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Proof, Capital One Arena, Chef George Rodrigues Replaces Austin Fausett, Who Replaced Ben Schramm, Who Replaced Haidar Kharoum, Etc.

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Haidar Karoum's game statistics: Five attempts, five completions, quarterback rating 100.0.

While I'm no Jake or Dave when it comes to numbers around here, I do know a little bit about the good ole football game. If Chef Karoum when 5 for 5, and each attempt was for at least 12.5 yards (clear to me that all 5 qualify), with one of the courses going for a TD (strong possibility for the seared foie gras, but that may be my own personal bias towards foie), and no INTs (also clear), that would give a quarterback rating of 158.3 (perfect performance).

I love the internets. Don, please feel free to revise your rating if appropriate.

Note: I'm not sure if there's a good comparable football tool out there to calculate Sebastian's pairings, any other football geeks out there care to take a shot?

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I was there on the same night with a group of 4 and had the same feeling about my experience as Rocks, but ordered totally different dishes.

The Seared Day Boat Scallops are moist, buttery little lumps of perfectly browned white mass, surrounded by a nice assortment of pea shoots and turnip puree. I love scallops raw, but when they are cooked, this is how I want them to be; firm, splitting ever so slightly at the edges, and not chewy in the least bit.

Roasted Pennsylvania Pork Loin sitting on top of a thick ham hock risotto is a dish that doesn't necessarily sound spectacular, but it is a generous heaping of creamy, fatty goodness. The tenderloin here is properly cooked, which was refreshing after visiting a few restaurants who treat their pork like chicken. This was a tinge more than medium rare and served as a nice sponge after the risotto was gone (that went quickly), sopping up all of that great creamy residue.

The Gnocchi was as reported throughout this thread. I loved the generosity of the chef with the chanterelles and had to fight with the wifey over the most browned potato pillows on the plate, as these were our favorites of the bunch.

While the ladies ordered desserts for themselves, my father and I decided to drink more and go the cheese route. The Rogue River Blue was easily the best bleu cheese I have ever had, with that nice strong flavor shining throughout without any of the earthy taste that you tend to get with some bleus. We left the entire board in the hands of Ben the fromager, who did an excellent job selecting cheeses to our specific liking.

Proof has definitely put itself at the top of the restaurant heap in DC, in my opinion, and it's not just because the food is outstanding. I really like going to a place where I know I will always be taken care of by the staff. All too often in this area, I feel like there are egregious missteps in the service at restaurants, even some of the good ones. Proof is such a relaxing experience because I know that I can go there and ask Sebastian to pair my glasses of wine to go perfectly with my food choices without breaking the bank while doing so. The wine he picked for my main course was a wonderful glass of Corbieres, which came in at $7 for a 6oz pour (a steal in my opinion). I also know that I will not be rushed through any courses so that they can get me out of there in 2 hours, which I have found happening all too often on Friday and Saturday nights at busy places. Basically, I know that when I leave I will not be saying "The food was great, but...." or "Everything would have been perfect if.....". Proof is always just "Really damn good."

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We had a lovely night at Proof yesterday. Unfortunately, I'm not remembering names of dishes very well, so I'm going to have to go off descriptions.

First, I broke my leg in two places on Valentines Day (whee!), and yesterday was my first nondoctor outing since. This, of course, means that every single member of this board should start posting three times a day so that I have enough to read while trapped indoors.

We started off at a good Caps game (good even though we lost to the Devils, 1-2 :)) and then headed over to Proof for dinner. We had a vegetarian friend with us and were worried that he might not have enough options, but he ended up being the only one to take food home, so I think it went well :lol:

We started with the charcuterie board. The one disappointment was that they weren't willing to make it a combination of meats and cheeses, so we ended up with a lot of meat for two of us and a separate portion of cheeses for him (for more $, of course). The meats were lovely, if not as spectacular as my memory had them, and for me the absolute highlight of the board was the chicken liver. Ooooh, it was good, particularly paired with the great grilled bread. I don't know what Proof and the Mendocino Grille do to their breads before they serve them, but EVERYONE should do it! Tripewriter had an aviation cocktail and I had the temporanillo. Both were nice.

Next Tripewriter had the endive salad and finished off every little piece. I had the dish with the Italian name that nobody at our table recognized (and I can't remember, though it started with a "p," I think). It was something like a roti with cheese and salad and prosciutto on top. Having just finished a giant platter of meat, I found myself sincerely wishing that there were more greens and less meat (!). I didn't think that I would make it through the whole thing, though it wasn't large, but I did. Somehow. It was delicious, which helped :wub:

Next our guest had the gnocchi, which he 1) didn't share :) and 2) left unguarded at the table while he excused himself with nose issues. We were both sorely tempted to partake in his absence but managed to restrain ourselves...barely... I had the scallops, and see above for a better description than I could give, with the exception that I just loved -- loved! -- the greens. They were fabulous. Tripewriter had the 5-spice duck, of which he gave me a piece, and it was lovely (though I was still glad that I'd ordered the scallops).

Our guest and I were too, too full for dessert, so Tripewriter was on his own with a trio of sorbetti. He seemed to enjoy them and didn't once offer to share :mellow:

Our wine, chosen by me because it's a particular favorite of Tripewriter's, and I can't find it to buy anywhere but at Proof, was the Westry Shea '03. Delicious.

Thanks for Proof for a good night out and to the other patrons for not being grossed out by my having my leg up on the booth (on Tripewriter's coat, bien sur). I hope that my hot pink cast made it a little less traumatizing ;)

PS: Any idea how often the menu changes? We noticed a number of items that were carry-overs from the last time we dined there. My parents would like to check Proof out when they visit in April, and I just was hoping that there might be new fabulous menu items. If the menu is static, we may switch to Rasika instead...

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I had the dish with the Italian name that nobody at our table recognized (and I can't remember, though it started with a "p," I think).

Piadine :)

The menu has remained largely static over the last few visits with just a few additions and tweaks. I don't mean to speak for Mark who's enjoying some well-deserved rest, of course, but my guess is that the menu will see more changes as spring (and spring ingredients) roll around.

I was also at Proof Saturday night, on the early side. Lots of "tried and true" dishes were ordered because I brought my parents, uncle and exceedingly food-fearful aunt. She is the same aunt who likes to order French Martinis and then complain that there's never enough chambord/pineapple/whatever so I always brace myself when dining in a restaurant with her. This time, she was about to ask our wonderful server Max if she could have the white tuna crudo, but cooked. Not kidding. Sadly. Managed to head her off at the pass and refrained from throwing flatware at her. :mellow:

There's a new addition to the dessert menu involving a grilled banana and bread pudding. I recall liking it and that my mother and I cleaned the plate, but otherwise it's a blur. I drank a lot in order to get through the night.

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Our guest and I were too, too full for dessert, so Tripewriter was on his own with a trio of sorbetti. He seemed to enjoy them and didn't once offer to share :mellow:

Well, you did say you were too full. And I was very conscientious about describing how tasty each flavor was!

I enjoy the tried and true--the meats, salad, and duck were all very tasty--but look forward to the new as we near spring.

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Nothing big to report here; my wife and I only had drinks and a dessert last night after seeing There Will be Blood at E Street. The bar was packed with suits at 11:15. We squeezed in at a little table and had a beautifully crafted and delicious bundt cake with hazelnut ice cream. Service was prompt and attentive despite being slammed. A Moscato d'Asti went quite well with the cake, and my Martini was good, though I should have ordered the Aviation I noticed only later on the cocktail menu.

I'm surprised Proof is apparently the only place that's hit on the brilliant idea of having hot chicks climb up and down ladders behind the bar. It was hilarious watching the guys' heads track up and down.

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though I should have ordered the Aviation I noticed only later on the cocktail menu.

Oh yes, you definitely should have had the Aviation. I had quite a few on my birthday a couple weeks ago, which rendered me unable to type up a homage to the food. I do remember fighting everyone else for the gnocci, and refusing to share my risotto. I also remember a love-in at the bar later, where we encountered another party celebrating a birthday. And then things got really hazy...

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I had a terrific Aviation cocktail there last night thanks to Sarah. I wish I could remember what the other excellent cocktail was that I had, but it was a rather busy evening and I've already forgotten the name of it.

I'm happy to report that Proof carries Collette Ferret Pouilly-Fuissé "Les Moulins" 2004, which is a glorious white Burgundy.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Sebastian, who is a very kind and generous host. Hope to revisit soon.

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The minestrone at Proof is outstanding, a nice balance between soup and stew; a few narrow slices of bread on top give it some body, and the poached egg makes it silky and just a little rich.

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I ate the the Best Fucking Thing in the Land tonight at Proof. Pork Confit... I'm doing the Best Fucking Thing all over again tomorrow. Then I will write, or shut it. Either way. Happy me.

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My guests and Tripewriter and I had a great time at Proof on Monday night. I had given our visitors three options -- Proof, Rasika, and Central -- to choose from for this evening, and after reading the menus, they chose Proof. We started, of course, with the ginormous charcuterie board. We all four enjoyed it and, in fact, polished off every morsel. Note to self -- this is MUCH easier to do with four than with two! Our server, whom we'd had the last time we were at Proof, remembered that the Westry Shea Pinot Noir 2003 was a special bottle for us, and he let us know that there was just one bottle left -- so we pounced on it. As fabulous as ever. I had the piadina, which cracks me up because we always get the giant board o'meat, and then the next thing I get is also covered in meat. However, this time there was a very nice balance between the cheese and greens and meat. Our guests had the chickpea flatbread and a salad, and Tripewriter also had a salad. For mains, I had the amazing scallops, my guests had the steak and the duck, and Tripewriter had a real winner in the pork on the butternut squash risotto -- amazing, and definitely what I'm getting next time. Probably. Desserts were the sticky toffee for them and something delicious for me and for Tripewriter that has at this time completely slipped my mind. A highlight of the meal was Hmmboy, who had been dining in the next booth (a pleasant surprise) gifting us with the pork belly -- wow! I wish Christmas were that good! ;) That's the other thing that I'm definitely getting next time. Probably...

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Cork last night for a lovely dinner. I had never had sunchokes before and was easily won over and that rabbit dish was truly outsanding. I found myself dreaming of sunchokes last night.

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Had a great meal at Proof on Saturday. It was my first time there and I was impressed from start to finish. We started with the charcuterie board which was absurdly large and delicious, although I kind of wish it came with more accompaniments to balance out the meats. I followed that up wth the pork confit (which is as good as everyone says) and the cod. The Cod was cooked perfectly and had a nice balance of flavors, but I found it a touch on the salty side. I have a high tolerance for salt too, so for me to notice that means someone must have had a heavy hand in the kitchen. Still a great dish though. The lady had the ahi tuna app and the scallops for dinner, both of which were fantastic.

It was one of the few times that we ordered a bottle of California Chardonnay with our dinner and it was really a great compliment to the meal. I can't seem to recall the name but it was a hearty chard and really went well with all the seafood on the table. An enjoyable time all around.

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Proof Wednesday night, first time having dinner there. Not a perfect meal, but some amazing highlights. The sablefish was the single best fish dish I've ever had. Absolutely perfectly cooked, flavorful meat, wonderful glazed crust on the outside. Sitting on some quite boring mashed potatoes that do absolutely nothing for this dish, though. Also tried the gnocchi that others have recommended, and didn't see what that was all about. Kind of mushy, no? Charcuterie plate was fantastic, not a dud among the choices. Defaix Chablis is a great rec and went well with everything. Service was pretty anemic but whatever. Overall loved it and am itching to try other things on the menu.

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The Southern Tier UberSun is $10 on draft, and totally delicious. I don't know how Proof continues to get these impressively obsure kegs, but it really keeps the place high on my list of places to check out once in a while. Followed with an Aviation cocktail, and got a couple sips of the Corpse Reviver #2. Very tasty. Food was white tuna sashimi, wagyu carpaccio, pork confit, sweetbreads, ramps, broccoli, and cheese plate for dessert. The sweetbreads stole the show, crispy exterior and creamy insides, with mashers and spinach and dates playing nicely alongside. The pork confit was good, but surprisingly, a bit dry. Rich porky flavor. Left full and happy. Will return soon.

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I stopped by for a quick snack this evening. I agree with Eric that the confit was tasty but dry - confit is usually long cooked and stored in its own fat. This appeared to be chunks of very good pork, roasted until chewy. ;) The slaw underneath it was delicious. The endive and beet salad was quite good also. I had two glasses of the "rose of the day;" I don't remember the name but it was bright and refreshing.

We really need to get here for dinner sometime. Maybe next month for Scott's birthday...

ETA: Sebastian was delightful, and, as always, looked fabulous. Is there a sommelier in town with lovelier ties? I certainly don't think so.

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Proof last Saturday for the first time was a treat. Our group of 4 all commented on how comfy and nice the decors is from the soft leather seats to the great wine bottle glass walls. Service was very friendly and helpful in picking out glasses of wine to pair with our food. Kudos to our server for matching the interesting white burgundy with the delicious sablefish. The food was mostly very good. We started with a nice cheese plate which again had great pairings of condiments to go with each of the 3 cheeses (ash-rind pipe dreams goat with green apple slices, a very nice guyere with a golden raisin chutney/jam, and pecorino with extra thick honey). Other apps were gnocchi, chickpea spread flatbread, and white tuna crudo. The gnocchi topped with mushrooms, bit of asparagus and little peas had a very nice flavor combo, but like some others have said the gnocci itself was rather mushy. The flatbread was very tasty with a different twist on typical middle eastern flavors with the addition of pink, pickled radishes (I think that's what they were), however the chickpea spread itself (aka hummus) could use alittle more zip like some lemon. The crudo was very light and rich tasty at the same time - all around a nice dish that others have commented alot about already.

The hands-down winner for entrees was the sablefish as others have raved. Moist, flavorful with perfectly cooked bok choy. Only minor complaint was the mushrooms were too peppery (some of the other dishes were likewise over seasoned with salt or pepper). Very good dish, I wish I’d ordered it. Rather I had the alright duck breast, which was nicely cooked but lacked depth of flavor – I couldn’t taste the five spice and its bed of coleslaw was pretty bland. The pomegranate sauce with the duck added a nice punch but I thought it was too sweet. Others also had the rabbit and didn’t think it was so hot, but I didn’t try it. We also had the crispy cauliflower side, which I really liked. A very different flavor for this vegetable which melded well with its sauce. Others thought it was only so so, because it lacked a strong cauliflower flavor – which I think is a plus though as I’m not usually a big fan.

For desserts we got the sticky toffee pudding, the chocolate cake, and the rhubarb pie-like creation. Desserts were great all around. The toffee pudding was rich, but not too heavy and could have used an extra swirl of caramel on top even. I really enjoyed it. My wife loved the chocolate cake and wouldn’t give me a bite, but I did try the really excellent hazelnut mousse that comes with it, which I think could be a dessert in itself. Didn’t try the rhubarb but its plate was licked clean.

So some hits and misses, but mostly the former and overall a very nice dining experience. Can’t wait to go back and really dig into the wine list.

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This past Friday night, my family celebrated three law school graduations (my sister's, and both of our boyfriends'). I am so glad we chose to mark the occasion at Proof! What an amazing night of food and fun.

Appetizers included the always-impressive charcuterie board, the sauteed sweetbreads with dates and bacon (so popular that a second order was placed), the meatballs, the Wagyu sashimi (my dad's first experience with that type of preparation), the asparagus soup (delicious), and the gnocchi with asparagus, ramps, peas, and mushrooms (as good as it's ever been--pillowy yet rich, and the perfect expression of spring). Everything was wonderful, though the sweetbreads seemed to be the table favorite.

The entree winner was the sablefish, which I recommended after falling in love with the dish on my last visit. It was just as wonderful as I remembered. The halibut (with sunchokes, among other things) was a close second--the folks in the kitchen really know how to cook fish. Black sesame-crusted salmon was very tasty, and the pea shoot spaetzle that accompanied it was a lovely touch. The pork loin and a beet salad also went over well, though the fish dishes definitely outshadowed them.

The goat's cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding cake were terrific as usual. I read upthread that there was a rhubarb dessert, so I inquired about its availability--sadly, no rhubarb, but chef put together a refreshing strawberry shortcake instead.

I couldn't possibly remember all of the wines and beers we drank (we had 6 very different palattes, so we stuck with by-the-glass), but I do recall that our server was wonderful about listening to our likes and dislikes and then making spot-on recommendations. He was excellent and read our table perfectly--kudos! The atmosphere was perfect for our celebration--Proof is such an upbeat, energetic place, and that fit our celebratory mood to a tee.

Thanks to Mark for stopping by the table--my family really enjoyed meeting you, and it was great to see you again! I will miss dining at Proof once I move to Atlanta (at the end of this week, eek), but it will be at the top of my list on every return visit to DC.

P.S. My sister and her boyfriend dined at Citronelle last week, and they said their experience at Proof (it was their first visit), in terms of ambiance and food and service, blew the venerable Georgetown establishment out of the water. I know the two restaurants are vastly different, but I think it's a great compliment to Mark and his incredible team. Well done!

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June DR.com Event at Proof

Come join your fellow Rockweilers at Proof on Tuesday, June 10, at 7 pm for a multicourse meal by Chef Haidar Karoum -- with optional wine pairings by Sommelier Sebastian Zutant!

The cost for those who choose the pairings is $100/head, which includes food, wine, tax, and tip. For nondrinkers, the cost is $85/head. The pairings will be the equivalent of about a half bottle of wine per person; for those who want more, a double pairing is available for $15 more ($115/head).

We'll start meeting in the bar area at 6:30 pm for complimentary hors d'ouvres. We will be seated at 7 pm.

There are only 30 places available for this fabulous event, so sign up now! PM DON (DonRocks) with your name and the number of people in your party. Payment will be required in advance.

For more information about Proof, see www.proofdc.com.

See you there!

PLEASE NOTE: I am leaving the country for a couple weeks, so please PM Don to sign up! It's looking like a great group of people -- and you would only make it better :lol:

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Really nice birthday dinner on Monday at Proof that I'd been intending to do a full write up on...

Ordered mostly the usual favorites and was very pleased as usual with the white tuna crudo, gnocchi (spring version with leeks, asparagus, peas & wild mushrooms), sweetbreads, and sablefish. Tried the pork confit for the first time and liked it well, no issues with it being too dry.

Our server (Matthew?) was the best yet. He produced some really nice wine pairings for us, highlights being the Tardio Madeira with the sweetbreads, a Pinot Meunier (a first for me) with the Sablefish and what I think he said was a White Grenache with the gnocchi.

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I had a dream last night in which I was waiting at Proof for my date. (My date was not my wife, which is why I shall tread lightly when recounting this dream in this household.) I ended up being stood up, and ate my meal alone. Mark Slater, who (inexplicably) was my waiter, was very friendly throughout my sad meal. Toward the end of the evening, he asked me for a favor. He pointed at the bar, where Don Rockwell was courting a young lady. He said that Don had in his hand a slip of paper on which his phone number was written, but he was too shy to give it to the girl. Mark asked me to get up, walk to the bar, grab the paper out of Don's hands, and give it to the girl. I was pretty uncomfortable about the request, but I figured Mark had been very kind to me, so I would go ahead and do it.

I walked toward Don and the young lady, but just as I got there, Don apparently summoned the courage he needed and handed the paper to the girl. She accepted it with a broad smile, and I am sure everything worked out happily ever after. As for me, I nonchalantly walked by as though I was just headed to the bathroom the whole time.

While it is true that neither this dream nor this post has much to do with Proof, I believe it to be sufficiently weird that I had to record it somewhere.

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I had a dream last night in which I was waiting at Proof for my date. Mark Slater, who (inexplicably) was my waiter, was very friendly throughout my sad meal. .

Awesome. We've just opened a large patio in front - Mr. Slater, we could use another server who had a llittle wine knowledge :lol:

Your subconscious obviously know Rocks quite well. Though the "broad smile" and happily ever after" parts seem a bit dubious.

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Said patio is very nice (although I chose to dine inside Friday night; big a/c fan). Ate many of my old favorites with a friend, including a remarkably good cheese plate. We sent it back bare. We were attended to by the delightful Ashley and Mark helped us choose wines which is always a good thing.

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Awesome. We've just opened a large patio in front - Mr. Slater, we could use another server who had a llittle wine knowledge :lol:

Yeah, thanks. I was a waiter once.......ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO. :lol:

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