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Chef's Table at Brasserie Beck?

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caphil07 Sep 13, 2007 10:53 AM

I saw on the BB website that they have a chef's table and am thinking about getting a group of people together to go for a friends surprise birthday dinner but as always, I wanted to consult chowhound.com before I set it up. Can anyone who has done this before tell me a little bit more about what to expect/if it is worth it? Any feedback you have would be helpful. Thanks in advance!

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    Elyssa RE: caphil07 Sep 13, 2007 12:04 PM

    I was there with a group of 13 people on Monday. We sat AT the chef's table but didn't participate in the actual chef's table menu. Not sure if this helps but the service was great as well as the view of the kitchen.

    I had the mussels which were excellent. And I'm in love with their frites. (Almost as good at Poste's). I would love to return and have the actual chef's menu though (or just a dinner with less people where the focus can be more on the food ) so I would be interesting in hearing about people's experiences.

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      Night Owl RE: caphil07 Sep 14, 2007 07:39 AM

      I went there with friends but, like Elyssa, didn't do the chef's menu. Was there with friends of the chef, Robert W, and he decided what we were served over the course of the night, plus we ordered a few things we wanted ourselves. The seafood plateau was excellent, as were the frites. Just about everything we had was pretty good, with the exception of a dish that I think is no longer on the menu (an interpretation of choucroute with puff pastry, disaster).

      All in all, I think it's worth it with a great group of friends. Fun food, not fussy, great view of everything going on in the kitchen in a restaurant that's a great space to be in.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Night Owl
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        schmirtl RE: Night Owl Mar 18, 2008 04:58 PM

        Will be going to Brasserie Beck chef's table in a few days...so this is a preliminary report. So far, we are all annoyed. (There is a minimum of 8 people for the Beck Chef's Table.) Most of us have dined at chef's tables before in DC and outside at some very well-known restaurants. We have never had an experience like this, and I am sorry to say it has not been good. Our experiences with Beck individually otherwise HAVE been good - we love the beer selection, food's been great, so we thought we'd do something special and try the Chef's Table...

        Chief complaints:
        - We had to guarantee the table with $100 - and assured this is "normal" practice at Chef's Tables. Not in our experience, it's not. But ok, we could live with that were it not for the fact that...
        - When we get the special "Chef's Table Menu" (for which we would be paying $85 a person without wine or beer pairings - those cost an extra $25-35), it consists entirely of things off the regular menu. So what, exactly, am I getting at the Chef's Table other than an apparently more expensive seat? I could order off the regular menu and get this stuff, ask the appropriate sommelier for wine or beer recs, and have the same experience. (For the same price, by the way.) Or I could go some night when the Chef's Table's not booked and get seated at it anyway for the view (which many others posting here apparently have experienced). Other Chef's Table experiences we have had have featured unusual or special dishes that are not on the regular menu. My most memorable experience (at Commander's Palace in New Orleans) included COMPLETELY different dishes - none of which were on the regular menu - for each diner at the table. Special requests (not given beforehand) were honored. It is now the bar by which I judge all other Chef's Tables.
        - We inquired as to whether or not some of us could order off the regular menu, since that's essentially what we would be doing anyway. We were told "no problem" as long as the total party expenditures reached $800. A few weeks later, we received two more Chef's Table menus - $10 more expensive per head - which now have slightly different offerings from the regular menu, but still fairly vanilla. We have recently learned that in fact, they can't handle the idea that we might all order something different - we either ALL have to order off the regular menu, or all of the Chef's Table menus. I can only guess this is so they can order the appropriate amounts of components, which would make sense if the items on the special "Chef's Table" menus were quite different from what's on the regular menu, but of course, they are not.
        - My husband has said it sort of feels like we're booking food for a wedding at a local country club...which would totally make sense if we had a particularly large party or a complex menu. But we don't. I just don't get it.

        We are determined to go into this with a good attitude and be prepared to be pleased, despite the vastly over-complicated process that has preceded it. Will report back on how it was. We have all decided to order off the regular menu.

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        Dakota Guy RE: caphil07 Mar 19, 2008 06:47 AM

        It's just food of fthe regular menu but in a noisy and very busy location. Definitely not an inviting concept. You are far better off just reserving a regular table for 8 and treating it like the very good Brasserie that it is rather than as a fine dining destination (which it is not).

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        1. re: Dakota Guy
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          schmirtl RE: Dakota Guy Mar 23, 2008 06:42 AM

          Reporting back after Beck Chef's Table:
          Sadly, yes, our experience confirms what you wrote, Dakota Guy. The restaurant advertises it on their menu like it is something different, and special, but in fact, you are paying to sit closer to the kitchen, and that is all you get...that and a zillion emails from their 'event planner' who seems not to understand that you are just booking a table, nothing more complicated. While the food is good, this is not a chef's table, as evidenced by the fact that neither the executive chef nor sous chef could be bothered to walk a few feet and ask us how our meal was, chat with us, anything, even long after dinner rush was over. In fact, some people sit with their backs to the kitchen, so whatever there is to see will not be seen by them. We had one server for the whole party who was engaging and helpful, but clearly not prepared to handle a table of 10, and the sommelier, who helped us pick out our drinks. This did not remotely approach the experiences I've had at other Chef's Tables. I would not recommend it at all. You are far better off going and experiencing the food and beers as a regular ol' customer.

          1. re: schmirtl
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            schmirtl RE: schmirtl Apr 10, 2008 06:38 PM

            I'm amending the above post regarding our experience with the booking process. The problem was not the event planner, but the number of interactions required for the booking.

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