Sunday evening was our last night in D.C. (as well as being my birthday eve), so the time was ripe for celebrating. We headed across the city to one of the few places in D.C. that I knew about in advance (and one of the very few that were in our price range): Proof.
It was a Sunday night, so we were able to get a table no problem. We were led into the cool, hip-ly decorated restaurant to an enormous cushy booth, all to ourselves. The vibe was simultaneously upbeat and chill, with loud but not overbearing music and cool touches like boudoir-themed bathrooms with black toilets. Nice.
Anyway, back to the food and drink. I started with a glass of sparkling "Punkt" gruner veltliner, an interesting selection I'd never had before. It was crisp and tasty, served in a beautiful glass, and a great start to the meal. AV chose a Fruli strawberry Belgian white beer, which our server described as with a "touch of strawberry" but was positively bursting with the fruit. It was so strawberry-packed even I liked it. We also sipped water from their cool, tulip-shaped glasses. Very nice all around.
While other tables around us started out with yummy-looking flatbread, our table was still sadly breadless as our first dish arrived. We had decided to start with the olives, which was an extremely generous portion of the little bites. This was a good selection, refreshingly un-oily, and a perfect way to begin the meal.
My main selection was a "Roasted baby beets and kaleidoscope carrots with aged goat cheese" salad. This was quite a creative salad, offering an interesting twist on the traditional beets-and-goat cheese pairing. The beets were tender and sweet, artfully offset by the funky aged goat cheese (although I tend to prefer fresh goat cheese, but that's just me). The carrots were the long and thin mini kind, which I love. And the bed of well-dressed arugula was studded with crushed hazelnuts. A rich and very delicious salad.
Finally, we split the salad of local asparagus and sunflower shoots. This salad, draped with a covering of parmesan, was also creative, with halved peeled asparagus spears in a bed of tasty greens. I liked it, although AV pointed out he prefers his asparagus warm. Good to know.
About halfway through our final salad, we realized the bread was not forthcoming, so we flagged down our waiter and asked him for some, in addition to placing an order for a second glass of wine for me (a two-ounce taste of Greco di Tufo, an interesting white he had recommended. Extra kudos to Proof for offering all wines by the glass in three different sizes, which lets you try lots of different kinds). While the glass of wine did arrive, no bread did. So finally we flagged down a different waiter, who finally brought over a container of salt-sprinkled thick flatbread with an accompanying dish of greek yogurt for dipping. While it was tasty, especially with the oil-drizzled yogurt, it wasn't really worth the wait. We both would have preferred "real" (i.e., non-flat) bread, which I think would have gone better with the wine and food selections Proof offered.
We debated their dessert menu, particularly an enticing sticky toffee pudding, but we were both a bit too full for a full-fledged dessert, so we paid the check and skipped out to the nearby outpost of Gifford's for an ice cream extravaganza. Mmmm. But bread issues aside, we were both very happy with Proof-- the food was both thoughtful and well-executed, creative without straying from comfortable flavors. And our waiter was reassuringly knowledgeable about wine, something I really like seeing from staff at wine-centric establishments. If I lived in D.C., I know Proof could well be one of my favorite places. It's an easy-going, friendly and comfortable four-Offset Spatula destination.
775 G Street