Friday, December 16, 2011

Well, that was better, way better....

The other day I wrote about a meal I had out that was disappointing. Last night I had a business dinner that more than made up for it. The restaurant is called Brabo and is located in Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. There were 24 in our party, so they prepared a limited menu offering especially for us. I understand why restaurants do this for large parties but it seems there is always something on the full menu that I want that isn't on the limited menu.

The executive chef/owner of Brabo is chef Robert Weidmaier who is originally from Belgium but has been in the Washington, DC food scene for quite some time. More about him here. Since I hadn't been there before, I of course checked out the menu online in advance. My first impression was that is was pretty basic, but that there was a broad enough selection to suit most tastes. Turns out, I grossly underestimated what I was looking at online.

The first hint that I got that I was in for a good night was the beer selections. Not a overly large number but,clearly someone spent some time building the list. I settled on what turned out to be a very good Belgian ale (why not, if the chef had roots there....) called Urthel Hop-it. It was very hoppy as the name should imply but with that distinctive back note of fruitiness so common in beers from Belgium. At 9.5% alcohol by volume, it was not meant to be messed with. One before dinner and one with thank you very much.

Our choices of appetizer were arugula & frissee salad with balsamic shallots, parmesan cheese and sherry vinaigrette, a veloute of roasted chestnuts served over a small duck confit ravioli and lardons of bacon or seared Maine scallops with squid ink polenta and broccoli rapini. In a moments of less than clear lucidity, I orderd the salad, which was actually wonderful. However, the person next to me had the veloute and raved about it. On the other side of me were the scallops, and although they are not my favorite seafood, he had everything he could do to not lick the plate clean. He did however, sop up every last morsel with the house made bread.

Our main offerings were roasted northern rockfish with potato gnocchi, oyster mushrooms and baby broccoli, roasted Amish chicken breast with cippolini onions and honey glazed carrots or a Fell's Point Bistro filet with Belgian frites and a green peppercorn sauce. I opted for the rockfish since it from local waters - and I wasn't disappointed. The fish itself was cut and cooked to perfection. The potato gnocchi were a nice surprise but didn't overwhelm the fish at all (I secretly wanted more) and the mushrooms and broccoli were cooked to just the right texture. Others had the chicken or the filet - everyone seemed happy, but I think the fish was the right choice.

Finally, there were three desserts offered but, since if you are following along you know that dessert isn't my thing, I didn't really pay a lot of attention. I had ordered one of them to be polite and took a few bites of something very chocolatey - it tasted very good. I can hear the dessert lovers screaming right now, sorry.

All in all a wonderful meal. I will go back sometime and look forward to having access to the full menu offering. There's a braised pork shank I have my eye on......

It should be noted that two doors down from Brabo is Brabo Tasting Room, a smaller and less formal bistro spot with what looks like a wonderful menu also.

Sorry there are no photos, it was a business dinner and I didn't know if others would like me flashing pictures while we ate.

Update: Thanks to my work colleague Shawn, I now have a picture of the rockfish. Guess she was less inhibited than me. Thanks Shawn!
Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier on Urbanspoon


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1 comment:

  1. I agree, dinner was superb. Had the filet, but probably would have been just as satisfied with the bread and butter. (the butter had these salt crystals on top that made it particularly yummy!)


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