Bedford & Co: Midtown Gets Arty (And World-Class Modern American Grub)!

I first discovered Bedford & Co. quite accidentally when I got invited to the Historic Hotels Of America press luncheon there. Inside the historic Hotel Renwick at 118 East 40th Street–which is a member of the Hilton Curios Group and once home to F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck and other famous writers–this dimly lit restaurant has a loft look with minimalist seating including black leather banquettes. There is repurposed wood paneling on both the walls and the ceilings. There is a long bar with the cutest lounge area in all in of midtown Manhattan right in front of it, not far from the check in desk. The lounge features Warhol art including one of his famous lithographs of Debbie Harry, arty black and white photographs and a cool faux zebra throw rug. The crowd is a young one and many sit and eat at the wood bar.

To make a long story short, I was so impressed by the buratta that I had at the Historic Hotels Of America luncheon that I had to go back and order it at dinner last night. As you can see from the photo above, Chef John DeLucie–famous for making the Waverly Inn and The Lion culinary sensations–knows his artisanal cheese and I do not think you could even find buratta this good in Italy, LOL! It comes with homemade hazelnut crisps, coal charred figs and Saba and the soft center of the buratta is oh-so-fresh and creamy.

I had to try the highly heralded Crispy Artichokes which are cooked on a wood grill with olive oil and served with fresh anchovy aioli. These were beautiful large artichokes with the stems attached and they had just a hint of garlic and were served with a tiny bit of mixed greens. They were very filling, delicious and nutritious. The hearts were tender and could be cut with a fork.

My dining partner/friend Joyce and I then moved on to sharing Long Island Duck Breast which was about a six to seven ounce portion that was done on the rare side as requested. It came served like a work of modern art on a plate, on top of a couple of tablespoons of local honey and topped with cranberries and ginger scallions. It was a colorful and succulent dish and Joyce made sure she saved some so she could experience the same “duck ecstasy” the next night at home!

I am one of New York’s biggest red meat eaters (well, I let myself have it two or three times per week), so I just had to order the Prime Hanger Steak served with market greens with a lovely light vinaigrette, Bernaise sauce and golden fries with fresh herbs. This was a large piece of meat (about 12 ounces) that was brushed with olive oil with chopped garlic and fresh rosemary before being cooked on an Argentinian style wood grill. I would highly recommend this as it is such a beautifully marbled piece of meat with a lot of flavor.

I also fell in love with the side of Brussels Sprouts that Joyce and I ordered to share with our entrees. The bacon is sautéed with OVOO, apple cider and mustard seeds and featured large chunks of incited bacon that are tender and juicy. It was a large portion served in a cast iron skillet. I probably could eat the Brussel Sprouts alone and be full and satisfied without ordering an entree!

The Roasted Shishitos are done in a grill with OVOO and citrus sea salt and are so tender that you can even eat the stems! They were quite tender and tasty to be perfectly honest. Like the Brussels Sprouts, they are served in a black cast iron skillet that helps keeps them hot for at least 20 minutes. This again is a huge portion–probably three cups of peppers were used. These peppers suddenly became hugely popular a year or two ago and these are truly the simplest and finest way to serve them. The peppers are locally sourced and organic.

My friend Joyce and I have big sweet tooth’s and I remembered how wonderful the carrot cake was that I ordered at the Historic Hotels press lunch was, so I had to order it again at dinner last night. It is served with homemade vanilla gelato with sits in a bed of the same toasted coconut flakes that is featured at the side of this high layer cake. The carrot cake itself is not overly sweet but is extra moist with a large quantity of walnuts scattered throughout. The cream cheese icing is the traditional recipe but the bourbon caramel sauce adds a remarkably fresh twist.

We also shared the Rye Brownie which actually was topped with vanilla gelato, sea salt, candies walnuts and Lucas’s cherries. The brownie was super moist and still warm from the oven. The rye flavor was subtle and the candies cherries were a beautiful and moist treat that blended deliciously with the gelato and were not overly sweet as most candies fruits are.

The service is warm and attentive here and you are never waiting very long for your food. Our appetizers came out less than ten minutes after we ordered them. Bedford & Co. gets very crowded quickly at night, so be sure to make a reservation unless you do not mind sitting at the bar or in the cute aformentioned lounge area. There is a brunch special on weekends that is hugely popular and truly great bang for the buck (it includes bottomless drinks like wood-fired Bloody Marys, bellinis and mimosas for only $29). For more info, go to www.bedfordandco.com. This restaurant welcomes family although it often seems to have a young single after work crowd.

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