Belgian food is starting to quickly become an overdone fad in DC. However, having spent most of my life in the Midwest, deprived of moules and frites, I just can’t seem to get enough of them. Plus, trying new restaurants gives me an excuse to eat french fries, even though I know they’re bad for me.
Two weekends ago, Lee and I made reservations for any early dinner at Brassiere Beck. BB opened about a year ago amid serious hype. Reviews seem to be mixed, but BB also keeps popping up in various best new restaurant lists. While that’s enough to make one a little hesitant, Brasserie Beck definitely exceeded my expectations on several counts.
Lee and I each ordered a salad ($13) to start - bibb lettuce with roasted beets and frisee with lardons and poached egg. I’m sorry there are no salad shots — I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture. The beet salad arrived with thin slices of beet arranged in a circle and a little pile of lettuce leaves and minced red onion in the center. As an avid beet fan, I have eaten many a beet salad. This rendition was perfectly acceptable but not very memorable. The mustard dressing was very mild, and I thought the raw onion overwhelmed their delicate flavor. I think a gentle dressing works will with tender bibb lettuce, but a little more acid would have brought out the sweetness in the beets.
The frisee salad, on the other hand, was divine. Like, eyes rolling back in my head, weak knees, drooling a little divine. The presentation was also delightful - the mound of frissee was topped with a parmesan toast crisp and a perfectly poached egg. I love this flavor combination, but in the past I have noticed that this salad can become overpowered by the sherry vinegarette and becomes soupy once the egg yolk is mixed into the greens. What is notable about Brasserie Beck’s salad is that the salad is dressed just lightly enough to impart a vinegary pucker that is smoothed out by the richness of the yolk. But the best part is the addition of little deep fried shallots, which opens the salad up to an entirely new level of flavor suggestion and gives it greater textural interest. I would go back for this salad alone. Read the rest of this entry �