Brasserie Beck is a new restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C. It’s getting a lot of talk and recently made Washingtonian magazine’s 100 very best restaurants list. The cuisine is Belgian and the location is out of the line-of-fire for downtown. Easy to get to – easy to deal with.

Atmosphere: It looks like a traditional Belgian restaurant – very authentic. Blue and white fabrics throughout with dark wood furniture and booths. Brass accents and tile floors. Very Flemish. It also had the relaxed European vibe; There didn’t seem to be much of a rush to do anything but enjoy the experience. We don’t do that here in the States, but, they do in Europe. It was a nice change of pace…

Food: We decided to eat light today because I tend to over-eat and because we both still needed to be productive for the rest of the day. So, instead of my usual steak selection, I opted for the Beef Carbonade. It was basically a gourmet version of beef stew and it was delicious. My seafood expert had the trout and she said it was perfect. We finished with a dessert trio of creme brulee, bourbon panna cotta and chocolate mousse. All delicious as well.

Service: The service very much matched the atmosphere. Very relaxed… very comfortable… very friendly. Our server didn’t have an edginess like many servers do because they’re hyper about how many tables they have/need to cover/need to turnover – whatever. He had general conversation with us and even shared some personal details related to the dishes we chose. Very competent, very professional. Just like the career waiters in Europe.

The final word for Brasserie Beck: They get an A. I can’t complain about anything. In fact, I want to commend them for capturing the essence of European dining in every way. And while the atmosphere was really nice, the service sealed the deal in this case. We, Americans treat being a server as a temporary station until something better comes along. In Europe, they treat being a waiter – and yes, they are perfectly fine with the term waiter – as an honorable career. It’s not a stepping stone, so, they give it 100%. That’s what we got at Brasserie Beck and whether it’s real or manufactured to match the atmosphere – it works for me.