Brasserie Beck

Brasserie BeckBrasserie Beck
Brasserie BeckBrasserie Beck
Bar, Eatery

1101 K St NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20005-4210
United States

(202) 408-1717 | map

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Ratings by SShelly:
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Reviewed by SShelly from Oregon

4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Went to a late lunch at brasserie beck on the reccomendation of a friend. First glance at the beer menu shows that anyone who is a belgian beer fan is in for a treat. First glance at the menu shows that your wallet is going to get dinged. Ended up getting a kwak to go with my lamb sandwhich all very tasty. Service was friendly and knowledgable, our waiter was reasonably well versed in the beer. Atmoshphere was decent if not a little sterile, very bright and light inside. Overall a very enjoyable experience that I might do again.
Aug 31, 2010
More User Ratings:
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Reviewed by cratez from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
What I had: Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale on tap, can of DC Brau The Corruption IPA, bottle of Stillwater Cellar Door, Seared Spiced Tuna for me, Belgian Endive Salad to split, pasta entrée special and a few glasses of sauvignon blanc for my fiancé.
What I liked: Swanky upscale atmosphere, plenty of seating available, love the wino artwork above the bar, excellent and well-presented food, very good bottle list, great spot for a date night or just to hang out at the bar.
What I disliked: Waiter initially brought me the Stateside Saison when I ordered the Cellar Door and didn’t offer to rectify the mistake until I pushed it, like most places in D.C. the prices are fairly high.
Would I go back? Yes.
Overall Rating: 80
Jan 30, 2020
Rated: 4.69 by mcbridec6 from New Jersey

Aug 16, 2018
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Reviewed by zonker17 from Texas

4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4.75
Went on a slow Sunday night. Only 12 Belgian drafts is a bit limiting and about half of them Belgian standards. Still no issue finding something to drink. High ceilings and beautiful interior. Extremely warm service. Excellent food. Had the steak tartar which was top notch and the Croque Madame that was herbed wonderfully.
Mar 28, 2017
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Reviewed by VABA from Virginia

4/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
An upscale restaurant with a good selection of Belgian beers. The food was good but pricey, as was the beer selection on tap. Never-the-less I am glad I visited.
Feb 05, 2017
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Reviewed by Kunnskap from Virginia

2.49/5  rDev -43.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 2
I'm not sure why this establishment has such stellar reviews. I can appreciate a small and carefully crafted tap list, but this place falls flat. If one of the handful of beers they have on draft looks enticing, you might have a hard time getting a bartender to notice you, even if the place is empty. That's ok, you can take in the ambiance of the place while you wait; the old mirrors and clocks are beautiful. However, watch your butt. Literally. The seats are made from a pretty, weaved blue and white plastic that (on several stools) were coming undone and poking patrons in the rear or snagging their clothes. I'll walk a couple blocks to Maddy's the next time I'm in the area and save my behind AND my wallet.
Jul 05, 2015
Rated: 4.36 by DavidHume from Virginia

May 02, 2015
Rated: 4.59 by Tsar_Riga from Indiana

Mar 07, 2015
Rated: 5 by KWolf from New York

Nov 27, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by CB2maltygoodness from District of Columbia

Nov 18, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by DCLAguy11 from California

Nov 14, 2014
Rated: 5 by milk93rd from Virginia

Oct 09, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Monteiro from District of Columbia

Sep 02, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by srletend from Texas

Aug 31, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by freimuth

Jul 23, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Boone757 from Virginia

May 24, 2014
Rated: 4 by Philby11111 from New York

May 21, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by speedvagen from Ohio

Mar 22, 2014
Rated: 4 by seanchai from Virginia

Dec 31, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by Thirsty2383 from Pennsylvania

Nov 17, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by polopaul20 from Maryland

Nov 15, 2013
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Reviewed by wahnee86 from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75
While you'll pay a lot, the quality of what you get served can't be beat if you're looking for good Belgian beers. Their Happy Hour specials sometimes contain some real gems, but if you're looking for the best variety, look in their book of beers. The bartenders are generous in letting you sample what's on tap and very knowledgeable about all the options. Take advantage and describe what you like and you're sure to be provided a great beer in the right glass-ware.
Jul 29, 2013
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Reviewed by Sludgeman from District of Columbia

4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75
9/1/17 - Visited many times since this original review. Sit at the bar for the best service. They have a certified cicerone on staff, so ask for him if you need help. The mussels are great, try the red spicy thai version. Reduced the vibe from 4.75 to 4.5.
Visited on a Thursday afternoon, after the lunch rush before dinner, the week before Christmas. Only spent time at the bar. A very polished clientle.

Food - I did not sample the food on this visit, but from past visits BB has a very tasty menu, albeit one that can fill you up quickly. What I might consider high quality, but typical brasserie food.

Beer - An excellent selection almost exclusively focused on Belgian beers, both on tap and by the bottle. I did find a Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, which I ordered since I had never had one before.

The bartender, a young lady in her twentys was very knowledgable. She indicated that she was studying to be a cicerone. It was a pleasure talking beer and an opportunity to learn which I did not pass up. If only all my bartenders were this friendly and knowledgable.

Thursday afternoon also happen to be that time when one of the distributors made his visit to show his new wears. Staff kindly invited me to sit in as the distributor showed off about eight new beers. I was asked my opinion and I gave it. What a wonderful treat!

Very pleased with the BB. It is a regular stop for me when I need a good beer.
Dec 21, 2012
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Reviewed by Beerenauslese from California

4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
I've been here about a dozen times in the past two years and ALWAYS make a visit here on a trip to DC.

This looks and feels like an upscale Brussels brasserie. The food is great, and it is always entertaining to watch the entire kitchen prepare the food in the open. There is a large bar area, with usually about 10 draft beers. They alternate between commercial (Palm) and artisinal (Alvinne), I go for the latter. They have a daily happy hour from 5-7 with half-price beers. Not to be missed.

Great mussels in a bunch of different varieties and superb twice-cooked frites. Good choices of fresh oysters in season, with the seafood chef working right at the bar in full view. Entrees are delicious. I used to come for the rabbit cooked with kriek, but that has unfortunately dissapeared from the menu.

Draft beer choice is limited, but they always have some good beers that are available for happy hour. Some of the draft beers get pricy, such as St. Feuillien blond at $11--you can see how happy hour matters.

Extensive beer menu with bottles to satisfy many a beer connaisseur. Very pricy with a wine markup. A bomber of Stillwater Stateside saison will put you back $27. Lambic choices are rather pedestrian, with St. Louis, Giradin, and Oud Beersel being the only entries. C'mon, get some 3 Fonteinen and Cantillon in there.
Sep 16, 2011
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Reviewed by DWolf from Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Hey, this is DC. Therefore, the price is "reasonable". More importantly, the selection of Belgian beers is top-shelf and the food is good ... and, equally as important, the wait staff is knowledgable. Not much is worse than asking the server about a particular beer and he/she responds, "it's fizzy or I like fruity beers." You won't get that here. If you're a Belgian fan (or a beer fan), stop by, if you are in the area, and you won't be disappointed. Note: BB has an extensive and quality wine list as well.
Mar 28, 2011
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Reviewed by malloyca from District of Columbia

4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Brasserie Beck's focus is on Belgian beer and they have an excellent selection. More importantly, the staff is knowledgeable about the beer list and able to guide you through it to offer suggestions regardless of your familiarity with Belgian beers. The bar is small and gets very crowded. The food is excellent (Beck is a nice restaurant with a great beer list rather than a beer bar with good food) and, because the bar is small and can get very crowded, for the best experience I'd recommend skipping the bar and reserving a table.
Mar 28, 2011
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Reviewed by ferrari29 from Illinois

4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
What is missing with Brasserie Beck? Nothing. This is my highest rated beer bar and restaurant. I fell in love with Beck the moment I walked in, the atmosphere is up-scale and carries with it a classy (a mix between 'throw back' and contemporary European style) sophistication.
I was impressed with the quality and service of the wait staff. The beer bottle presentation and glass pours were top notch and were presented exquisitely. The attention to detail was great. With an on-site beer sommelier (Thor is the man), you can't go wrong with their trusted advice and perfect food pairing. Their menu is based around a prime choice of mussels, served in various styles from wine and garlic to goat cheese and smoked bacon. Sandwiches are great and the fries were amazing; served with a great selection of dipping sauces. Presentation, texture, flavor, aroma, everything about the food was incredible and delicious.
The draft beer selection is top-notch, my wife had a Antigoon Double Blond Ale and loved it. They also have Klokke Roeland, Straffe Hendrik, Bacchus, Bavik Pils and Kasteel Rouge on draft. Their bottle selection offers many different Belgian based brews ranging from Pilsner, Kolsch, Belgian Style Blond Ales, Belgian Style Amber Ales, Beglian Style Bubbel Ales, Belgian Style Tripel Ales, Belgian Style Strong Golden Ales, Belgian Style Strong Dark Ales, Farm House Style Ales, Red Ales, Sour and Sweet Lambic, IPA, Fruit Beer, Wheat Based Ales, Doppelbock, Stout/Porters, and finish your meal off with a small but perfect selection of Barleywines. I was very impressed and would recommend to others.
Mar 20, 2011
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Reviewed by jgasparine from Maryland

4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
Atmosphere- Modern European. Very cool, clean, higher class with touches of old world influence. A statue of Manekin Pis above the door. A central kitchen visible from the dining floor. It was nice in there to say the least. They could use a little more standing room near the bar, but really, that's the only negative thing I could say about the atmosphere.

Quality- Absolutely everything about this place screams quality. The beverage and food selections, the multiple waiters working each table, the Cicerone on-hand to help with beer selections. Everything was immaculately clean- nothing short of amazing.

Service- Again, nothing short of amazing service. At the bar (which was packed with people), the bartender greeted us with beer menus in-hand and somehow managed to get us drinks in a timely manner whilst juggling dozens of other patrons. At the dinner table, the multiple waiters were extremely attentive and helpful. And the Cicerone just made the night for us. I wish I caught his name... he was extremely knowledgeable, and once he knew that we were there for the beer, he hooked us up with some fantastic off-menu selections, including Russian River Damnation!

Selection- An incredible selection of beer both on draught and in bottle. And as I mentioned, some special off-menu stuff exists as well. Definitely once of the best beer selections in DC.

Food- Nothing short of incredible. Even the bread served at the table was some of the most delicious, doughy, flavorful bread I have ever had. Their cheese platter was exquisite, their Beer Carbonade was to-die-for, and their salmon was out of this world. Presentation, texture, flavor, aroma, everything about the food was incredible.

Overall- It's a bit pricey, but worth every penny. I can't wait to go back!
Mar 06, 2011
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Reviewed by CuriousMonk from District of Columbia

3.93/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3
As soon as you walk in, you're taken aback by the breathtaking high ceilings and elegant yet understated modern decor. The bar and restrooms are just off to the right, and the main dining area is straight ahead.

The beer list is extensive AND expensive. $11 for a draft? All kinds of suits with beer wallets but champagne expense accounts in here. If you're into plastic people, this is the place for you. I do appreciate the fact they serve up De Struise beers there and other hard-to-find Belgians. Granted, this place has the best Belgian selections in town.

Limited food and portions. Quality is medium. I don't come here for the food, I come here because of the beers.

I can't say I was impressed with the staff here - while brewmasters/waiters are knowledgable about their beers, but they take awhile to serve you up food/beers.
Feb 04, 2011
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Reviewed by Dreadnaught33 from District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
This is an excellent place in DC that focuses mostly on Belgian brews in terms of their beer selection. The food is focused on Belgian Brasserie fare, and really everything on the menu is fantastic. The menu rotates, but their mussels and dinner entrees are really top notch. This is a little more upscale dining experience that happens to have a killing beer list to pair with it, which seems rare (for now. My feeling is people will catch onto the craft beer thing more and more in nice restaurants like BB).

The beer director Thor is a really knowledgeable and friendly guy who gives excellent beer recommendations and stocks up the bottle list/10-12 taps with awesome stuff that is always changing- some notable breweries and beers he rotates in and out include De Struise (Pannepot, Black Albert on tap), The Bruery (He is friends with Patrick and gets great stuff like Oude Tart, BA Coton, etc.), North Coast, St. Bernardus, Rochefort, and the list goes on. It's always fun to come in and see whats new on tap or on the bottle menu as Thor does a great job getting new and interesting stuff as well as classics. The only thing I'd love to see is a little more US Breweries on there but really that isn't the focus of this place and they do an awesome job with everything beer wise. My hat is off to Thor every time I go in there. He even fuels my silly habit of collecting the labels of the beers I have by expertly giving me labels for my book!

In terms of prices for the beer, expect them to be high, especially the drafts. My recommendation for a great night here would be to have a beer or two at the happy hour 5-7pm everyday because the drafts will be half off (and actually manageable to pay for. E.g. last night I got Pannepot for $10 at the happy hour, normally $20 for a 12oz pour). I'd recommend getting one to bring to the table and then trying some of Thors recommendations with whatever you get to eat for dinner. This is GREAT date spot, my fiance loves this place!

Overall a great place to eat and drink, especially if you're ready to shell out some dough. Be nice and take Thor's beer suggestions and check out the bottle list, there are some gems he puts in there! Awesome place I will be frequenting over the years!

EDIT 2012: The beer has taken a huge slide, along with the food over the past year. The bottle list is not nearly as impressive as when Thor was there and the drafts are just OK, and WAY overpriced. The happy hour only features a handful of their beers now which is totally uncalled for. Go to Churchkey, Paradiso, or Meridian Pint before you consider this place.
Dec 17, 2010
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Reviewed by DaveBlack from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
The beer list is exceptional: mostly Belgian and almost all of high quality. I was slightly disappointed to see Leffe on the list, but I guess it's fairly well known, albeit disappointing.

Happy hour is crowded with upscale DC-ites blowing off steam after work. It's classy, though a mite stuffy.

The wait staff are quick to offer you recommendations with your food and seem to genuinely enjoy the beers that they serve.

Of course, every beer comes in the brewer's glass.

I actually went for the food, which was quite good, though it straddles the line between comfort food and upscale. On one hand it's good because it goes VERY well with beer, yet I didn't think it was worth the high price that I paid.

Definitely worth visiting, though I'm not sure if I'll be making a return visit. There's just not enough to hold my interest.
Sep 16, 2010
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Reviewed by pzrhsau from District of Columbia

4.2/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
A: It is a very classy restaurant. Very clean, great lighting. Good mix of people milling about by the bar
Q: You can get some really classy Belgian Brews here. Delrium and such coupled with a nice mussel pot. Very much what you would want from a belgian style restaurant.
S: The people know what they are doing and can tell you a lot of what you need to know. Service has always been prompt and congenial
Selection: Hey, it seems to be a bit more commercial because they want beers people recognize. I won't fault that because its hard to move stuff that most people don't know. I have found it to have a good mix of beers to mix with the food
Food: Its fantastic belgian style cuisine.
Value: Eh, its expensive. I cannot deny that. Most tap beers will run you 7-9 on average. But they do have a good happy hour. An you certainly are paying for quality.
Sep 06, 2010
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Reviewed by Mitro from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
For me, the primary attraction at BB is the beer. And, seeing that this is a website for beer, I will focus my attention on Beck's beer experience--the food is good, but "a bit pricey." Not only do they have an impressive selection of (primarily) Belgian beers (incl. Rochefort, Cantillion, Gueuze), their beer sommelier, Thor, is wonderful. If he doesn't approach you as you are examining the beer menu, make sure to ask for him. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable about every single beer on the menu, he does his job perfectly. He appears when one needs him, stops by to make sure everything is in order, and vanishes. The last time I went, he brought my father and I a couple of samples of their newest stock (Ommegang Zuur, and an imperial stout, the name of which I have forgotten) at the end of our meal. A+, Thor. Of course, all of the beer is served in proper glassware, and usually, the glassware comes from the brewery whose beer you are about to enjoy.

Go to Beck if you have a bit of dough to blow (enjoy that rhyme), but make sure you talk to Thor.
Aug 31, 2010
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Reviewed by elvisnj from New Jersey

4.9/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
Its been over a year since I sat down for dinner and beer at this place but since it started my love affair with Belgian beer I am going to review it from memory. I am reviewing it more for the beer and less for the cuisine...

It has a great atmosphere. The entrance is beautiful with the stunning bar on the right and dining area straight ahead. The open kitchen is fantastic.

To be honest, I cant even remember what I ate. What I do remember is that our server was a Belgian beer expert and was quite passionate about the beer menu (which was huge).

I let him have the run of the beer menu for me and he was on target. I had a Chimay Grand Reserve (outstanding), Orval (outstanding) and some other dessert beer which was almost like champagne.

He made the night about beer for us and was perfect. We all agreed the food was good but the beer was exceptional. We finished off the night at the bar. Overall a great beer experience.
May 20, 2010
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Reviewed by drabmuh from Maryland

4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5
My wife and I went here for her birthday. We ate dinner and had drinks.

Its a very nice restaurant, big open floor plan with a bar up front. Several beers on tap, all Belgian, and many many more in bottles. You have to have a reservation to eat here, be warned. We were sat in the back near the awesome wine cellar. Very nice to look at.

Everything looked beautiful and the menu was well crafted. Many of the dishes included beers from Belgium as sauces (beer used in the making of the sauces). I ordered the duck and my wife ordered the grouper. She won. The grouper was amazing and the duck was good too, but I would recommend the fish there.

The waiter was knowledgeable and nice. He didn't rush us through our meal because we were in no rush. We ordered several beers, two meals, two appetizers and two desserts (one we took home with us) and the bill was approximately 100$. Pretty decent for a really nice restaurant. The beers were the most overpriced thing on the menu but I guess its a niche restaurant and a niche beer selection. I would go again (if I could afford to).
May 20, 2010
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Reviewed by Daniellobo from District of Columbia

3.83/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Quite an iconic place, with a great selection of Belgium themed brews, above average food and pricing, and a bit of an unjustified sense of superiority...

After much time thinking that we needed to check out Brasserie Beck we made it for informal lunch on a weekday. The experience in that context is quite incomplete but we enjoyed the opportunity, and it satisfied our curiosity.

The most remarkable of the place is a nicely taken care of beer and wine selection, and a rather pricy one too, often clearly well above of what one would find really reasonable even for a pretentious place to go out to. Regarding beer, the taps fall the taps fall between reliable and exciting with, and the bottled menu offers plenty to chose from, offering fairly adequate descriptions of each brew, with some provocative and enticing offerings. Beer is served in adequate glassware, typically that of the brewery, and commonly the temperature is appropriate. (We tasted a Gouden Carolus Grand Cru that was way too cold but it seemed to be an exception.)

The food, while nice, unfortunately did not reach the expectations that its reputation and pretentious mark would have one believe, at least not around these lunch servings. Visually it worked great, i.e. sandwiches or mussels with a great table presence, but they were really a bit short of tasty or stimulating. Lamb feeling a bit raw and harsh, or mussels also a bit aggressive on the palate with a bit of an undercook assertive seafood sense that ultimately I did not find very palatable. Plenty of better mussels had elsewhere in DC came to mind, not a great sign...

The staff was correct with good service, and not particularly friendly or engaging. And I really do not mind it, but it was quite unremarkable. Nothing about specials, details of brews, what they had to offer. Nil, zip, nada... Luckily the menus were well arranged with sufficient descriptions.

The design of the space tries to offer a modern brasserie look, with plenty of attention to detail, mixing a lot of contemporary sense with classic touches. For the most part it works fairly well, but next to the predominant patron profile and perfunctory service it also feels a bit cold. Details like the wall paper in the men´s toilets with crisscrossed lower female bodies in lingerie, whereas the ladies´have abstract embroidery instead, are not only in poor taste, but quite outdated if not right away sexist and offensive.

Ultimately the atmosphere around the decor is not bad, but there a corporate and business clientele mixed with downtown tourists and the odd visitor that predominates the landscape and for a good reason. This is really not a place to get a notion of local sensibilities not even as a part of the general mix, and for a few reasons...

All in all Brasserie Beck is a worthy place but not one to be found among top recommendations for beer or food lovers in the district. Pricing, fauna, the food and the decor that really wan to reach you but don´t quite make it, and most importantly the range of solid options in the city on all sides of the spectrum around quality craft beer make the spot a third choice at best. Maybe useful to keep in memory when one needs to suggest a place for that boss - if one has to - , business acquaintance or uppity relative that may match the spot...
Apr 30, 2010
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Reviewed by alysmith4 from District of Columbia

4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
Wow, what a great find, not too far from my apartment. This place isn't what I would have expected on decor, but it grows on you as the night goes. The quality of food and beer is exceptional, the service is great, and the selection is.. well, they have everything it seems! I asked the waiter for a few suggestions on beer, and he hit the mark each time. The food was some of the best I've had.. especially the duck confit. I'd go back just for that and a one of their puckery sour ales. Oh and the frites and mussels are excellent too!
Mar 24, 2010
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Reviewed by msubulldog25 from Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Visited for dinner, 31 July, 2009.

My wife and I love the beers and cuisine of Belgium; as great fortune would have it, the hotel we chose (Henley Park) is just around the corner from Brasserie Beck. A final-night-in-town there was a given.

Located in the ground floor of a chic glass and marble monolith at the corner of 11th and K, Beck was one of very few downtown spots that had outdoor seating. The generous sidewalks on K allow for a couple dozen tables (smoking allowed, so beware if you're averse), sheltered by umbrellas. A small mobile bar (7 taps) was stationed against a far wall. At 7pm, with skies a bit overcast, we stayed indoors and were placed in a nook next to the curtained windows. The spot was terrific, quiet enough despite a proximity to the glass-walled kitchen - spoiled only slightly by a couple of loud-mouthed, cell phone-gabbing patrons at an adjacent table...GRRR! Ceilings are lofty, colors are muted, floors are marble and tile, wood trim is all works with a classy ambiance that's not overly stuffy.

Food, beer, and wine lists were passed out as we were seated; we passed back the wine list immediately (despite an impressive glass-encased 'cellar' on display, we were there for food and beer only). Choosing from among the 11 indoor taps, we settled for a Gouden Carolus Tripel and a Barbãr Bok (one I'd never tried before). Both were very good, served in the right glassware at the right temperature. A wonderfully summer-y salad of ripe heirloom tomatoes, mixed greens and shaved cheeses arrived soon after. Next, a second course of beer (bottled Petrus Dubbel, Gulden Draak on draught) appeared with a pot of steaming traditional (white wine and garlic) moules a frites - a couple dozen plump mussels with perfect fries and 3 sauces (classic mayo, paprika, yellow curry). Another server noted our bread supply was low, so a piping hot loaf was delivered in a flash. A final course and yet more beer (Kasteel Donker and draught St. Bernardus 12!) descended from the heavens: a succulent beef carbonnade on parsnip puree for me, fall-off-the-bone lamb shank with white beans for my wife. A dessert menu was presented, but Wow, just wow. Wonderful meal, terrific beers...still feeling full more than 48 hours later!

Max was our server: quite friendly, attentive without pestering, knowledgeable about the beers (though admitting to not knowing every one in the 18 tap/90+ bottle list - fair enough). That beer list seems to be pretty well set, though there's some tap rotation; bottles are nicely arranged by style, with only a dozen or so non-Belgians (they are a nice assortment of German, French, Canadian and US brews, with a couple Dogfish Head featured specials - Black & Blue and World Wide Stout).

Prices are on the high side across the board: draughts generally $8 or more, bottles at least $10 (with some aged examples, lambics and strong ales ranging from the $30s on up past $60/bottle). Appetizers and early courses are typically $10 or more and entrees are well above $ expect a sizable bill at the end of the night. Meh, it's Downtown DC and those three hours spent dining rank among the finest we've had in years. Come with a full wallet and an empty stomach and you'll go home very happy!

PS A trip to the bathroom (leading past an odd confluence of humanity, from well-heeled jacket-and-tie locals to flip-flop and T-shirt sporting tourists) is worthwhile. In the men's room, checkout the black & white wallpaper, a criss-crossing of sexily-stockinged legs, bras and panties!
Aug 03, 2009
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Reviewed by slander from New York

4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
So we're in DC, see, and I'm so glad to be out of the dirty smoker's smoky car; I swear he was lighting every cigarette with the end of the one before it. Functional navigator, I, led us easily unto the hotel, where Phil changed, man, he changed. Now, ready for the out and about, Brasserie Beck is my clear idear of where dinner should be had (I don't arrive with the not know). I liked Odelay and thought Mutations and Sea Change were awesome, so I'm hoping Beck put that kind of care into dinner...

We were told there'd be (like) a half hour's wait for a table, although the outdoor patio was not at all jammed (you could have put us out there, fuckers). So we bode our time at the bar just off the entrance; marble topped, "J" shaped with a foot rail and seating for a dozen + but loses some space on the end to a raw bar display case and standing room only on the tail. 2 round towers of 4 each along the bar and a straight job in the center, angled, looking like the head of a giant bottle opener. Booze on the barback counter below shelved glassware over tortoise shell mirroring, some wines displayed above and brewery logo imprinted angled mirrors atop in a row. TV's behind the bar in the corners and a big colorful bright mural on the end. A communal table sits just off the bar and a pair of hightops in the corner.

Big cavernous open space, high ceilings, block tile floorings, drawn curtains on the lower ½ of the walls of windows, framed white inner walls over wood lowers & trim, drop spinning top lamps in rows above, exposed ductwork throughout, and large clocks mounted here and there. Just past the bar and coffee station is a pretentious "everybody look at me" center open area to the large wrap around kitchen behind glass. Meh. Seating in small nooks with 3 or so tables each up front, and then carved out into larger sections; 6 here, and 6 more around the divider in the far corner. The main dining area further in holding more than a dozen tables in 3 rows; to the rear there a wall of wine bottles on their sides behind glass, these views of the wine room. And a sizable, banquet room, no, rooms, just past there.

18 taps in all; 11 inside (Gouden Carolus Tripel, Palm, Bavik Pils, Houblon Chouffe, Kasteel Rouge, Delirium Tremens, Bacchus, Leffe Brune, Wittekerke, Klokke Roeland, DogFishHead Raison D'etre), and a weaker list of 7 out on patio (Stella, Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde, Campus Pils, Brigand, Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor, St Louis Framboise). A comfortable Belgian selection save the oddball Raison D'etre. Phil drank the Klokke Roland, said it's the Gouden Carolus without the caramel, I don't know what he's talking about. All I know is its 11% and its got a sweet burn is all I know. I drank the Bacchus, their Flemish Sour Red, a Thurston Howell III tribute beer made exclusively for them by Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck (yes, the Kasteel people), or so the story goes and that story is actually fiction as Bacchus has been spotted out and about the country (Did you think we wouldn't notice?)

And still waiting for our table, I had some time to peruse the bottle list. Nearly 100 selections, the list broken out by style, roughly 4/5 of them Belgians, and the remainder mostly Belgian style (Brooklyn Local 1 & 2, Allagash Black, Koningshoeven La Trappe Dubbel to round out the Trappists sans the Westie, a pair from Unibroue, 6 French offerings, and 3 strange German guests in this Belgian house). And is it just me or are some of these bottles over the top pricey? $41 for the '05 Cantillon Iris, $40 for the De Ranke Kriek, $35 for the Allagash Black, $14 for a Rochefort 10, and I do recall the draft prices to be a bit absurd, as well.

I'm all messed up menuwise; I don't know what to do. Starters, I was on the fence between the lamb sausage and pea soup with veal cheek meatballs; the lamb sausage wins, served with lentils & frisee. Phil ordered the duck sausage special app, so we split the two (the lamb was the better of the two), and Belgian Frites with a mayonnaise trio for the table; I don't remember which of the three I liked the best but I recall the curry mayo being not it. For the Entrée, it was going to be the Beef Carbonnade Stew with Kasteel beer, until I spotted the Duck Congolese Almondine, and that was that. The duck duck goosed up with a sauce of goodness and served with raisin & black currant couscous, and crazy, and I don't know what, but it was just excellent. From now on, I Almondine everything. So, so, so very glad I bagged the Carbonnade. Phil went with the soft shell crab for his Entree, very good but not as all that as the duck, 'cause, well, really now, duck.

Service was very good, friendly, helpful, lively, and knew beer. Great food and some very good drink, just not a Belgian real deal feel. The place is forced, corporate, and lacks personality. It screams of tries too hard and shouldn't have to. I know you know what I mean.
Jul 08, 2009
Brasserie Beck in Washington, DC
Place rating: 4.42 out of 5 with 60 ratings