Going to Proof and Central: What to order?
We will be in Washington the weekend of May 2, and we have reservations at Proof and at Central. Everything on the restaurant's menus looks great, but does anyone have any specific recommendations on what to order at each of these restaurants?
At Proof, get a charcuterie plate and/or a cheese plate for an appetizer. Take advantage of the small pours to taste many different wines.
Oh, and if you're a guy, make sure to check out the decor in the men's room. You can thank me later. (If you're a woman, please disregard and do not look at your man funny for making repeated trips).
At Proof I really like their gnocchi appetizer. They change it seasonally but everytime I've had it, it's been delicious. The cheese plates are also really nice for an appetizer or dessert. The tuna tartar is good as well. I tend to think the appetizers are better then the main courses at Proof, so maybe sticking it a bunch of small plates and sharing would be a good idea.
At Central, I have yet to have anything on the menu I didn't like. The short ribs are amazing. The lobster burger is really good but very, very rich. The faux gras and rillettes are my favorite item on the menu....beware it's very big! The kit kat bar for dessert is a classic and a lot of fun. Really, I don't think you can go wrong on the Central menu---it's all very good.
Please make sure to report back :)
Elyssa, when have you had the short ribs at Central? They're not on the menu. The first time I went to Central I seemed to remember having read a review that raved about the short ribs. But they were not on the menu. I asked about them and was told that they hadn't been on the menu since the early days of the restaurant. They were kind enough to prepare some for me that were part of a special dinner they'd done the night before and they were really fabulous. In my subsequent visits I haven't asked about them --maybe I should?
I had it about a year ago....so it's been awhile. They were really interesting short ribs...unlike any I've ever had before. If I remember correctly they were cooked for a super long time---like 24 hours or something. Not on the bone. Not what I expected but they were excellent. They should put them back on the menu.
They were 72 hour short ribs, they had them last year at Easter time because we had them. But I have to say the beef cheeks are just as tender and soft. Also the lamb shank with polenta is great, the shank just melts with the polenta in your mouth, although if you get this get a green side as you may want for veggie, or start with a salad.
I love those short ribs, I also love the rabbit with schnitzel, the mustard gravy is the best mustard gravy I have ever had, I just can't recreate it... yet. It isn't gloopy or too mustardy, it is very subtle. The rabbit is cooked perfectly, as well.
The goat cheese salad is very good, they stuff the dressing inside the cut lettuce, can't be good for you at all, but very tasty if you like goat cheese, they make it into a creamy sauce. The chicken is good, but chicken. Fiance loves chicken so he really loves it, I am more into other meats. I love the lobster burger, the steak and frites are lovely, those fries are heaven, the lardon tart is very good, very thin, but the onions really balance the flavors so that it is a little sweet a little salty in a good savory way. The mussels are good, but I like Brasserie Beck's better.
I don't really care for the gougeres (cheese puffs) compared to so many of the other things on the menu. To me they are just dry puffs of thin melted cheese... ok but not special.
The hazelnut bar (aka kit kat) is good, the banana split is good but huge... enough for three.
i love the pork loin and risotto at proof; also the meatballs and goat cheese agnolotti are great if you're a meatball person. the grilled cheese is AMAZING — i think they use like 16 different types of cheese in it — and the bavarian sandwich is pretty good if you're in the mood for a casual sandwichy type thing. the charcuterie plate there is very good, one of the best in the city IMO. everybody loves the tuna tartar, it is very good if you're a fan of that particular dish.
duck rillettes w/faux gras - excellent
charcuterie plate - excellent
gougeres - very good (kids like them)
spinach and goat cheese torte - excellent
corned beef sandwich - (lunch) excellent
cheese burger - reason I first went; amazing I get it every other time I go
lobster burger - very good, but the burger is amazing at 1/2 the price
fish & chips - very good
fried chicken - excellent
pied de cochon - excellent
lamb shank - excellent
short ribs - excellent
grilled sausages with mashed potatoes - very good
cassoulet -- excellent
ribeye - very good
kitkat bar - excellent
banana split - excellent (for at least 2 people)
chocolate mousse - excellent
apple pan dowdy - very good
chocolate lava cake - excellent
sides are all excellent: mashed potatoes, green salad, macaroni and cheese, fries
The macaroni and cheese is something my kids will order as their meal. I can't imagine ordering it with something else because it's so rich.
Thanks for the wonderful recommendations. It appears that we will be happy ordering almost anything at Central - which is great. I'm looking forward to it. I need more advice about Proof, though. I was looking forward to the charcuterie plate, and I'm glad the hounds seem to approve. What else should we get? Any other recommendations for mains or desserts?
Is it possible with all of the attention that it gets that the food at Proof is actually underrated? I think so.
They have a ton of great appetizers and I have loved every entree I have ever had there. Here are my recs:
Ahi Tuna Tartare - Really wonderful version with avocado and wasabi; excellent
Gnocci- Changes frequently; always incredible
Foie Gras - Seared with poached apples; excellent (although I've never met a foie gras dish I didn't like)
The only thing I would stay away from is the Buffalo Sweetbread appetizer. Your waiter will recommend it as one of the most popular appetizers. That may be true, but it is not one of their best dishes. The buffalo sauce they cook the sweetbreads in is all you can taste. Not a fan of this dish at all.
Miso Glazed Sablefish - very very very good. You can really taste the miso and the fish was cooked perfectly. Love this dish
Pork Loin with Risotto - SO had this once and loved it although I never tried it
Honey & Spice Glazed Pekin Duck Breast - My absolute favorite dish on the menu.
Hope this helps! Happy eating.
I had THE BEST duck at Dino the other night- extra fatty (in a good way) with crispy orange flavored skin-on the bone-served w/ braised cabbagae in pancetta and roasted potatoes. The duck at Proof is good, too- but you need to like it rare.
I prefer the Dino version, although I do love Proof, too!
I have to disagree about the sweetbread appetizer at Proof. I found that to be the best appetizer we ordered that night - delicious in my opinion. The buffalo sauce was spicy, but not overpowering - I thought it blended quite well with the blue cheese and celery served with it.
Another thing proof does really well are the side dishes. The cauliflower with lemon tahini sauce is excellent.