100 Best Restaurants 2010: Brasserie Beck

No. 80: Brasserie Beck

Cuisine: Vegetarians and believers in portion control will find little to like about this buzzing den of immoderation, perhaps the finest of the area’s growing contingent of Belgian-inspired restaurants. Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s menu abounds in burly servings of beef stews, lamb sausages, and roasted rabbit—even salads sport bits of pork. Just as hearty is the Belgian-dominated beer list that’s as thick as a novel and closely managed by a suds sommelier.

Mood: A gleaming open kitchen is the backdrop for a frenetic dining room, where cooler-than-thou servers cater to hungry beer lovers and celebratory groups, while gaggles of young professionals swarm the granite bar at happy hour. In summer, try the patio for a quieter scene.

Best for: Celebrating with a large group—you don’t have to worry about being too loud, and dishes are easy to share.

Best dishes: Buttery lentils supporting a house-made lamb sausage; triple-fried frites, herb-dusted and served with three mayos; garlic-happy mushrooms and spaetzle with a crunchy baguette slice and a warm poached egg; coq au vin, liberally scattered with bits of bacon; fried-parsley-flecked snails; a soufflé-like black-currant-and-fig clafoutis.

Insider tips: Resist the allure of the steamed mussels—more-flavorful pots are to be found elsewhere. Instead, splurge for Wiedmaier’s house-made charcuterie.

Service: •½

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.