Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Bedford

When I think of a restaurant that takes it's inspiration from the supper clubs of the 1940's, a bank vault never enters into my mind.  However, a bank vault is a key design element of the dining area of The Bedford, a supper club inspired restaurant built in a former bank basement with the bank vault (including safe deposit boxes) as a private dining area.  While the restaurant itself is underground, it does have to have a footprint on ground level.  This consists of a picture window with The Bedford etched on it and a door which opens to a landing with a sign directing people down the stairs that are there.  The stairs lead down to the lounge and dining areas which are done with a lot of marble and steel (as might be expected of a former bank area).  There is also a lot of brass trim from the trim on the vault door and the safe deposit boxes both in the vault and in the room that is now the lounge area.  The seating consists of the large bar itself with several hi-top tables and large semi-circular booths against the walls in the lounge.  The vault is set up like a 1960's lounge area with couches and and low tables.  While you could eat in here, it seems more an area for meeting and having a party.  The main dining room reminded me somewhat of a diner with a checkerboard (marble) tile pattern on the floor and 2 and 4 top tables with vinyl seat covers.  The walls were drywall or plaster and had pictures of what could be thought of as 1960's suburban life.  This is the room where I was seated.  There is another private dining area which I imagine is in the 1960's style, but I did not see it.  Not only does The Bedford look like an old-style supper club, the food that they serve there also is of the same style that you might find in a supper club, simple food presented simply, but prepared very well.  For my appetizer, I ordered there Calimari.  It was served with a Bell Pepper Agrodolce (an Italian sweet and sour sauce), Herbs, and a Tomato Aioli.  While I like calamari, they are frequently overcooked and take on a rubbery texture.  The calamari that I had here were were among the best that I have ever had.  They were lightly battered with a tempura-like batter and the calamari themselves were melt in your mouth tender.  The agrodolce provided a nice tang and the aioli provided some  creaminess.  Color was provided by both.  Calamari is generally a pretty simple dish but in order to make a simple dish really good, it has to be prepared exceptionally well.  This dish scored on all counts.  It was simple, very accessible, and tasted really good.  For me an appetizer is supposed to work like an opening band at a concert, it is supposed to get you ready for the main event, in this case, my entree.  After having the calamari, I can honestly say that I was really looking forward to my main course.

For my main course, I had Roast Chicken.  This was another simple dish presented simply and without any surprising elements to it.  It consisted of a couple of sliced chicken breasts with Glazed Baby Carrots and Turnips and served with a Cider Maple Jus.  The chicken was tender. flavorful, and cooked perfectly.  The carrots and turnips were not cooked to mush and still had some crunch to them.  The glaze provided an added sweetness to the natural sweetness of these root vegetables and the jus was both savory and tart so this had a sweet and sour flavor to it as well.

The dessert choice for the Restaurant Week menu was very small.  As a matter of fact, there was a choice of one item but it was a classic and I very well may have chosen it in any case.  It was called The Bedford Brownie and it consisted of a Chocolate Brownie topped with Black Dog Gelato (Cherry), Whipped Cream, a Black Cherry, Butterscotch, Almonds, and was surrounded with a "moat" of Hot Fudge.  It was sweet, classic, and one of those things that you could eat at any time.

I really enjoyed my dinner here.  The setting, if thought about, seems a little odd, and while on the surface it might seem that the menu that they are serving sounds standard and simple.  In order to do standard and simple well, it has to be prepared and served perfectly which they do.  The food is very accessible so it would be easy to invite friends that are a little timid to try new things.  In any case, this is a place that I will definitely come back to.

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