Last night I had dinner at Brasserie Beck, one of the "hot" new places in DC. It opened in late April 2007, and has been doing very well. We arrived around 10pm I think, and there was an hour and a half wait for a table for 2! We got a drink at the bar - delicious cosmo - and then about 10 minutes later the host came and said he could seat us at a table for 2 in their "bistro" section - which is 3 tables just behind the host station and the bar. Actually it was a pretty good seat and great timing, thanks to the very friendly and hospitable host, Rick Nelson.
Our waiter, Rob, was very friendly, knowledgeable about both the dinner and beer menus, and good-looking to boot. We shared an Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad for an appetizer, which had the most delicious tiny halved potatoes sauteed in pesto - a wonderful idea I will copy in my own kitchen. For an entree I had the mussels cooked with white wine, butter and garlic. They were good but there was just too much garlic. They came with delicious crispy fries and a mayo/sauce trio, which included a garlic mayo, a curry mayo (similar to fries and curry that you might have in Ireland ~ brings back wonderful memories), and a tomato-brandy mayo. My fellow diner had the lamb shank, which was served with a sort of white bean stew. He did not care for the beans, but I thought they were delicious. I didn't try the lamb but apparently it fell right off the bone it was so tender.
After my cosmo I had a bottle of Leffe Blonde, and I know nothing of beer but it was good. My co-diner had a bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne, a Flemish ale, and then we split a bottle of St. Louis Framboise beer (raspberry beer). That was weird, and way too sweet for me. Well, to tell the truth, I ordered it with my meal, and then realized it really didn't go well with mussels and fries, so Rob (the waiter) offered to put the glass and bottle back in the fridge until after I was done eating. Thank you Rob! That was a nice touch.
The women's restroom was very nice. Clean, with great black and white geometric wallpaper, and really modern black and white sinks. The sinks were very shallow but amazingly didn't splash! I love the stall doors, which actually closed each stall from ceiling to floor. But the best part is the little sign that changes when the door is either open or locked. For unlocked, it reads "Vacant" and for locked, it reads "Engaged" - how great is that? The towels were of such a high-quality paper they almost seemed like cloth, and they were printed with the Beck logo. I like those towels but they are a huge waste of resources. The doors to leave the bathroom and to leave the little hallway outside of the bathrooms were both push-out, which is great because you don't have to dirty your hands right after you wash them. And on a later trip to the restroom, I noticed that the wastebasket had been emptied of all towel waste, so there wasn't an overflowing volcano of dirty towels. The only suggestion I'd have for the bathroom is no more pink soap. It makes me think of McDonald's.
All in all I would return, although I think it's a good idea to have a reservation, especially on a weekend night. I would definitely order the fries again, they really were delicious. And there are many other traditional Belgian menu items that peaked my curiosity. I think the waiters are able to help you choose something if you're not familiar with the dishes. And I didn't try this either, but the raw bar looked great.
NOW - my note on Trader Joe's - just an update... I tried the Calabacita and Cheese quesadilla (they are meatless) and they are really delicious. That's it.