This week Conde Nast Traveler published an article listing 21C as the reader's choice for hotels in Louisville. In honor of that distinction, here is a profile on the restaurant in 21C, Proof on Main.
Proof on Main was established in 2006 as a new and inventive restaurant for downtown Louisville. Being housed with the 21C Hotel means that it also takes contemporary art and incorporates it into their decor and into your meal. The plating of the various dishes are unique and complement the feel of the restaurant. The menu itself is one that tends to be seasonally and locally available foods, though that is not a core concept of the restaurant but rather the current chef Michael Paley. For instance currently the menu includes various squashes, beets, sweet potatoes and mixed greens, all of which are readily available in Kentuckiana this time of year. Several of the proteins on the menu also come from local resources including bison, rabbit and chicken.
The menu itself offers various options for how to enjoy the meal. The table can start with some different spreads, each focusing on great flavors of the season. Think of these as hummus or bruschetta style foods to put on toast. There are other plates also meant for sharing with the table such as the baked octopus, chicken liver pate, or bison bone marrow. We enjoyed the baked octopus on our visit and it seemed as though other tables did as well. The octopus itself was tender, delicately paired with various herbs, and cooked to perfection.
Several homemade pasta dishes next line the menu which are available as whole or half servings. We decided to try two of these and share them as sort of a second course. This is a wonderful and not-so-filling way to enjoy a great plate of something new. The two we tried were the Garganelli and Fazoletti. These two dishes couldn't have been more different, but both were absolutely amazing. Fresh, light pasta topped with fresh vegetables and proteins.
For entrees Proof tries to give one option for each protein, plus a special each night of the week. Having gone on a Wednesday we tried the diver scallop special which were cooked to perfection. The scallops were served atop a bed of spaghetti squash cooked with caper berries that were absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, the spaghetti squash was so delicious, the scallops almost seemed to be an after thought. I never complain about eating scallops, but this would also be a great side item or starter.
Not that we needed it, but it was decided that the warm vanilla pudding cake topped with bourbon soaked cherries. Who can say no to warm pie and bourbon infused fruit? It was the perfect end to a delicious meal.
Visit Proof on Main's website to learn more and book a table.