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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food: Belgium Dining in D.C.

The Belle of Ballast Point and I spent a most memorable three day weekend in our nation's capital recently. We journeyed from the warmth of Florida to the chill of the north for two reasons. One was to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity. I had ulterior motives, though. Food! And, most specifically - oysters.

Washington has a plethora of fine dining establishments...too many to visit during our stay, but on our first night we chose the Brasserie Beck at 1101 K Street NW. The Beck was on our list for several reasons...oysters, beer and food choices that triggered fond memories of our trips to Europe. The Beck presents one with a lively setting when you walk through the door...a bit noisy, perhaps, for a romantic dinner but tables are available farther back that allow quiet conversation. There is a grand outdoor seating area that we ignored. We are true Floridians and any temperature below 70 degrees is chilly to us. That evening it was in the 50s and we are puss-wads when it comes to the cold.

The oyster selection was one of the finest I have seen anywhere. The Beck knows how to shuck those little darlin's and properly serve them. It may surprise some, but that is a rarity in Florida where seafood usually leaves much to be desired. I chose a dozen Blue Points that were absolutely succulent...just briny enough and with a slight hint of cucumbers. While the oysters are served with two sauces, these oysters needed nothing to enhance or mask the taste.

While I slurped the oysters, my bride enjoyed the Tomato Napoleon, an unbelievably well stacked tower of tomatoes and cheese topped with a sprinkling of greens and a slice of bacon. She allowed me a taste and it was terrific. For her entrée she chose the Beef Carbonnade, a stew enhanced with Kasteel beer, while I selected the Bistro Filet with green peppercorn and Cognac sauce accompanied by Belgium Frites. Both entrées were superb.

Now, on to the beer. I have never seen such an impressive selection of brews...certainly too many to try in one night, though I suppose we could have made an effort. Our server suggested that he could narrow down the list by telling him what types of beers we enjoy. We did and we were presented with an Affligem Blond to start our evening. This ale and our later choices were served with the finesse that is normally reserved for wine presentation...most impressive. After this lighter ale we move on to more robust brews to compliment our entrées. I believe the crowning moment came with the serving of the Rochefort 10 (Trappist), a hearty ale with a fruity nose that packed a bit of a punch. A few more of those and we would have been spending the night at the Beck instead of our hotel.

Dinner for two with oysters, ales and a 20% gratuity (our choice) came to $182.00. I would definitely recommend the Brasserie Beck if you are in D.C.

Brasserie Beck on Urbanspoon

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