By Tom Sietsema Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009
Here's my fallback for any number of restaurant scenarios. When friends ask where they should go for drinks, Proof and its excellent wine and spirits program leap to mind. (My refresher of choice: tequila, white port and chartreuse.) When strangers want to know what's hot but not too expensive, I tell them that the average dinner entree in this light-by-day, dim-by-night leather-and-brick playground is $25. When visiting foodies ring me up, I'll frequently introduce them to Proof. Lunch there finds a terrific, Indian-seasoned lamb burger and a dewy tuna tartare served between airy seaweed crackers. Evening yields such temptations as roasted wreckfish teetering on a hash of chanterelles, spaetzle and pea shoots. And a plump chicken breast defies the boring stereotype with its stuffing of goat cheese and wild mushrooms and sidekicks of spicy rapini and soothing polenta. "I like the sides and sauces best," a newbie to the restaurant says, an opinion that mirrors mine. Chances are, owner Mark Kuller will be hanging out at his restaurant if you show up for dinner. Chances are, the lawyer-by-day will be leaning against the front wall, sipping a glass of wine and looking very content. I would be, too, if I got to be the host of this warm and softly lighted Penn Quarter watering hole.