We kicked off our inaugural 2018 Food Fun Friday with an extended lunch excursion to one of Tri-Cities newest, locally-owned joints––Proof Gastropub in Kennewick. Occupying the top two floors of a building located on Columbia Center Drive, Proof offers an urban-industrial dining ambience that really sets it apart from any other restaurants in the Tri-Cities.
Our noon arrival saw us ascending the stairs with throngs of fellow lunch-goers. Our table for eight took a little time but we were able to scope the menu and take in the views from our fourth floor perch in Proof’s waiting area. The sounds of Modest Mouse, Band of Horses and White Stripes bounced around the open space, adding to the already frenzied Friday vibes and banter throughout the restaurant. There is definitely a youthful, vibrant energy to the space, and our moods were upbeat as we began discussing Music Festivals of yore that each of us had attended.
We pored over the drink menu with the same fiery intensity we bring to a rebranding brainstorm session. Each team member delved deep into a thorough self-examination of mind, body and soul as they considered whether beer, wine, cider or––if on Food Fun Friday––cocktails were called for. Many of us quickly determined that such an occasion did, indeed, call for liquor to be poured. The Fresh Press cocktail (cucumber-infused vodka, st. germain, muddled pear, mint, lemon and soda) and Damien’s Choice (which, on this day, was a lavender vodka martini of sorts) were hits across the table. A few went for IPA’s or cider on tap from local crafters, D’s Wicked Cider. Armed with drinks in hand, our attention turned to the other side of the menu where gastro deliciousness lay in wait.
The Proof food menu is an array of standard gastropub options with a Proof twist. For example, you’ve got a Crispy Chicken sammy featuring pickle-juice marinated Chicken, slaw, sriracha mayo, a drizzle of honey, all served on a toasted egg bun, as well as a Sausage Board that features local Templeman’s curated meat. While we didn’t partake in those two options––as many opted to balance out their drink calories by ordering lighter fare salads with chicken and steak––the food was delicious.
The clear winner was me and my FULL Proof burger, that wasn’t split with someone else, like some effete dabbler of gastropub nosh. As a semi-professional cheesemonger, my heart (and mouth) were full when it became apparent that the Beecher’s adorning my burger was not skimped upon by any measure. Perfectly cooked and nestled next to a mess of tasty fries, The Signature Proof Burger is where its at. The Prime Rib Dip was given a hearty two thumbs up, and the salads were a vibrant green from what I could see.
With much (full) belly laughing going on across the table, we were treated to some classic “ProvHerbs” by our resident axiom-man, Herb Collingridge. He even saved Jessi from soaking herself with Baked Apple Pie Cider whence he cried out, “Put that down you’re laughing too hard!” as she attempted glass to mouth during one of her bouts of laughter. Good times, I say, good times…