Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brasserie Beck

We are lucky enough to live across the street from one of our favorite restaurants: Brasserie Beck (or "Beck" as the neighbors call it). Beck is the "brother restaurant" to the upscale Robert Wiedmaier restaurant Marcel's, which is usually ranked among DC's top restaurants. Beck is the fun-loving, more casual brother... and apparently the brother that learned to make amazing mussels and fries.

Beck is known for its Belgian beer menu. It serves several Belgian beers that are not available anywhere else in the United States and each beer is even matched with its own glass! They used to have their own sommelier of beer, Bill Catron, who was knighted in Belgium for his beer prowess. Though Bill has moved on, Beck's beer selection and the expertise of the remaining staff, offers something for everyone . . . even non-beer drinkers.

I tend to stick to the Fruit Beer part of the menu and love the cherry, apple, and raspberry beers. On this particular evening I ordered the Kasteel Rouge which has a tart cherry finish (note the castle at the base of the glass that matches the logo).

B ordered a beer that Bill highly recommended on previous visits: the Scaldis. It's too "beer" tasting for me, but he likes it.

Beck has a menu that features a wide variety of classic Belgian dishes but for us, the mussels and fries spelled love at first bite. I must confess that I don't really like mussels but I absolutely adore Beck's version. There are three varieties currently on the menu and a fourth option that they now serve as a special: 1. White Wine, Garlic, and Parsley; 2. Curry and Apple; 3. Roasted Tomato, Basil, and Rocca; 4. Fennel and Chorizo Sausage.

We've tried them all and love them all. The apple (er...mussel) of my eye is the Curry and Apple mussels. The mussels are steamed and served in a rich curry broth with chunks of apple. B tends to prefer the Fennel and Chorizo Sausage mussels (photo below).

No matter which variety you order, make sure you use the crusty french bread to soak up some of the broth. It's fantastic. Also, the fries (which can be ordered a la carte) are out of this world. They are like classy versions of McDonald's fries: not too fat, nor too well done. The fries are accompanied by a trio of Belgian dipping sauces (flavored mayos). A fry dipped in curry mayo eaten along with the curry mussels and washed down with a cherry beer is close to perfection in my humble opinion.

Beck serves brunch on the weekends and has a nice patio but we have yet to partake in either. We just can't get past those mussels!

Second Thoughts From B

I have to start with the impressive beer menu. It is more like a bible than anything else and was carefully crafted by a man whose occupation and passion must be the envy of many. Since Bill's departure, Beck has added some non-Belgian beers but I'm sticking with Scaldis. If you like beer, you'll love this. Whenever we have the chance to share Beck with friends, it is said that Scaldis is what beer should taste like. It is smooth and flavorful, and constructed in such a way that the small bite of alcohol tickles your tongue. A word of warning however. That pleasant tickle is really a reminder of the 12% alcohol content - although you'd never know it by the taste.

As for the food, J and I are fortunate to have eaten at Beck on many occasions and between the two of us, there are few items on the menu that we have not explored. Everything we've tried is very good but I always feel a tinge of regret if I don't get mussels. And as anyone who has shared a meal with me knows, I hate ordering the same thing twice. But the mussels are that good. They are far and away the best I've ever had, as are the fries. What will 2 "best-evers" cost you? The best $20 you ever ate...
Brasserie Beck on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will have to say that the attraction for Beck's was hands down the beer list over the food.
I have been to Beck's several times last year and had amazing parings from Bill Catron. Recently I had been in to grab a quick bite and a beer and to my surprise Bill no longer worked there, and the first thing that caught my eye was the Dogfish Head tap that was on the bar???? Wow..

The only true unique thing that this restaurant had is now gone... For real Belgian food go to Belga Cafe..