1/2 (out of 5)
Date Rating: 4 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual
Bar Rating: N/A
Cost: $$$$ (out of 5) ($75-$100 for two)
Pairing: This might be the first pairing we do probably will have to happen before the restaurant date (such is the wait time), but since you'll have to stay close, a few options include Oyster Happy Hour at Hank's, or a sweet treat at Mr. Yogato (full disclosure, my flavor's back!)