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.

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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 Logan Circle.