Brabo was one of my favorite dining experiences that I’ve had in DC that did not involve a magical “ethnic” sort of place without pretty women. What is interesting about the tasting room – not the regular restaurant which I have no real insight into – is that is manages to balance a clean, casual decor with food that really does touch the sort of finesse and plating that signals haute cuisine. It is rare to find a place with this sort of chic while being legitimately unintimidating.
When you walk in, the place decidedly sweats an open kitchen sort of thing. I recall there being a lot of white, and the cheeses of the day and the wines on the blackboard. The Riesling they had was a touch on the sweet side, but certainly a solid choice. I ordered their duck confit soup, with garlic croutons. This was pretty excellent – an improvement over chicken soup on par with the improvement that duck represents on chicken generally. Here, Brabo actually stays fairly true to a homey chicken soup – but the richness of adding duck comes through. LG’s mom ordered a beet salad which was excellent, especially with the goat cheese (that she preferred to not have on the salad but on the side since she claims to taste the goat – is that tin can?). For the entree I ordered a homemade bockwurst sausage with chili. The chili was surprisingly unmessy, really just spiced ground beef, and the sausage was solid average – good texture though taste could have been better. But the rest of the table split mussels with shallot and garlic. This was lovely, great smell and the mussels seem cooked well. The liquid and butter made a splendid pool to sop up with the bread they gave. Just a fun experience.