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Experience the finer things in life at Proof


Proof offers a selection of top-shelf cocktails and high-end dining.

Proof offers a selection of top-shelf cocktails and high-end dining.

No matter how hard we try to prove otherwise, Iowa still seems to have the reputation of the typical Midwestern farm state, known for miles of corn- and soybean-lined gravel roads. It’s not surprising, then, that the stigma carries over into most movie, book and any other media portrayals we should be lucky enough to get. No one really talks about Iowa as anything other than “that state with small towns and farmers.”

But Des Moines is a city of diversity in many ways, especially in its range of eateries and establishments. Sure, we’ve got dives and country bars that would make any hick proud, but we also have fine dining that could hold its own in a contest against upscale diners as far as New York City.

Des Moines is also home to some of the finest chefs and the masterminds of our best local treasures. The men and women behind those kitchen doors create delicacies people from all around the world praise should they happen to stop in.

Proof is exactly the kind of place that would make anyone with the aforementioned perception of farm states fall over if they visited. Natural lighting pours in through the large windows, playing on the white walls and furniture, and adding to the sleek, minimalist appearance.

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As you might have guessed, this isn’t your average bar. Proof is about the experience: Guests receive good service, order unique plates and sip on drinks. You could think of it almost like a cocktail party.

The setting of the Mediterranean restaurant is only part one, though, as the servers and offerings show just how elegant the restaurant really is. Each drink is created with top-shelf ingredients and special flavors. Every plate is carefully crafted as much for presentation as for taste.

For a unique cocktail, try The Actor, made with “glenmorangie 10 yr, apritivo, house aromatic bitters, Sambuca, orange peel and clove.” And for an appetizer — or “amusement,” as Proof calls them on the menu — try a charcuterie board with cured meats, pates and salami served with loves, crackers, mustard and fig giardiniera.

As if ordering any one of the menu items wasn’t special enough, Proof also offers Second Saturday Suppers each month for couples. Each dinner features 10 —yes, you read that correctly — courses including a brand new menu item developed by the chefs.

Groups are welcome, though there must be an even number of guests, and reservations must be made online for the two seating times, which are 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. The reservation form will also ask a few questions to help make the best dinner for each guest, including “How adventurous of an eater are you?” and “What is the last concert you saw?”

Proof ensures each dinner is a one-of-a-kind experience, and at $100 per couple, it should make for an exceptional date night. It’s also available for entertaining parties, corporate dinners and other private events.

It just proves Iowa can do more than cultivate really great crops. Pun intended. CV

1301 Locust St., Suite C
Tues.-Fri. 4-10 p.m.; Sat. 5-10 p.m.
Happy hour: Wed.-Fri. 5-7 p.m.

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