Bedford Post

954 Old Post Road
Bedford, NY 10506

5 Second Summary:
Price Range- Dinner entrees range from $13-32 (at time of posting)
Ambiance- The Barn is casual elegant.  The Farmhouse is more formal.
Cuisine- New American and bakery
Hits- Our dishes were technically proficient, hearty, and extremely flavorful.  Highlights not to be missed include the Tunisian chickpea stew, spicy sausage orecchiette, Brussels sprouts side, Johnboy’s chicken, steak frites aioli, and ricotta pound cake.
Misses- The menu is a bit limited, but on the flip side, what is done is done exceedingly well.

Hastily overlooking the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week fine print, my husband Rich and I met our friends Liz and Brian for a “great-food-good-deal” type of dinner.  Okay, so Bedford Post is only offering a HVRW menu for lunch, but that didn’t stop us from loving Bedford Post.  Although the price was more than we anticipated, we found our dinner to be well worth the price of admission.

We started off with a shared pasta: house made orechiette (ear-shaped pasta) with spicy pork sausage ground into a paste, tender bits of cauliflower, and clean-tasting rosemary.  First of all, there is nothing like homemade pasta (sorry Barilla).  This orechiette was gorgeously al dente.  So the first thing you noticed was mouthfeel: a great bite.  Next, there was a slow heat- presumably from the ground sausage, which seemed ingenious as a paste rather than in chunks.  I think that bites of traditional sausage might have taken away, texturally, from the pasta; as conceptualized, the dish was rich and flavorful, and it placed the house made pasta front and center: the star of the show.  Flavor-wise, the sausage gave spiciness first, then the cauliflower gave a meatiness, and finally the rosemary gave a clean finish.  Bravo!

We also shared the macaroni (elbow pasta) with creamy white cheddar.  It was well-received around the table.

I simply couldn’t resist the Tunisian chickpea stew, which turned out to be one of my favorite dishes.  Overall, it had a beautiful balance: savory, meaty, umami-ish.  A basic broth surrounded tender chickpeas, garnished with a slice of lemon, a poached egg, black olives, capers, and a harisa-style red chili paste.  I thought something was vaguely citrusy, but perhaps it was my sensitivity to the capers, or maybe a squeeze of lemon…? The waitress informed me that what I’m calling harisa (traditionally red chili, olive oil, garlic, salt, caraway, coriander) was actually a house made Calabrian chili paste.  Since Tunisia and Calabria are about 200 miles apart (as the crow flies, over the Mediterranean Sea), I’m going to make the wild-and-crazy assertion that Calabrian chili paste would likely have similar flavors as Tunisian chili paste.  Either way, there was such depth of flavor to this incredible dish.

Liz had the John Boy’s Farm chicken, a local purveyor I know and love from our experiences at Crabtree’s Kittle House.  It never fails to be juicy, tender, and all-out fabulous comfort food.  Served with roasted potatoes, rosemary, and green olives, this is a go-to dish that you couldn’t possibly get wrong.  The skin is crisp, just fatty enough to be flavorful, beautifully seasoned, and yet the meat has its own distinctive au jus flavoring.  Seeing John Boy’s chicken on a menu affirms, for me, a chef’s commitment to local and ethical ingredients.

Rich, who couldn’t decide between the two fish entrees and was feeling playful, asked our waitress to surprise him.  He wound up with an impressive, juicy striped bass in a spiced tomato broth and topped with mussels.  The pure-ocean flavor of the bass further convinced me of Chef Jeremy McMillan’s affinity for higher-end proteins.

Brian and I both opted for the steak frites.  I ordered my skirt steak medium-rare.  When it came out (pretty dark, as you can see below), I got a little nervous.  It looked more like medium-well to me.  I braced myself, bit, and… breathed a huge sigh of relief.  The meat had a STRONG, sweet balsamic flavor.  Clearly, the chef had tenderized this tough cut in vinegar, which gave it a darker hue; however, it was a perfectly medium-rare tender with a nice char on the outside.  The thin fries were good… I could’ve taken or left them.  The aioli, however, was a whole other story.  Cream and garlic…? Oh heavens! I could’ve gone all “Frank’s Red Hot” and “put that ___ on everything!” Seriously, folks, I would’ve spread that aioli on anything that wasn’t nailed down.  It could make a piece of wood taste good.  If I weren’t too embarrassed, I probably would’ve asked the waitress to put it in a container for me.  (I didn’t.)

We also ordered a side of Brussels sprouts with chili, garlic, and lemon.  Trust me- these are not your Momma’s Brussels sprouts! For starters, unlike the soggy, brownish mini-cabbages of school cafeteria nightmares, these sprouts had a gorgeous green color and a caramel-crisp exterior.  Once again, deep, deep flavor, this time soaked in oily goodness.

We hesitated on dessert, but that hesitation lasted about fifteen seconds.  The peanut butter mousse was a house made chocolate gelato topped with a creamy peanut butter-white chocolate mousse and topped with a chip of sweet nut brittle.  While chocolate and peanut butter have been an “item” since Harry Reese of Hershey, Pennsylvania quit his dairy farm to open a candy business in 1928 (maybe even before then), this dish plays with the concept just enough to be simultaneously whimsical and yet reverent to the flavor pairing’s tradition.  I loved the temperature change (icy cold gelato and less-cold mousse).  I truly enjoyed the flavors, and the texture (creamy, creamy-foamy, crisp) was also playful.

What I didn’t expect to fall in love with was the ricotta pound cake with Meyer lemon curd.  I don’t loooove lemon.  I don’t even really like lemon.  (Lemon Meringue -that little tart!- was my least favorite Strawberry Shortcake character.)  But this… oh my, this was something special.  Light, airy, creamy cake… sweet and just-slightly-sour-lemony custard… toasted almond slivers with a lemony coating… it took every ounce of self-control I possessed not to snatch the plate away from Liz (it was her dessert), shove my face into it, and make nom-nom-nom sound effects like Cookie Monster attacking a plate of Chips Ahoy.  It was so flavorful and yet so light.  Once again, nice colors, great play on texture (spongy, liquidy custard, crunchy candied almonds) , and flavors that were just down-home delicious.  I stand corrected on the whole lemon issue.  This dessert changed my mind about lemons.

I was so unexpectedly impressed by Bedford Post.  We didn’t have one bad dish… not even one middling dish.  Although the menu items do tend to “play it safe” with standard-ish favorites, Bedford Post is refined and yet hearty.  I can’t help but be impressed by the ingredients, the execution, the deeply developed flavors, and the sheer number of house-made components.

We also had pretty great service.  Our waitress was knowledgeable about each dish’s preparation and encouraged us to try different beers and desserts with “on-the-house” samples.  That kind of friendly “try-it-ness” is usually reserved for Mom-and-Pop shoppes, and it isn’t what I expected from a clearly successful, high-end restaurant.  Don’t get me wrong… we definitely appreciated it.

It was the perfect combination of warmth and just-plain great food that made this dinner so memorable.  After Blue Hill (to which I am practically wedded despite the fact that I haven’t written it up yet), Bedford Post is now my second favorite Westchester eatery.  Will we be back? You bet your sweet lemons!  🙂

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