Granville Moore's beats the pants off of Beck in the atmosphere department. If you're curious about the name, Dr. Granville Moore was a neighborhood doctor who provided pro bono medical services to neighbors out of this building. A sign advertising his business is still located in the upper left window of the building.
Inside, the space has been stripped down to the brick and rafters and you feel as if you've been let into a secret basement party. The two levels each feature large bars and booths. They don't take reservations so you might be in for a wait on weekends. Don't fret, just pull up a stool at one of the bars and ponder their impressive selection of Belgian beer.
Granville Moore's calls itself "a Gastropub with a Healthy Belgian Fetish." In addition to the Belgian beer and pub offerings, you can sample their famous mussels and frites. The mussel preparations run the gamut from the punchy blue cheese, pork belly, shallot, white wine, and lemon (B's choice) to the classic white wine, garlic, herb, and butter (my choice).
The frites are priced separately. A large, with a choice of two dipping sauces, was plenty for us to share. We had a hard time narrowing down the dipping sauce choices, so our amazing waitress brought us another one to try. While the bacon chive and chipotle mayos were good, I couldn't keep my frites out of the garlic ranch.
In a head to head mussel/frite comparison, Beck might win by a nose (mostly because we like their thin fries better than Granville's thicker cut), but in an overall experience comparison, Granville Moore's takes it by a landslide.
Our waitress was engaging, helpful, and shared my love of all things peanut butter and chocolate. The peanut butter chocolate cheesecake was a sweet (but not too sweet) way to cap off a great evening.
Second Thoughts from B
It is hard not to compare and contrast the two mussel, frites, and beer heavyweights in the town, so I won't fight it. But the bottom line is that you can't go wrong with either.
Place I'd go more often (if they were located next to each other): Granville Moore's - love the combination of great food with a casual and fun atmosphere. The price difference is negligible. It should be noted that Belga Cafe has a great atmosphere and good mussels. Notice I said good, not great, mussels.
Place I do go more often: Brasserie Beck - always better to walk a block than have to drive and park.
Place I'd go with my dad: Brasserie Beck - more sophisticated and refined.
Place I'd go with my buddies: Granville Moore's - more fun and friendly.
Mussel taste test winner: Brasserie Beck, though I think Mussel Bar in Bethesda is the best. The skillet at Beck/Mussel Bar is a cool way to present the mussels and the flat bottom keeps the mussels in the sauce longer. I thought Granville Moore's sauce was great for bread dipping but it didn't get into the mussels like Brasserie Beck's version.
Fries taste test winner: Brasserie Beck - love them both and appreciate Granville Moore's selection of mayos but you can't beat the skinny cut fries cooked in duck fat.
Non-mussel options: Granville Moore's - the only non-mussel item I've tried is the dessert so this is more because I've never been blown away by Beck's non-mussel offerings.Beer winner: Tie - both places have extensive lists and expertise.