August 15th, 2009
Visiting kora was required. It was like paying homage to the recently fallen Farrah Olivia. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Farrah Olivia. I saw Chef Morou when we walked in and got some butterflies in my stomach (Did he know that I was not-so-secretly in love with his Farrah? I think my face betrayed me).
The decor looked nice at first glance (hi tree branch wall!), but while sitting and looking around, it started to loose its charm. The purple wall paper with silver decals went from looking minimalistic to cheap. We saw chunks of wall that had been left unpainted and some dirty parts of the floor. The exposed warehouse-like ceilings were somehow a step down from Bebo Trattoria, which lived in this space before. Metal meshed boxes acted as dividers in one part of the restaurant and had purple lanterns in them. A nice idea, but I felt like I needed to hang some earrings on the boxes and the lanterns were quite obviously from Ikea, so lost their charm. I really like the tree branch decals on the wall near the pizza oven up front, but unfortunately this wall was out of sight for most people dining and almost completely covered by the oven. Can’t we just give you our lacy chandeliers and you can give our half of the restaurant tree branches? Maybe I’m just being stubborn because Farrah Olivia had similar tree branches in their dining room.
The service was a big miss at our table. Our waitress was trying to sell us really hard on wine and other things, and did not know the menu at all. When I asked her to explain a dessert, she said “I don’t know” and went to check with the kitchen. She was gone for quite a while, but she seemed to always be missing when we needed her, even though there were only a few tables filled.
The bread was a little dense for my taste, but I loved the vellum Italian newspaper it came wrapped in. The Margherita my boyfriend ordered was a little sparse on the toppings, but the sausage (we added) was very flavorful and juicy. My half order of tortelloni was very good. The saffron cream sauce paired well with the butternut squash filling, but the pasta itself was a tad thick and too al dente for my tastes. I do like the fact that they allow half and full orders of almost all of their pastas. The menu at kora changes a little bit week to week. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re finding out what diners like best or if they’re trying to stay seasonal, but it’s good to know they’re keeping up either way.
The espresso laced tiramisu was, in one word, yummy. It had a very pronounced coffee flavor and the perfect mixture of custard-y texture and airy cake. The mascarpone cream and zabaglione were nice accompaniments that didn’t overwhelm the cake itself. I’m happy that I got to visit kora the first week that it opened, but I’m not sure I would go back. If it was in my neighborhood I might visit for brunch (Morou’s got a reputation!), or a quick catch-up lunch, but it’s in Crystal City. If there were things close to the restaurant or if I lived in the area, it’d be another story. As is, kora isn’t quite worth the trip. Yet.