Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great Beginnings and Endings: Proof and Osteria Bibiana

Last night B & I experienced some of the finest cocktails DC has to offer. A friend was in town, so we met her at Proof ( Despite its focus as a wine bar, the bartenders mix some of the best martinis in DC and this is often a go-to cocktail spot for us. Tom Sietsema, WaPo food critic, agreed in his latest dining guide (which will likely mean an even more frenetic bar scene), but last night we managed to snag a corner table in the bar. The bar area can and does get crowded, but the bartenders provide excellent service, the music is usually mellow jazz or classic standards, and the screens above the bar show images from the adjacent National Portrait Gallery. Plus, sipping a cocktail while gazing on the huge wine selection above the bar is always a treat. Last night, we really needed the martinis after fighting our way through a mass of Capitals fans on the metro. It was worth the trip; our martinis: a cosmopolitan, gimlet, and gin martini, dry, up with olives were perfect. Martinis average about $12 depending on the brand of alcohol.

Skip ahead three hours...

We ended the evening at Osteria Bibiana ( This was our first trip and we wandered in around 9:30pm looking for a place to unwind with after dinner drinks and dessert. Bibiana opened a few months ago and completely transformed and maximized the former sterile Luigino's space -- rich browns, deep oranges, modern chandeliers, and oversized black and white photos of Rome. You are greeted immediately by a coat check and walk directly into the bar with dining rooms flanking either side. We timed it right and and were able to snag a lounge table. The wine list by the glass is extensive and ranges from $9 -$14. We were thrilled to see a Lambrusco (an Italian sparkling red wine that we last enjoyed in Modena, Italy -- yes, I am so chic, can you tell? : )) Anyway, the wine was great, a really rich red wine with moderate bubbles served in oversized champagne flutes. We paired the wine with a chocolate bomba -- a rich mousse based dessert with a chocolate crust, chocolate krunchies (their words), topped with a caramel sugar disk and surrounded by a milk chocolate fudge sauce. The two paired wonderfully, the service was attentive, and we are really looking forward to going back for dinner.

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