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.

Teddy: Fox Hollow Fried Chicken

Teddy's Fox Hollow Fried Chicken

Happy 4th of July from Best Thing on the Menu! To celebrate America’s birthday and two of its greatest presidents, BTM visited Lincoln and Teddy in one night. We covered Lincoln back in May, but desperately needed to get our hands on a Gettysburg Address cocktail.

Congratulations to owner Alan Popovsky on a successful opening for Teddy & The Bully Bar. While the interior doesn’t scream Teddy as much as Lincoln screams Lincoln, with its copper penny floor and Mason jar ceiling installations, Popovsky and his team did a heck of a makeover, creating a historically hip space you’ll want to lounge in.

Keeping up with the times, The Bully Bar’s mixologist is certainly a mad scientist, but with an old-fashioned flare. You can indulge in barrel-aged beverages or down-to-party drinks like the “square deal shot & beer” consisting of a can of PBR, Milagro Silver shot and a green sangria backer.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Fox Hollow Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Brined, Pickled Okra and White Gravy is touted by Chef Michael Hartzer as a dish that Roosevelt would have loved because of his affinity for simple classic food. Other notables include the bison tartare, peaches & goat cheese and crab & avocado. There was great balance in all of the dishes (and the cocktails) and they put some TLC into their plating techniques.

But, small plate haters beware; these American tapas are even smaller than what we’re used to in DC. We’re anxious to see if they up the portion size over the next couple months. I doubt Teddy would want us leaving hungry.

Fox Hollow Fried Chicken not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Lincoln: Truffled Corn Hushpuppies

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He’s the trendiest president of the year (sorry Obama)… Old Abe appeared twice on the silver screen this year, first as a vampire slayer and later, as himself, brilliantly portrayed by actor Daniel Day Lewis. Lincoln has truly permeated pop-culture – We’ve even met a distinguished-looking dog and a couple of babies named Lincoln this year.

Looking to celebrate the legendary Lincoln, imbibe in crafty cocktails and devour inspired American cuisine? Head to Lincoln (the restaurant) located just off Thomas Circle. The floor is comprised of laminated pennies and the ceilings are adorned with glowing mason jars. You’ll feel warm, fuzzy and American upon taking your seat. Plus they have great outdoor seating to boot.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Truffled Corn Hushpuppies happened to be a special addition to the menu the evening we dined. But, not to worry, hushpuppies are always a menu staple, usually in the form of Maryland Crab Hushpuppies with Mustard Chive Aioli (also BTM worthy). These hot fried corn cakes are so good that they conjure up memories of the county fair and the best funnel cake you ever ate.

Hushpuppies are actually a food attributed to hunters and fishermen from years ago who would fry some basic cornmeal and feed it to their dogs to “hush the puppies” during meals or festivities. Typical hushpuppy ingredients include cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, salt, baking soda, milk or buttermilk and water. They may include onion, scallion, garlic, whole kernel corn and peppers. Here’s a recipe if you want to give it a whirl. Going on vacation and want to nosh on hushpuppies? Simply ask for “festivals” in Jamaica or “sorullitos” in Puerto Rico.

We can’t say enough good things about Lincoln. It’s our go-to place when visitors come to town. Other can’t-be-missed items include the Chicken Pot Pie, Duck Sausage, Charred Grape Risotto and Braised Short Rib. Feeling adventurous? Drink in the nutrient-packed Gettysburg Address cocktail.

Hushpuppies not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.