It isn't very often that you walk into a restaurant for the first time and just say to yourself, "wow". Restaurants are restaurants for the most part; you walk in and you pretty much know what to expect. I had high expectations for Brasserie Beck, the sister restaurant to Robert Wiedmaier's Marcel's in the West End, but there was just something about Beck that drew that "wow" out of me.
This wasn't just a normal dinner however, it was the first time I'd seen Apples in a few months and it made for a good excuse to try something new.
We both started off with a beer, something lighter for me, darker for her - I forget exactly what she got, but it tasted a little like Cricket Cola, which was fine with me. The beer selection here is one of the highlights, with more Belgian beers than you can shake an empty beer stein at.
After the first round and the ordering came the bread. A fresh warm baguette with soft butter (finally, a restaurant who understands!!), for its simplicity, it's one of my favorite bread baskets in the city - because it was done right.
We started off with the apple and curry mussels, which there was enough of for two people. I would say that these were probably the best I've had, or if not the best than certainly in the top three. If in doubt, you can't go wrong with them here.
The mussels were probably enough, but since neither of us know when to stop eating, we both ordered an appetizer - for Apples, the pea soup with veal cheek meatballs, and for me, the duck confit.
The pea soup was fantastic, sweet and creamy, just the way it should be, and the meatballs were soft (though slightly more cooked than I would have preferred) and very tasty.
The duck confit was also very good, though it was at this point in the meal that the beer and the food combined to nearly make me throw in the towel. But with a little urging on I had a few bites of this wonderfully cheesy potato thing with pork belly, and of course, ordered dessert.
The dessert menu is full of great options, but for some reason the Belgian waffle really called to me. This isn't the waffle that you make in that disgusting waffle maker in your college cafeteria (bad memories of TDR come back to any fellow AU grad?), this was a perfectly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside waffle, accompanied by mix of dried fruit and a nice scoop of cinnamin ice cream (almost as good as the best ice cream I've ever had, which was cinnamin ice cream in Vermont).
By the time the waffles were consumed and the check was paid, I didn't want to think about how much food I ate - I really didn't have to, I felt like I could have fallen asleep standing up from the food coma I was about to enter.
Wiedmaier has a good thing going at Beck. He's got an incredibly talented chef in David Ashwell, a great dining room, and a great location (11th and K ST NW). It's one thing to have guests saying "wow" when they walk into a restaurant, but what's important is to have them say it when they leave - after last night, I still can't stop staying it.