Wine Bars With Great Food Part I

A few months ago I discovered that Proof, known for their extensive wine list and knowledgeable sommeliers, actually has outstanding food. This epiphany was confirmed with my visit to Proof on Friday night for my friend’s birthday. Although I was disappointed to see that the menu had changed minimally since the last time I went as I was hoping for some new seasonal favorites, I tried many dishes I hadn’t had before and to my delight everything we ordered was a success.

The heirloom tomato salad with cucumbers and onions reminded me of something I first discovered at a young age in my father’s garden: tomatoes in August are incredible. In addition to the salad, we started with the tuna tartare, perfectly tender served in a spicy soy sauce for a kick of flavor. As for my main course, I ordered the scallops in green pea puree (which just tasted like potatoes), pea shoots, and a dab of carrot emulsion (barely noticeable). Although the accompaniments were a little odd, the scallops themselves were delicious. I also tasted the swordfish, a fish that I almost never eat because of its high mercury count and my general indifference towards large fish steaks, and it was phenomenally tender as our waiter promised. The miso glazed sablefish with soba noodles, zucchini, golden squash, and toasted sesame was my favorite dish because both the fish and all of the sides came had a great combination of flavors. The birthday girl ordered the Crispy Duck & Pork Confit (because why not, it was her day). The dish’s flavors successfully married the two different types of meat but both were too fatty for my taste.

Birthday dinner in Proof's modern, dimly lit dining room

Birthday dinner in Proof's modern, dimly lit dining room

This was a pretty serious dinner that would not have been complete without dessert and cheese. The cheesecake was incredible, rivaled only perhaps by the cheesecake at Wolfgang Puck’s DC restaurant, The Source, which caused my mildly lactose-intolerant friend to faint in their bathroom stall. Proof’s version is such a large portion of rich cheesecake that it can be comfortably split among four people, especially after a large meal. Ordering cheese for dessert is my new favorite thing; I would much rather finish my wine with some great cheese than fill up on such a heavy food as an appetizer before my dinner. Some cheese plate highlights:

Red Hawk: super stinky but smooth and relatively mild taste—a very strange sensation

Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar: not so glamorous, but I love cheddar so I don’t care

Pont-l’Eveque: Kind of weird, I thought it was going to be more brie-y, my least favorite

So please, go to Proof for dinner, not just drinks. And feast on cheese.

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