Brasserie Beck Opening Soon

Posted April 18, 2007 at 4:54pm

When chef Robert Wiedmaier opens his second restaurant, Brasserie Beck, sometime next week at 1101 K St. NW, the scene will be quite different from that of its older sibling. [IMGCAP(1)]

While Marcel’s, the Foggy Bottom restaurant Wiedmaier named for his first son in 1999, is all lace, soft draperies, low lighting and white table cloths, Beck will offer a more boisterous setting, with tall exposed ceilings, steel and tile accents and clocks that hark back to mid-century train stations. The chef’s second son, the 4-year-old Beck, loans his name to this new venture.

The menu also will be more casual, offering Wiedmaier’s Flemish-influenced French cuisine. Look for the brasserie favorites, like mussels and double-dipped fries, as well as dishes such as skate wing, rabbit with kriek beer, choucroute en croute and coq au vin.

The main bar, with more than 20 seats, will pour a selection of more than 50 beers — including Beck’s, to avoid the most anticipated and obvious question, Wiedmaier says.

Guests also can dine at a smaller, separate raw bar offering up a variety of oysters and seafood.

Brasserie Beck plans to stay open during that twilight zone between lunch and dinner, when all too many downtown establishments close up shop. Free wireless Internet will entice the working crowd. And for the season of political fundraising, Beck offers two private dining rooms, which together can accommodate 100 guests, with state-of-the-art audio visual components.

Comparing Kobe. If you dine in steakhouses on a regular basis, chances are you’re familiar with Kobe beef, a designation that has been popping up on menus with increasing frequency. But is what you ordered real Kobe beef? And if not, is that really such a bad thing?

Thanks to casual usage of the word Kobe and a politically thorny ban on Japanese beef, the subject remains murky to most diners. In a nutshell, Kobe refers to the prized, highly marbled meat from Japan’s Wagyu cattle, which are raised according to a strict regimen, including massages and a rich diet. Wagyu cattle also are raised in other parts of the world, the United States included, and the meat is sometimes labeled Kobe on menus.

Still confused? Charlie Palmer Steak’s executive chef, Bryan Voltaggio, is hoping to shed some light on the beefy issue. He has added a tasting of Wagyu beef to the menu, allowing diners to see for themselves how the different meats stack up. The sampler offers 3-ounce portions of Japanese Kogoshima Kobe, Australian Kobe and American Kobe from Snake River Farms in Idaho. Japanese beef just recently has begun returning to menus, after the ban was lifted in late 2005. It was prompted, as was a Japanese ban of U.S. beef, by incidents of mad cow disease.

No matter where the coveted beef comes from, it doesn’t come cheap. Wagyu regularly fetches upward of $20 an ounce. Charlie Palmer Steak’s sampler will set you back $85.

Box It Up. Inspired by the numerous warm weather events scheduled around the U.S. Navy Memorial, Francesco Ricchi and Enzo Febbraro, the chef-owners of D’Acqua, are now offering an $8 boxed lunch, which includes a prosciutto, mozzarella and arugula panini, homemade potato chips and fruit. An additional $1.50 buys a special seasonal dessert.

D’Acqua is located right next to the memorial at 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

To order a box lunch, call 202-783-7717. On days when an event is being held at the memorial, the lunches will be ready for immediate pickup. Check navymemorial.org for a schedule of events.

Mommy Dearest. Have a recipe from mom that you swear by? Or maybe you’re the mom with the crowd-pleasing recipe file? The Omni Shoreham Hotel is holding a Mother’s Day recipe contest through May 1. The local winning mom gets her recipe on the hotel’s Mother’s Day brunch menu, at which she’ll be a guest of honor, in addition to a free weekend stay.

To enter the recipe contest, send recipes to cltaylor@omnihotels.com. Entries must include the participant’s name and contact information, the name of the recipe, a list of ingredients, instructions on how to make the recipe and a brief explanation of why it’s a family favorite in 200 words or less.