Saturday, January 24, 2009

Brasserie Beck: Revisiting an Old Favorite

Our friends Matt and Brendan were visiting from San Francisco and we decided to show them a bit of DC liveliness. So we headed over to Beck's after a stop for a pick-me-up at Halo.

The evening started with a good omen as we found a parking space right around the corner...a good thing as it was a freezing cold night and the Californians were not dressed for the occasion despite borrowing a good portion of our winter clothing. We strolled in and claimed our table.

As usual, the atmosphere was lively and festive despite the late hour (we could only get a 9:00 reservation). There was some awkwardness as we juggled food, wine, and beer menus. As usual at Beck's since beer is really the focus, we all decided to have beer and yet it takes forever to go through the hundreds of beers available. Why don't they make more than one menu available per table? As it turned out the first of us took about 5 minutes to pick a beer, which is not surprising, and then there was an awkward situation with the waiter...does he bring the first person his beer and then come back for the next order? Does he wait until everybody's ready? By the time the list got to me I just picked something I knew since I really didn't have time to go through the whole list without feeling impossibly rushed. Note to restaurant: one list for each person, please.

The food, as usual, was delicious. Well, mostly. We shared a pot of mussels and fries which were as good as always. We also shared a duck sausage appetizer which was terrific. I was pleased to see Michael eating the mussels since after a very unfortunate encounter at BlackSalt he has been off mussels for about a year and hopefully this will help him get back in the mussel-eating saddle.

For mains, Michael and Brendan had the "choucroute en croute" which they both seemed to love. The one taste I got was very enjoyable although I didn't actually notice any sauerkraut inside...with his usual solicitousness Michael probably just gave me a piece of sausage rather than the kraut. Matt had a crispy skate wing which he also devoured. I had the lamb shank which was perfectly tender but, I thought, woefully underseasoned. What is it with salt these days in restaurants? I know we're all trying to cut down on salt but not at the expense of taste? I enjoyed the lamb but it was just missing something.

Since we had plenty of dessert at home, and it had been a long day, we passed on dessert. The bill for 2 apps, 4 mains, and 6 beers among the four of us came to $240. I was reminded that I like Beck's but I always feel, when the bill comes, that it's a bit expensive for what it is. $12 beers will do that to you. I guess that's why we don't end up going here more often than we do.

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