Tethered to the well-heeled crowd's Lorien Hotel and Spa in Old Town Alexandria, Brabo Tasting Room has debuted with delectable food at bargain basement prices (approximately $14 a dish).
We began the evening with the cheese board and the charcuterie platter. The cheese board -- comprised of six different cheeses and three marmalades -- ranged from Saint Nectaire from France to herbed goat cheese from Pennsylvania. All were fresh and were wonderfully complemented by the Membrillo (quince jam), caramelized onions and a vinegary shallot-based mixture.
The artisanal bread, warmed in the exposed wood-fired hearth, absorbed the cheese gently. The five of us finished off seven baskets throughout the course of the evening, a rare feat when we usually expect free bread to be stale and tasteless.
The charcuterie platter arrived with various pickles and six different meats, arranged in overlapping mounds of gastronomic promise. Sliced thinly, each was hearty yet not overly filling.
Wood-fired tarts arrived piping hot on a bed of crisp, airy dough. We tried the duck confit, roasted garlic and grilled radicchio; and the mussels, bacon, caramelized onions and Béchamel sauce. Both were outstanding.
The only hitch to this entire operation is the strict no reservations/walk-ins only policy. But our wait on a Friday night at 8:30 p.m. was a mere 25 minutes.
Brabo Tasting Room
1600 King St.