Steadiness is not one of the sexier virtues in the restaurant world. But settle into this dark-lit lair and you’ll appreciate what so many flashy newcomers lack: a maturity and poise that are evident at the outset, with a warm welcome and expert cocktails. It’s a wine bar, but without the preciousness of many others in the genre—a testament to the haimish sensibility of late owner Mark Kuller as well as the fact that it sits steps away from the Verizon Center. Haidar Karoum’s menu suits a range of needs and tastes. You can graze on cheeses and charcuterie, colorful salads, and flatbreads, or delve into a tasting menu of plates that blend rusticity with refinement. The wine list is one of the best in the area, full of crowd-pleasers and interesting finds. Jaded palates might not be tempted—nearly ten years on, the lineup no longer surprises—but then, you don’t come to Proof for the shock of the new; you come for the shock of the familiar done right.
Don’t miss: Pâté campagne; pho terrine; lavash with labne;Mediterranean flatbread; foie gras with cherry shortcake; meatballs; pig’s head with Waldorf salad; duck with mustard spaetzle; swordfish with clams and pasta nera; salmon with celery-root mousseline; chocolate-hazelnut cake.