Proof: Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies

Proof Duck Confit

Proof is so much more than the place foodies eat before a Caps game. It’s a dining destination all on its own. The wine and food programs seem to compete for the role of the lead dancer. Is Proof a wine bar with food or a gastronomical, food-focused delight that has a solid wine list? Whichever you decide to be true, don’t order a beer here. It just wouldn’t be fair. We recommend an Oregon pinot from our favorite winemaker Patricia Green.

Back to the food from Haidar Karoum. The Best Thing on the Menu: Warm Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies, Pickled Beech Mushrooms and Tomatillo Salsa Verde is rich, bright and light at the same time. The tart tomatillo salsa cuts the confit – you know duck cooked in duck fat. What could be better?

We’ve also never met a hush puppy we didn’t like. Some of our favorites are at Garden District and Lincoln. Proof’s hushies are a little on the lighter side, with very little grease and some tangy onion flavor.

Proof

There’s another dish on the menu that made a real impression. Let’s say you’re Santa Claus fueling up for a trip around the world. Or, Rob Ryan. Or Rex Ryan pre-weight loss surgery. Order the Cassoulet of Duck Confit, Crispy Pork Belly & House Made Duck Sausage. The meatiest, manliest entree we’ve ever seen with a calorie count that is likely higher than the entire contents of a Cold Stone Creamery. Order it anyway.

Duck confit not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Doi Moi: Bun Bo Xao

Bun Bo Xao

Doi Moi is transformative in that it takes you to a different land. This land has exotic herbs, undiscovered textures and the commingling of sweet, spicy, salty and sour flavors. The Best Thing on the Menu: Bun Bo Xao Stir Fried Lemongrass Beef on Vermicelli Noodles, served with cucumbers, pickled carrot, daikon, fragrant herbs, fried garlic, nouc cham and scallion oil, features all of these far-off-land characteristics. We recommend ordering two of this dish if you are dining in a party of three or four. Bun Bo Xao carries the “phet” label, which means spicy, not to be confused with the word “phat” that still haunts us from the late 90s. So, if you like heat, look for the “phet” and “mak phet” menu icons.

There are two ways to do it up at Mark Kuller and Haidar Karoum’s Doi Moi. To determine which option best suits you, we invite you to take Best Thing on the Menu’s very first personality quiz.

DC Diner A: Are you a planner? Do you get patted on the back during performance reviews for being super organized? Do you schedule your haircuts for an entire year at once? Do you always get your oil changed on time?

or

DC Diner B:  Do you like surprises? Do you live on the edge? Do you consider waiting in line at Little Serow all a part of the experience? Do you set out for an unplanned evening of exploring neighborhood bars? Do you buy lunch every day because you can’t be bothered to plan ahead?

If you identify more with DC Diner A, we recommend using OpenTable to make a Doi Moi reservation. They take reservations at 5:30pm and 6:00pm, much like their sister restaurant Estadio has done for years. You’ll feel great committing, and a table will be waiting for you. Alternatively, if you identify more closely with Diner B, live dangerously and arrive at Doi Moi at a time of your choosing. Sure, it’ll be a zoo (for good reason, the food is fantastic) but you’ll have all the time in the world to sip tropical cocktails and admire the decor. Anticipation will continue to build as you wait and wait for a table.

In addition to the BTM, we recommend other standouts including the Charred Eggplant with Poached Shrimp (Yum Makuah), Crispy Pork and Shrimp Spring Rolls (Por Pia Tod) and absolutely, without question, the must-order fried bananas dessert (Gluoy Kak). Those who are hungry and aren’t on board with the small plates scene would be best served by ordering the LTOM (Largest Thing on the Menu): Lemongrass and Spice Roasted Half Chicken. Click here for more photos of Doi Moi dishes.

One last tip, Doi Moi finally added their menu to their website so you can take a gander before you dine. Plus check out their vegan and gluten free menu!

Bun Bo Xao not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

If you liked this, you may also like: Rice, Little Serow or Estadio.