Campagna's fare, not its reserved monochromatic décor, delivers sensual thrills. Photos by Anthony Jackson
A short drive from Bedford’s Village Green is the boutique inn/restaurant/yoga studio complex, The Bedford Post, owned by actor and Pound Ridge resident Richard Gere. The Relais & Chateaux property’s flagship restaurant, Campagna, is run by another celebrity, albeit one from a different arena. Star Chef Michael White and his Altamarea Group (which operates 14 additional restaurants around the globe including ones in Istanbul and London) bring a mastery of all things culinary to Bedford Post’s two dining options (the second is The Barn, a more casual eatery serving salads, sandwiches, and brunch items).
Campagna, which was called The Farmhouse prior to White’s arrival, is a spectacular dining destination, serving Italian cuisine that highlights seasonal and local ingredients. It’s especially memorable if you can snag a seat on the country-garden-style slate patio, with its proximity to an aromatic wood-burning grill.
Executive Chef PJ Calapa and Chef de Cuisine Devin Bozkaya offer a menu that includes standout hand-made pastas, prepared daily. The cappelletti (like tortellini, but smaller and more delicate), filled with ricotta, lamb, and mint and served atop smooth, slightly sweet mascarpone, is a top dish. Other pastas include baked rotolo noodles with fennel sausage Bolognese and fusilli in a pork ragú with tomato, basil, and ricotta. As worthy as the pastas are, you’d be missing out if you neglected to order off the short list of entrées. Try the lobster fricassee with morel mushrooms; lamb loin with charred eggplant; or the fantastic wood-fire-grilled swordfish with sweet peppers and fresh oregano.
And as exceptional as many of the mains are, don’t neglect the starters either: grilled octopus skewers; fluke panzanella; and fava beans, prosciutto, almonds, and ricotta atop grilled bread. A gratifying and delicious dinner could be had by simply ordering a slew of these small dishes.
The $14 desserts by Pastry Chef Jim Eckler are visual masterpieces that combine numerous handcrafted elements; offerings change, but expect such elegant creations as lemon verbena panna cotta with caramelized pistachio, macerated strawberry, and strawberry red wine sorbet and a caramel bar with white coffee sabayon, chocolate sablé, and cardamom gelato.
Desserts by Pastry Chef Jim Eckler are dazzling, albeit pricey, works of art.
It may be pricey (most of the non-pasta mains are $30 and up), but Campagna is a classy dining-out destination worth the splurge.
WHAT TO ORDER: charred octopus with lentils and ramps; fava beans with ricotta (seasonal); fluke panzanella; rotolo Bolognese with ricotta; fusilli with pork ragu; duck with grape mostarda and broccoli rabe; grilled swordfish with sweet peppers, orange, and wood-fired potatoes; affogato
Campagna at The Bedford Post Inn
954 Old Post Rd, Bedford
(914) 234-6386; www.campagna-bedford.com