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September 7, 2010

Washington's Brasserie Beck could come to Baltimore

Belgian beerA regular reader of the blog who goes by FrankieSez e-mailed me to say that he'd had great food and drink recently at Brasserie Beck in Washington, and that he'd heard the restaurant might be opening a Baltimore location.
"I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by Brasserie Beck on (I think) K Street in DC (partially because I am a Belgian beer lunatic, partially because the food was insane)," he wrote. "Supposedly Brasserie Beck is taking space in the first floor retail portion of the Legg Mason Tower!"
I contacted the restaurant and heard back from Polly Wiedmaier, the wife of chef Robert Wiedmaier. She said expansion to Baltimore was "in the works," though she did not disclose a location or timetable.   

"We haven’t signed a lease and we’re looking at different locations," she e-mailed me. "Feel free to check back in the next few weeks."

The restaurant bills itself as a "contemporary Belgian brasserie with an exhibition kitchen." You can check out the menu online.

Until Brasserie Beck arrives, you can go to Wells Discount Liquors for these Belgian beers. Sun photo by Kim Hairston

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 2:46 PM | | Comments (25)


Here's to hoping that this brasserie makes it to Baltimore! I love Belgian beers, having knocked back Chimay and others while in Brussels and Brugge a few years back.

Hey! What happened to Der Kleine Duevel? Shouldn't we be more excited about that than a DC-transplant? I'll take them both, but I am more supportive of an entrepreneur gambling on Hampden.

Incy, last I checked with De Kleine Duivel's founder, they were weeks behind schedule, owing in part to the landlord needing to make repairs before renovations. I think they're also having problems (as with seemingly every project in Baltimore I speak with) in getting city inspectors to inspect and approve/issue permits. They're looking at a late October opening at the earliest, as of a couple days ago.

Hope BeckBaltimore finds a more accessible and parkable spot than Legg Mason.

I assume that they are referring to the new Legg Mason Building in Harbor East. If that is the case I think that it is very accessible and there is plenty of parking.

Elton, there are lots of places where you can sip Belgian beers in Baltimore! I love what Beck does, and I am stoked about having them in Be-More, but they are certainly not introducing Belgian beer to this beer-savvy town...heck, I was sipping Orval at Duda's as early as 1992...

(Captcha: actually included a Czech/Slovak "s" with diacritical - how do you get those?)

I hope there is a feather bowling lane.

Robert has not confirmed this. When i spoke to him last week there were no plans to expand in Baltimore- but hey, things change.
PS- Brewers Art and Max's have a large Belgian selection- check them out over Baltimores 2nd annual Beer Week

Volker, I don't think it's necessary to include the diacritic marks Captcha is throwing in lately. And you can always use the little scroll jobbie to ask for a different Captcha puzzle.

Thankš, Dahlink, figuřed out how to get the czech keyboard on the Mac...

Ate at BRABO (a Robert Wiedmaier restaurant in Old Town Alexandria) last weekend. The manager mentioned that they were opening a restaurant in Baltimore. Didn't press for details as to where or when, but would definitely eat there based on our experiences at BRABO and the BRABO Tasting Room.

The BRABO and BRABO Tasting Room are restaurants affiliated with the Lorien Hotel & Spa - one of the Kimpton hotels. Think of the Hotel Monaco in Balto with the B & O American Brasserie.

An alternative to Brewers Art is welcomed. BA's beer is good, but their food is average and their service is terrible.

Hey, Volkeř--pointš to you!

P.S. Tell Lila I said hi.

Hey, Volkeř--pointš to you!

P.S. Tell Lila I said hi.

Didn't mean to double-czech--first time I got a fail message.

Hey Rob,

Glad I could give you an opportunity to get a dig in on us. FWIW, what Beck does is a different concept from what we do. I loved Beck when I went in DC, and wish them the best in Baltimore.

As far as Brewer's Art, why don't you drop me a line and elaborate about poor food and service instead of making a broad accusation in a public forum?


Oh, and Dahlink - who should I tell Lila said hello? I suspect that "Dahlink" might not tell her much! ;^)

Volker, ask Lila to think back to jobs she had on campus before she decided to go to library school.

"Glad I could give you an opportunity to get a dig in on us."

:-) Hopefully you can accept compliments equally well.

I've eaten at BA several times and have yet to have a bad meal there. Sure, some have been better than others, but I always got the impression the BA kitchen was trying to put out a good product, and I appreciate the variety and innovation I've seen with the menu. I suppose I could come up with a few restaurant/brewpubs that do a better job than BA if I really thought about it, but my experience has been that they're really few and far between, with most bewpub kitchens relying on the tried and true pub grub formula (burgers, wings, wraps, etc - have not been to Becks, so I can't make a comparison, though I would point out that they are not a brewpub).

As for service, I suppose like anyplace, BA can have an off night from time to time.... and yes I've had what I felt was slow or distracted service on occasion. However, that's almost always happened on nights when the place was packed to the rafters (which is often). On the other hand, unlike a certain famous Belgian Beer bar I could name in Philly, I've never felt as if I suddenly obtained a new super power (invisibility) when sitting at the BA bar upstairs. Sorry, but when a place is so crowded that you can barely move in the bar area, I kind of expect that service is going to suffer a bit.

At least for me, I continue to consider BA one of the premier food and quality beer destinations in the city. Were it not for the location and chronic parking problem around there, I'd be a much more frequent visitor. However, I don't really feel as if I can give BA a hard time for something like that.

As for the comments from Rob... Even if you're not a fan of BA, I'm just not sure I understand why you'd slam a place that is clearly making an effort to do things right (innovative food menu, very good house made beer, reasonable prices). Just my two cents...

Let me guess, JohnM, the Philly bar is Eulogy? Service can be a bit slow there, but boy are the beers, mussels and frites worth it. I miss that place.

Dahlink, when I mentioned your hint and your nom-de-blogue, she guessed it immediately.

JohnM, thanks for the kind words. All I can say is we do the best that we can, which is all any of us can do, I guess.

I do take criticism very seriously, and I am actually glad when people take the time to bring an issue to the attention of the manager on duty, or to me or one of my partners in a phone call or in an email.

However, I suppose this takes effort. It is so much easier to make a dismissive general comment like "your food is awful" or "your beer is over-rated" in a forum like this...

@ theBeav

Have only been once to Eulogy, but had good service the night I went. Food was very good as well (a bit spendy, but what do you expect, given the location).

No, think of a somewhat older and more ecumenical beer bar out a bit closer to Rittenhouse Square. :-)

Loved Brasserie Beck when it first opened (at that time, 2 blocks from my office, 1 from my apartment), but found it to be crazy expensive, even for DC.
Not that it wasn't an outstanding experience, both food and service, but they definitely seemed to be marketing themselves for the K Street expense account crowd, and that's who was showing up there for the most part.
For a typical 90 minute post-work happy hour of drinks/shared appetizers, we rarely got out under $40-50 a person. Not sure how well those prices would go over here, in the land of $2 National Bohemian cans.

My understanding is the concept will be more like "Muscle Bar" the newest offering in Bethesda. This Weidemier outpost is more casual and less $$$
Should be good. must be talking about Monk's then, right?

Actually, I think another super power (besides invisibility) might be needed there. I heard a SEPTA bus crashed through the front of the place last month and did some major damage.

Yes, Monk's. You got it in two. :-)

Supposedly the damage has been pretty much completely repaired at this point. In fact, I don't think Monks was closed more than a few days (though I think they had to use a different entrance for a while).

Back in the day, I would put up with the poor service and high prices, simply because what they had on offer, I couldn't find any place else. Now almost everything you can find at Monks, at least among the Belgians, I can find just as easily at Max's, and generally for less money (and no attitude to go with it!).

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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