Wednesday, September 8

The Proof is in the Tartare

I've been to Proof before. They used to have a Restaurant Week menu when they first opened up, but they don't do that anymore. I enjoyed my meal, but it was a time when I was still trying to get into wine, and having to drink a full glass of red with my meal wasn't appetizing to me. This time it was a business lunch, so no drinking for me meant being able to fully appreciate and concentrate on the food.
The first thing I noticed when I looked at the menu was their ahi tuna tartare offering. Huzzah! I would get to check off yet one more restaurant tuna tartare off my list, AND I would get to eat tuna tartare. This day was turning into the Day of the Week! So of course I order that, along with a big glass of water for my hangover, and the rustic veal ragu over garganelli pasta, which is like a rippled penne pasta that looks like it's been rolled. My companions also ordered a cheese plate and a few other firsts, one of which was a very rich cold cucumber and avocado soup (I regretfully did not try any of the soup, as I had just met this woman and didn't think we were on spoon-sharing terms quite yet). The cheeses were accompanied with some sweet little accoutrements, like figs and raw honey. A few of the cheeses weren't really too my taste (a bit too stinky or bleu-ey), but I could tell that they were chosen with great care and precision.
The Tartare.
When the tartare was brought over to the table, it took most of my willpower not to pounce on top of it at once and claim it as my property. I had never seen anything like it before. The tuna was a deep burgundy color, the freshest I had ever seen in real life or even on Top Chef (Amanda's oxidized tartare almost killed me on the inside), and it was big! There were three layers of tuna, with blue nori tempura between each. It was peppered with avocados and the usual tartare flavors: sesame, wasabi, and heaven. I even forgot where I was for a moment, and for just a few seconds, I started dancing in my seat and humming my custom tuna-tartare victory song (good food can regress me to a toddler state). Needless to say, Proof is now the proud recipient of my Best Damn Tuna Tartare in DC honor.
My entree was a rustic veal ragu with garganelli pasta. The ragu was wonderful, perfectly thick and not overbearing (as ragu can be), and the pasta they paired it with was cooked perfectly. I don't really like my pastas as al dente as everyone else; I don't see anything wrong with a softer pasta. This garganelli hit just the right note; it was firm but easily digestible. It was accented with parmesan cheese, and I have to say, the entire dish was very simple and straightforward. In other words, it was fantastic!
For dessert, I tried the trio of sorbet: pineapple, coconut and strawberry. Although I really don't like the taste of coconut, it was pretty gently flavored, and the three flavors were all great compliments to each other.
I want to talk a bit about the service I received here. I've said before in my Bistro la Bonne post that I really appreciate and enjoy unassuming service. Well, the service I received at Proof was exactly what I look for every time I go out to eat (which is probably why I avoid T.G.I. Friday's at all costs). Our waiter was never too far away for help with a menu choice or suggestion. My water glass was filled by their backwaiter ninjas every so often, which is a very important task for the hungover patron, such as myself. Now I am always looking at the kind of service i receive and the behavior of my server. It's in my nature to do so, and so I usually notice things that no one else ever would. So when I mentioned to one of my fellow diners that that was great service, she said she didn't even notice anything. EXACTLY!
Bravo, Proof. You are steadily climbing my list as a place I will frequent more often than not when it comes to restaurant choices in DC. And that's a LOT of choices. For your impeccable service, a tartare nearing perfection, and a full glass of water at all times, you get 4.5 noms!

NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! N!

1 comment:

Kristi said...

carrie, i love it! i avoid proof like the plague because of the big bad wine bar kinship vs. competition thing...i know they're an entirely different style than vinoteca but something about going there feels wrong to me. however, from the picture and the jack-london-esque discription of the tar tare, i really think i need to go! i'm loving "learn to like it!"
-kristi-