This was my second time at Brasserie Beck, with the first trip being excellent and this time just good. Clearly, it pays to get the right server here.
Brasserie Beck is huge with the restaurant divided into a bar, side tables, a chef’s table in front of the kitchen and prep area, and an aquarium-feeling side room backed by a wall of the wine “cellar.” The side rooms have a Belgian/northern French feel to them with giant clocks set out from the walls like a European train station. Both times I’ve been we’ve been seated in the blue “aquarium” room at one of the many large round tables.
In addition, I just love the bathrooms. The women’s room has a fantastic damask wall paper and great sinks, while the men’s room (my brother opened the door to show me) has a wall paper print designed with drawings of women’s fishnet-clad legs in a criss-cross pattern.
Here’s what makes or breaks Beck. Our first trip we had a waiter named Theo who was one of the best waiters I’ve had – great suggestions, good flow, and wonderful presentation skills. He picked excellent cheeses for our cheese plate and made some great recommendations for food. Also, the beer sommelier was a great addition. He asked us each what we like in beer and brought us each something perfect.
This time we had a waitress who was slow in taking our order, absent when food was presented (I STILL don’t know what was what on that charcuterie plate) and who made some kinda crappy beer suggestions. (Not to mention that she kept mispronouncing Alison’s Kwak beer as qwauhk instead of quack…I thought Alison was going to pop a vein). The dinner probably took an hour longer than it should have because of the slow service.
The beginnings and endings are probably the best things here, possibly because Belgian food is a little on the heavy side. The cheese plate and charcuterie plate are perfect beginnings, although the cheese portions are a little skimpy. Ask for the soft and slightly stinky cheese not on the menu (and I could kick myself for not writing down the name because it’s my favorite) as well as the Epoisse and P’tit Basque.
The spinach salad is to die for and the chorizo mussels round that out to a full meal. The presentation of the mussels includes a “free facial” as they arrive in a covered pot and the lid is lifted with a flourish and puff of delicious steam.
The pork loin was, on first visit, the hit of the table. This time around my father’s was too flavorful and mine just okay. Honestly, I make a better pork loin at home. The rabbit is good, but heavy and a little tough. For my next visit I have my eye (if I get an entree…I may not) on the lamb shank with white beans.
Dessert was fantastic: a pear tarte tatin with cinnamon and honey ice cream. OMG good.
Visit Beck, but don’t go on a Monday when the beer maestro is off, and try and sit with Theo for the best experience.
Best for: Fun, loud, large-party dinners with people who love good food and beer.
Worst for: Romantic couples seeking a quiet corner and a meal light enough to let you get physical as soon as you leave.