Wednesday, December 28, 2005


HOW TO AVOID SIBLING RIVALRY: Poised to close on another chunk of real estate, Robert Wiedmaier , the chef and owner of Marcel's (2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-296-1166) , was wearing a hard hat when we called him last week to ask about his next project: Beck's , scheduled to open a year from now at 1101 K St. NW. As he was touring the site, the chef shared details of his forthcoming restaurant, intended to showcase Belgian cooking and affordable prices. The game plan calls for a gratin of endive, caramelized Brussels sprouts, pea soup with veal cheek meatballs and waterzooi , Belgium's classic creamy fish (or chicken) stew. Tabs for lunch, he estimates, will be $25 per person; for dinner, $50.

David Ashwell , chef de cuisine at Marcel's, has been asked to head up the new kitchen, which will also serve French comfort food. "I've always wanted to have a fun bistro," Wiedmaier says of opening a downtown location to supplement his restaurant in the West End. Plus, he says, fair is fair: Marcel's was named for the chef's first-born, now 7, and Beck's acknowledges his second son, who is 3 years old. We had to ask. "Two is plenty," he quickly volunteered -- no more kids and no more restaurants.

COMING ATTRACTION: Don't expect Peruvian cooking at the soon-to-open Lima (1401 K St. NW; 202-789-2800). The word is also Spanish for lime, an ingredient that will find its way into many of the dishes at the three-tiered restaurant, which is expected to open to the general public in early February, says its general manager, Daniel Hatem . At the stove: the Cuban-born Raynold Mendizabal-Betancourt , who most recently consulted at Ceviche in Silver Spring and plans to offer "Latin-inspired world cuisine," according to Hatem. Opening first for dinner and later for lunch as well, the 120-seat venue includes two bars and a deejay booth. Anticipate earth tones, "an organic look" and outsize panels of film on which various images of underwater and outdoor scenes will be projected.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company