If the culinary geniuses behind Proof open another restaurant, you go. You go because Proof is a D.C. classic: perfect dishes, divine wine list, sexy ambiance. What gets better than that?
How about all that with a theme. Throw in some Northern Spanish flair and a menu of delights, and you’ve got Estadio. It’s Proof, with personality.
Estadio is gorgeous, and I’m not talking about the food yet. The interior is all Catalonia romance: heavy iron chandeliers, wood paneling, Spanish tile, terra cotta everything. I expected flamenco dancers to jump up on the timber tables. Or Javier Bardem to be perched in the corner with a cigar and a newspaper.
The new Logan Circle spot has been open since July, but they just recently started serving brunch. Wait. Do Spaniards brunch? I’ve been to Northern Spain, and I was lucky to see a live human there before the hour of 1 p.m. Lunches are late afternoon, dinners touching midnight.
At Estadio, chef Haidar Karoum put a D.C. brunch spin on a menu of tapas and raciones (small entrees). Everything is compact: tiny cocktails, small portions, all meant for sharing. Here’s the catch: Every dish is packed with such intense flavor, those portion sizes are quickly overlooked (as in, I’m not sure I could do more than sip those tiny 4 ounces of cóctel espumoso anyway).
Start off with the house-marinated olives or the spicy marcona almonds to get the juices flowing. It’s just a hint of the flavor that’s about to come. Then, dive in. The food is simple, but the components are delicious and thought-out. Take the bread, for example. Simple toast, with honey butter and sea salt. But it’s the perfect combination.
Definitely don’t pass up the croquettas: jamon with piquillo emulsion or, for the veggie in you, wild mushroom croquetas. Both equal bite-sized goodness. The mini sandwiches were stuffed with blood sausage and chorizo picante. Hard to share, but still delicious. Plus, the bread is baked in-house.
Just like in the décor, there’s a tremendous amount of detail and thought that’s gone into each of the dishes (which is something I love about Proof, too; each dish is like a piece of art being presented before you). I liked my main course, grilled hanger steak and eggs with patatas bravas (those patatas were perfection), but the real winner at the table was the fried hen eggs with chorizo and morcilla hash. It’s like they crammed in the salty, the savory, the delish, all in fried eggs? Wild.
The soft-scrambled eggs with goat cheese and mushrooms was fab. The mushrooms were really meaty, and everything was well-seasoned. The egg tortilla was beautiful—like a cake with jamon, onions, peppers, aoili and mahon cheese. Plus, I loved that they had plenty of veggie options. In addition to those mushroom eggs, there’s also the house-made granola and yogurt, with diced pears and apples.
The best part is that the price was right. For a table of six, with cocktails, it split to only about $30 a person, which is fab. And the place doesn’t take itself too seriously. Just poke your head into the restrooms, which are wallpapered with half-naked footballers (or flamenco dancers for the guys), for a laugh.
The Bitches say: Solid A. Flavor and flair. See all the photos here.
1520 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005