Um, yes. I can't wait to return to Proof. We've been eyeing it for years but for some reason have never made it by. So, spur of the moment tonight after handing off our kiddos to the grandparents, we headed downtown, sat in the bar and had a wonderful evening. The ambiance works- wine bottles everywhere, fashionably stored, curved wood, cool lighting, hip but not pretentious staff. The only really weird component was the ladies room which was like a slutty throwback to 1950s airline travel. I'm serious- the stalls were hot pink and silver with tiny, stainless steel toilets that looked as if they belonged aboard a 737. One panel of wallpaper was a strange, repeating graphic of fishnet-clad legs from the hips down, fanning out from a pair of panties. EXTREMELY odd and dissonant.But back to the 99% of Proof that was great. I love restaurants where you can sit in the bar and get full service without feeling as if you're some drag on the mother ship. Bar eating is so casual yet I don't feel like you miss a beat. Good bartenders know what's up, and a good restaurant knows not to slight those who opt to eat in the more informal section(s) of the joint. We started with a plates of pickles (rhubarb, squash, red onion, sweet peppers and haricot verts) and tempura (pole beans, zucchini and mushrooms); both were quite good. I loved the haricot vert, onion and squash pickles especially, and though I'm not generally a fry gal, the tempura mushrooms were absolutely divine. You got a huge burst of fresh mushroom accented by a light fry- yum. In the meantime, T ordered an IPA, and I ordered two 2 oz glasses of white wine: the Ponzi Arneis (an Italian varietal but grown in the Willamette (OR) where you can find Ponzi) and the Domaine Drouhin "Arthur" Chard (also in the Willamette but Drouhin is French). Both were excellent but the Chard was impeccable. Initially, it smelled like blue cheese in a wine glass. I'm serious- I stuck my nose in there and thought I was in a good wedge salad. Delightful. It was yeasty on the tongue but retained some of that stinkiness, and I mean that as a compliment. Interestingly, I ordered a second 2 oz pour, and the blue cheese scent was much less pronounced. So, my olfactory sense was inured to it OR someone rubbed my first glass with stinky cheese hands. I'm hoping for the former.
As an aside, I love when a) a bar/restaurant has a really good and thoughtful wine list, b) the staff actually knows about the wines on that list, and c) you can get small pours and make your own flight.
Because of this, I moved on to reds when dinner arrived. We chose to share the fresh egg tagliatelle with heirloom tomatoes, bottarga, Calabrian sweet peppers, mint and parm, and the organic roast chicken with goat cheese-mushroom filling and rapini-polenta. Ridiculous. I loved both. T got another IPA and I ordered two more 2 oz pours, this time of the Turley Old Vines Zin and the Bergstrom Willamette Pinot. They were fabulously good. We pretty much devoured everything and considered feeling full but then reconsidered that. Thank goodness we did. You know how most restaurants' weak link is the dessert selection? They're just never that great. Well, Proof's desserts were almost the best part of the the meal. We opted for the Caramel Brioche Bread Pudding and the Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake with Gianduja ice cream. Mary, mother of god. I couldn't decide which was better. Suffice it to say that both were insanely good and we basically licked the plates.
We didn't, but don't think we wouldn't have if we'd been alone.
Long story short, head to Proof if you aren't terribly late as were we and thus, haven't been. If you live out of town, come visit DC. Oh my gosh, do you know my other favorite thing? The main tables had these pull out TV-tray type end-caps (much higher end than TV trays) on which to put your wine bottle(s), glasses, ice bucket, etc. Love it!