On the edge of downtown Washington, Brasserie Beck sports an open kitchen and hails its "soaring urban space" with a super-high ceiling. Robert Wiedmaier, chef of this French-Belgian restaurant, has plenty of credentials to tout.
I ate there for the first time last week. The food was excellent — as I hoped, the frites were marvelous. I ordered the lamb shank with white beans, and it was done with precision. The lamb was tender, virtually falling off the bone. The beans were equally perfect, soft but not mushy. Both the wine and the beer list are ample, without being encyclopedic.
The restaurant's bar looks nice, but even if you're not hanging out there, you sure feel like you are because the bar clatter echoes throughout Brasserie Beck. This yet another restaurant that seems not to have given much thought to any reasonable efforts to minimize noise (fabric on walls, a few strategically placed rugs, etc.).
The food is good enough to tolerate the racket from the bar area, but ask for a table as far from the bar as you can — that is, assuming you want to be able to hear what your dining companion is saying.