2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012
They don't take reservations at Little Serow (rhymes with “sparrow"), and they don't accommodate special requests. There's no sign on the door, but you sense something special must be happening behind it; there's always a line of folks waiting to get into the underground dining room when it opens at 5:30, never a minute before. Komi chef Johnny Monis is the big talent behind the trim celebration of Thailand, specifically the cooking from the northeast. Washington has never seen anything like this before: Earnest gals in vintage dresses guiding you through a six-course, family-style dinner that races from hot to sour to spicy and back. With honky-tonk on the soundtrack. Here's where I've enjoyed the lightest but also the most intense coconut soup ever, in a bowl shared with snowy catfish and tingling galangal. Hand-minced pork, liver and blood is funky and fabulous. The most demure-sounding item -- nuggets of fried rice with peanuts and mint -- is pure dynamite, thanks to dried chilies in the mix. (It's okay to cry here; chances are, you will.) Little Serow's beverage program is as enticing as the food. “Johnny's making his own vermouth now," shares my caretaker behind the counter. Of course the kitchen magician is.
A fun experience and fabulous food. The ONLY criticism is the noise level because they could easily add some dampener blocks on the ceiling,,,, and initially the dishes came a bit too rapidly.... which eased up the minute we asked to slow up the process. Great sparkling rose to compliment the food. Will go back, sooner rather than later - not for the faint at heart, and yet not really as spicy as in Thailand..... every bite was deeelish!
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