775 G St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown
Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday through Monday for dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Vietnamese Wagyu-beef carpaccio; nonna-inspired chicken meatballs; pork confit; sweetbreads over a sauté of charred corn; meatballs with goat-cheese agnolotti; miso-glazed sablefish; perfectly pink duck breast with pomegranate vinaigrette
Owner Mark Kuller says he conceived of Proof as a sort of Franken-restaurant, grafting the best traits of his favorite cafes and wine bars into a single, low-lit space. The clearest sign of its evolution after five years is that this sly cut-and-paste is now the model that every new restaurant in town wants to copy.
Can you blame them? Who else does sexiness, soulfulness, and sophistication like Proof? ¶ You can relax over some of the area’s best cocktails at the bar. You can come for lunch, where $25 gets you soup and a sandwich. You can come for cheese, charcuterie, and wine. And you can indulge in a blowout of multiple courses. (If it’s a special occasion, ask for table 10 or 20. These corner banquettes are the most intimate.)
Haidar Karoum’s menu is a hodgepodge of styles—from meatballs to crispy tofu to foie gras. It works because of his ability to make them taste like the kitchen produced that item only. Don’t miss: Duck-liver mousse; beef-pho terrine; Mediterranean flatbread; avocado-and-grapefruit salad; gnocchi with lamb Bolognese; foie gras with cherry shortcake; swordfish with fennel, olives, and tomato confit; crispy Pekin duck breast; sticky-toffee-pudding cake; cookie plate.
Open: Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday through Monday for dinner. Expensive.