Pressure Cooker: Brasserie Beck

No one is a bigger fan of Living Social and Groupon (and What’s the Deal and Bloomspot and so on–new fave: Scoutmob) than I am.  But a new sense of panic sets in as these deals are about to expire.  Not “Oh, I’m about to eat the price of this deal,” it’s “Oh, the waiters are going to be so mean.”

The Living Social deal to Brasserie Beck ($30 for $60) expires in two weeks, and already the service has gone from friendly to almost antagonistic.

On sitting down after the dinner rush on a Sunday evening, I sat at a bare table for a while before a waiter arrived to distribute the cloth napkins and heavy flatware.  “I’ll be right back,” he said, about to rush off again.  “Can we get some waters?” I sweetly requested, almost Snow White-like in my meekness.  “I’ll be.  Right.  Back,” came the response over an already turned shoulder.

OK.  No one wants his waiter to hate him, for obvious reasons, so it’s best not to rise to the occasion…on these occasions.  But the advent of a Living Social deal expiring sets everyone on edge, even when the place isn’t especially busy.  Later, this waiter simmered down and confided that there are thousands of deals not yet redeemed, and only two weeks until the deadline.  He had the despair of one who knows he hasn’t seen the worst of it yet.  No, not by a long shot.

This is all a bit of a bummer, since Brasserie Beck is an excellent restaurant with a prime location at K and 11th Streets, NW.  Perfect for an after work drink and a bite, their half-price Belgian beers happy hour hits the spot.  From 5-7 every day, you can sit at the bar and watch some quaint European sporting event on the three TV screens stylishly set above the top shelf liquor, or watch the staff ice down the restaurant’s famous seafood selection, all while enjoying half-off your choice of draft beers (an enviable selection) or the house red or white on special).

The food is delectable.  I could be happy with just one of the wonderfully savory dishes of mussels and some fresh bread, but the menu extends to other European classics.  Fennel and shallots and ingredients you don’t often find or use abound.  I especially enjoyed the pickled baby ferns that accompany the charcuterie plate, along with pancetta that melts in the mouth.

I was looking forward to the half-off deal allowing me to sample the entrees, but in the moment, I decided to spring for a bottle of bubbly instead.  What’s all this stress about crowds and expirations about anyway?  If you can use your deals before the last minute, great.  If you can’t, best to have some Champagne and make the best of it.

UPDATE:  In the vein of their characteristically good customer service, the management is making an effort to improve service in these, the hallowed last days of a Living Social deal.  Kudos to Brasserie Beck for not only exemplary food, but distinctly purposeful commitment to improvement.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Yacine Tazi says:

    i would really like to know what’s the name of that server so that i can fix the issue and make sure it never happens again; please e-mail me directly at

    1. Hi Yacine,
      I appreciate your concern, but I’d rather not give the server’s name. The service certainly picked up once the crowd thinned out, but yes, it’s an issue I’ve encountered at several other restaurants as their deals are about to expire.

  2. jkc says:

    sounds like a good place. will have to check out sometime!

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