The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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Page 80 of 136

80  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2014 AT BRABO TASTING ROOM, CHEF HARPER MCCLURE TAKES ON ALL COMERS Slaying Giants I n the open-air kitchen at Brabo Tasting Room (BTR), the adjacent stainless steel–countered wine bar and tiled wood-burning oven lend the casual nuance that makes this destination spot so desirable. Flanked by the entrance to Kimpton's Lorien Hotel in historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, Brabo Tasting Room and its more "grown-up" and formal sibling, Brabo, are two of Chef Robert Wiedmaier's foodie-coveted dining spots. The restaurants are named for a mythical hero who once slayed a giant in Antwerp, the Belgian city where Wiedmaier's father was born. It was at Brabo Tasting Room that we were able to settle into a comfy lunch of wood-fired tarts (think pizza with a crunchier crust), Chef Robert's signature mussels in broth and a salad of tomatoes and burrata that was so fresh, its tart-and-sweet textures and flavors continue to reverberate in my palate memory. With its dual personality, Brabo can attract discerning tastes at either door. Having an approachable, easy-going eatery next door to a more serious venue is not necessarily a new idea, but BTR, with the versatility of its food and drink lists, offers locals and travelers the option to accom- modate their appetite mood at lunch or dinner. There's much from which to choose, with every ingredient In Old Town Alexandria, VA, Chef Harper McClure brandishes his weapon . . . er, cutting tool of choice, his Misono knife, made from Swedish carbon steel. "This thin blade gets really sharp and doesn't stick to food," he says. "It's made for tuna and raw fish." by Meridith May / photos by Rashmi Pappu PREP

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