Picture: Moules Frites
Last Updated: September 2022
Current Status: Brasserie Beck reopened on June 8th. Dining inside and out for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday. Take-out available.
Brasserie Beck has been a solid fine-dining choice for Belgian food and beer in a grand setting for years. It closed for an extended period during the pandemic, but finally re-opened in June 2022. It still has the great beer list, multiple mussels options and crispy fries. It appears the menu has been rejiggered a little, but it is still French and Belgian inspired (leaning more French currently) and perfect for these coming months. Dishes that will do the trick include, braised rabbit with pappardelle, Bouillabaisse, and duck breast. Lighter fish dishes, plus a burger option are also available. Cathal Armstrong, formerly of Restaurant Eve, came in to help with the opening, but the kitchen remains in the hands of Chef Brian McBride, who has cooked in restaurants around the world and put Blue Duck Tavern on the map here in D.C. before partnering at Brasserie Beck with owner Robert Wiedmaier.
Unlike burgers, pizza, or tacos, mussels were not an easy sell during days of lock-down and take-out. With the reopening of St. Arnold’s in Dupont and Brasserie Beck there is reason for optimism among Belgian food lovers.
Before Times Review:
Last Visited: May 2019
The nearly ear-ringing din that once echoed in the post-industrial rafters of Brasserie Beck has died down. The crowds moved on, but you can feast in their slipstream. Granted the food is not light but, before you go to Le Diplomate one more time, remember Brasserie Beck is all that and slightly more interesting.
The cuisine is Belgian, with moules frites front and center and other very good options as well. Local empire builder Robert Weidmeier is the guiding force, if not the daily chef behind Brasserie Beck. He can do subtle, but he seems to prefer to be decadent in his touches. If the crowd you are hanging with finds mussels to be adventurous, then this is the place to cover your bases. The hearty steak-and-potato folks can dine with those who can’t resist octopus when it is on the menu (and it is a good grilled version here). A few minds may be opened along the way. The fries are meaty, good, and just crispy enough. The bread is on the dense side, but excellent to dip in the remains of the moules.
Beer is the beverage here. You can get wine and cocktails, but why would you? Go with tap options or ask for the big list of bottles and explore the small country of Belgium’s giant gift to humanity. And make sure you designate a driver. These beers can sneak up on you.
Both kitchen and service focus seemed off for a while, but the last couple visits it was back on track. The overall vibe is friendly. Tourists, downtown professionals, and locals mix. The room is a large hall (reflecting the railway theme) with some warrens of dining spaces. Brass, glass, marble, and steel set the tone. There is also ample outdoor seating that makes brunch a draw here. This place was part of the first wave of mixed-use building restaurants that sprouted up just before the crash. Luckily it held on to be an elder among the younger crop.
Other Guidance: Jeans are fine here, though the local white-collar crowd also is prominent. Vegetarians and GF can work around the menu.
Washington Post: 1 star in 2016 (From a time when Brasserie Beck was off its game, and Sietsema was often grumpy).
Washingtonian: None recent. The same year Tom gave them one star, Washingtonian put it on the Top 100 list. Also made the list in many previous years – #58 in 2015; 2013; 2012; 2010 (#80); 2009 (#61); 2008 (#36).
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