Review: Brasserie Beck
I finally made it to Brasserie Beck. I know, it’s been open for a year. I’m a bit slow on the uptake, clearly. But while the restaurant is located on K Street, I don’t work for a K Street firm, so give me a break. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait.
Even if the food was horrible, which it most definitely was not, I’d still be hard pressed to give Brasserie Beck a bad review. The space and atmosphere is great and the staff is one of the restaurant’s best assets. The design combines classic European bistro elements with a high ceilings, mirrors, and plenty of glass, giving it a bit of a modern industrial touch. It’s open, but intimate at the same time. And kudos to the design team for the open kitchen, which you pass by on your way to your table. As for the staff, you can tell from the moment you walk through the door, they want you to be there, they want you to enjoy your visit, and they want you to come back. Whether it’s the host, waitstaff, or bartender, they are all there to help.
Which brings me to the beer. If you like good beer, this is the place to be. They don’t just have a simple list of bottles and drafts, they have a book. Or should I say tome? Either way, it’s impressive. A bit daunting, but don’t worry. Mention a few words about what you like or don’t like and they’ll set you up in a matter of minutes. We didn’t choose a single beer for ourselves the entire night, and we were not disappointed with any of choices made by the staff.
In addition to the beer menu, they also have a wide-ranging wine list. It is largely populated with French wines, but also includes a quality selection of California and New World wines.
Now on to the food. Given that it was my first time at Brasserie Beck, I had to try as much as I could. Luckily, my friends were happy to oblige. Of the appetizers, the pork belly was a standout – tender, yet crisp, and plenty of flavor. The duck confit was a treat, served over creamy mashed potatoes and a light brown sauce, and the escargot delivered an unexpected earthy flavor unlike a typical French serving (see below for Ali’s take on the dish). I would highly recommend the frites, either served with the mussels or as a side. Thin, crispy, and flavorful, the frites come with three dipping sauces – none of which are ketchup, thankfully. The curry mayo was the hands down favorite.
And what about those mussels? Served three different ways, we went with the classic wine and parsley option. The highlight of the dish is the presentation – served in a covered saute pan, the lid is removed inches from you face, giving you to a steam bath of flavor. As for the mussels themselves, I’d say they were par for the course. Good, and not bad by any means, but I’ve had better (Molly disagrees, see below for her comments). The curry mussels smelled promising (we were able to catch a breeze of the aroma when the dish was served to a table across the room) and I plan to try them on my next trip.
As for the main courses, I went with the roasted rabbit loin served with roasted vegetables and a Kriek beer sauce. The dish had a a wholesome, yet refined, comfort food quality that is perfect for this time of year when the temperature starts to drop. Ali went with the bass, which was served in a fairly straight-forward manner that allowed the flavor of the fish to come through while not overdoing it with the seasoning. Molly had the mussels, see above and below.
Other promising entrees on the bistro-styled menu include a lamb shank with white beans, duck congolese almondine, and a crispy skate wing. The menu also has a few raw bar options, including oysters and two mixed platters.
To wrap up, I asked Molly and Ali to write up few comments on their overall experience.
Molly: What I loved most about Brasserie Beck – beyond the atmosphere, friendly service, and melt-in-my mouth braised pork belly – was the mussels. They lived up to the hype and then some. From the presentation, to the drama of pulling back the lid, to engulfing my face in the aroma of white wine, garlic and parsley… it was all an experience, and cannot wait to return.
Ali: I was excited to have snails for an appetizer. Usually when I order them, they’re smothered in butter and garlic and that’s pretty much what you taste when you eat them. Beck’s were served out of the shell and they had a light balsamic sauce. You could really taste the earthiness in the finish. Also – the whole appetizer was more of a small plate, arranged on a piece of toast over a potato puree underneath and with mixed greens on top. I thought the staff was great. Everyone was very helpful with the beer (which was awesome, especially that Blanch Bruxelles) and I liked how the waiter matched up a beer for us based on our food.
Now back to me. As you can tell, friendly service and delicious food is a reoccurring theme at Brasserie Beck.Brasserie Beck 1101 K Street, NW Washington, DC 2005 202-408-1717