Recently Gabriele and I enjoyed a true dining experience at Brabo, a Belgian restaurant in Alexandria next to the Lorien Hotel and Spa. We have enjoyed their Tasting Room bar area next door a few times, but this was the first time in the restaurant itself.
We had a great meal. The appetizers were a strong start. I had gnocchi with duck, onions and mushrooms, which was delicious and not heavy at all. Gabriele likes grilled octopus and Brabo did it very well, with little neck clams in a delicious, olive oil based sauce.
Entrees were scallops and swordfish, and Gabriele thought they were some of the best scallops she’s had in a long time. Sides of beets with goat cheese and roasted brussels sprouts were also standout.
We chose the 2103 Sandhi Pinot Noir to accompany the meal. It was from the Santa Rita Hills area of California, which rarely lets us down for flavorful Pinot Noir. The wine had nice strawberry/raspberry fruit and a light body. There was a slight rose petal flavor, and it finished quick and clean. It was a bit of a steep markup but a very nice wine.
Gabriele is a Sauternes fan, and after dinner she had a glass of Chateau La Fleur d’Or 2011. It had enough acidity to be sweet without verging into stickiness. We also enjoyed something Brabo called a strawberry waffle, pretty self-explanatory and served with cream cheese ice cream and graham cracker crumble.
Our service was excellent as well, relaxed yet attentive. It would have been nice to have a few more wines available in the $45-65 range, with less of a markup. That said, Brabo delivers an outstanding dining experience.
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