Brasserie Beck is back, and this time they’ve got an expansive cocktail menu that pairs with their many delicious dishes.
Anyone who’s a fan of mussels, oysters, steak frites or charcuterie knows Brasserie Beck is not to be missed. Part of Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s group of restaurants, Beck has occupied a spot on the corner of 11th and K Northwest for well over a decade. The events of 2020 caused the place to shutter, and while we cried into our collective Chimay Cinq Cents at the news, the closing was not permanent — the space reopened last year with an all-new staff and a refreshed approach to food and beverage.
Inside, you’ll find the same marble bar, the familiar blue-and-white wicker stools and the same fabulous butter, charcuterie and meats. Although the downtown offices aren’t as full as they used to be, the wide patio still attracts crowds and is now suited for private events.
A cornerstone of the refresh is the introduction of cocktails as a pair with food. This is something fine dining doesn’t often do: use distilled spirits to complement the food. In haute cuisine, the natural urge is to build a superlative wine list (often snubbing American wines in favor of “Old World” mainstays) and to leave beer and cocktails for patio seating or the happy-hour bar crowd. While Beck certainly does have a balanced and approachable wine list, you’ll find the cocktails are well suited for your lunch or dinner, too.
Leading the bar team is Danny Lledó, a self-taught mixologist with experience in both restaurant kitchens and in the frantic dark of nightclub bars.
“I’m used to mixing flavors and creating consistent food, so it helped me transition to being behind the bar,” Lledó says.
Six months on the job, Lledó’s created a seasonal cocktail menu that riffs on time-honored tipples while also using new ingredients to pair with what guests are eating.
“I work with the menu first, always checking what is new or in-season or what Chef is making,” he says, “and then I have fun with it.”
His cocktail menus aren’t static, either.
“I change them every few months, or when the weather changes.”
If you’re indulging in Beck’s seafood offerings (displayed at the end of the bar on a mountain of shaved ice) you might want to try Lledó’s Atlantic Boulevard, a strawberry basil-infused take on a margarita, topped with foamed sea salt and an edible violet garnish. The strawberries spend a fortnight steeping in the spirit, so it’s not super sweet — rounded, herbaceous and saline.
If you’re eyeing a savory dish from the menu, I’d recommend the Mon Coeur, a traditional pisco sour mixed with a Chilean Malbec. Savory and deep, the wine rounds out the pisco and also provides a lovely complement to their bread and to-die-for in-house butter. For dessert, don’t sleep on their espresso martini, a boozy combination of vodka, coconut rum, coffee liqueur, espresso and coconut syrup. A demilune of shaved coconut tops the sweet libation.
Despite such a long closure, the feel of Brasserie Beck remains the same. Armed with a refreshed wine list and the new meal-ready cocktails, it’s safe to say that Beck is back. If you haven’t been, rectify the situation immediately. It’s worth a visit.
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