100 Best Restaurants 2008: Proof

No. 83: Proof

Cuisine: Eclectic, trendy fare—small plates that nod to Asia and the Mediterranean, plus a long roster of cheeses and charcuterie—to mix and match with wines from an impressive list, including some from owner Mark Kuller’s 7,000-bottle collection.

Mood: Across from Verizon Center, the dimly lit dining room, animated by a bank of screen images from the National Portrait Gallery, captures the moneyed mood of downtown DC. Owner Kuller parks his Porsche by the curb (the license plate reads proof), and a young, slick crowd tests its wine expertise.

Best for: Grazing and sitting with a glass of wine.

Best dishes: Thin slices of hamachi with olive oil and Hawaiian sea salt; crispy flatbread dabbed with burrata (a creamy cheese) and baby arugula; a small slab of pâté combining chicken, pistachios, and cherries; light, spongy meatballs in a sweet marinara; juicy, panko-crusted slices of chicken with a bright salsa verde; goat-cheese cheesecake; Mr. Randy Watson, a decadent after-dinner drink of chocolate and peanut-butter liqueurs with a shot of Chambord.

Insider tips: Sommelier Sebastian Zutant will open any bottle of wine that’s less than $300 and pour you a glass for about a third of its price on the list (two-glass minimum)—a wonderful incentive to sample hard-to-find gems. And his Champagne cart—a half dozen bottles a night—is enticing.

Service: ••

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.