Brasserie Beck and Marcel's
Robert Wiedmaier's Washington, D.C., restaurants present two distinct moods and one ultra-rewarding common theme.
Get ready for sumptuous sauces you will want to memorize―or, better, immortalize. Lest we gush, it's the sauces we remember from Robert Wiedmaier at both of his delectable restaurants in our Nation's Capital: Brasserie Beck, a bustling, Belgian-inspired bistro, serving day and night; and its dignified older sibling, Marcel's, where you sit up straighter and pay attention to every morsel. You'd never request a dish at either place without the sauce―it's not a mere add-on or cover-up.
Sauce is at the heart of marvels such as the duck confit at Beck: cooked 12 hours, picked from the bones, pan-seared, mounded on creamy potatoes, and finally topped with a sentence-stopping sauce, rich and robust from the deep essence of the duck. Complement it with any beer―from the list of 160 mostly Belgian brews―chosen by the beer sommelier (yes!).
During the three- to seven-course tasting menu at Marcel's, sauces prevail again: on a fillet of Dover sole, with an unexpected hint of vermouth. Or in a lingering riff of Cabernet reduction on the bison, encrusted with spices. The fare is not simple―but the memory is simply grand.
Brasserie Beck: 1101 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20005; www.beckdc.com or (202) 408-1717. Entrées from $19. Marcel's: 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20037; www.marcelsdc.com or (202) 296-1166. Tasting menus from $52. Both restaurants are open daily.
The chef, raised in Germany by parents from Belgium and California, studied in the Netherlands. Robert says, "If anything, I'm a saucier." At Brasserie Beck alone, he produces about 17 different sauces.