Review: Innovative, Well-Executed Dishes At Bedford 234

Refined comfort fare, warm service, and farm-fresh eggs from down the road at Bedford’s latest dining-out destination.


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Lobster “escargot” in roasted garlic-herb butter

Photo by John Bruno Turiano

If you plan to visit Bedford 234 for dinner—and you should, soon—eat lightly for breakfast and lunch. The restaurant, located in the space that was formerly Meetinghouse, does offer light fare, such as salads, a brown rice and quinoa bowl, and fish. But, other than the most stellar carrot soup I’ve ever tried (the creamy, vegan starter is accented with maple syrup, the spice mixture za’atar, peas, and crispy shallot strips), the lighter choices aren’t exciting. Skip the pistachio-crusted salmon and farro salad and the brown-butter-roasted swordfish entrée. Despite enticing descriptions and flavorful accompaniments (dried fruit, shaved Brussels sprouts, and preserved lemon citronette in the case of the salmon), the fish itself was bland.

Instead, the kitchen excels at globally inspired seasonal comfort food. Think innovative, well-executed dishes, such as lobster knuckle “escargot,” featuring chunks of lobster in roasted garlic-herb butter, served with crunchy toast points for dipping; or crispy thin-crusted “breakfast” pizza with maple- and Sriracha-laced bacon, eggs, and arugula; avocado fries with roasted garlic-cilantro aioli; potato latkes topped with house-cured king salmon and served with crème fraîche and crispy capers; pillow-y pork-belly-stuffed bao buns with hoisin, kimchi, and cucumbers; and spicy bucatini pasta with Calabrian chilies, rye breadcrumbs, shaved bottarga, and roasted cauliflower. 

"Breakfast” pizza is on the dinner menu

Ultra-creamy and sweet, vanilla bean-laced corn brûlée, though lacking the hard sugar top you’d expect from its name, is a can’t-miss side dish. On the slightly healthier front, spiced lamb kebabs impressed us. Just one among an assortment of Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, the kebabs were served with labneh (strained yogurt), tzatziki, basmati rice, chickpeas, currants, fried shallots, and broccoli rabe. (It has since been replaced by a lamb burger, with sweet and spicy tzatziki slaw, fried chickpeas, heirloom tomatoes, and hand-cut fries.)

Co-owners Mitchell and Lynn Samberg (Bedford residents for 18 years) make a divine homestyle coconut layer cake—an absolute must. Fortunately, the restaurant serves up ample slices of the rich, buttery cake, and, I can assure you, you will finish every bite. Also worth ordering, if it’s on the menu, is the brown sugar pie, presented in a Mason jar. 

In addition to the fare (which changes frequently, since the kitchen is constantly improving dishes and incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables), go to Bedford 234 for the sophisticated, modern ambience. The décor of the small, pretense-free restaurant is equestrian-themed, appropriate for its location in Bedford. The clapboard walls feature photographs, inspired by Americana, by local artist Dan Cohen, and the ceilings sport antler-shaped light fixtures. Metal chairs, a small bar, and a gray-and-brown color scheme complete the look. The only downside to the intimate space: The tables are too close together, making private conversations nearly impossible. (The secret is to dine at 5:30 pm, when the no-reservations restaurant is less crowded.)

Whenever you go, you’ll experience ultra-warm service. Kyle O’Connor, our waiter for both visits, constantly checked in on us without being overbearing. A veritable mind-reader, he asked if I’d like a takeout bag for my breakfast pizza as soon as I’d stopped devouring it (I knew to save room for my entrée and dessert). Even more telling, about 15 minutes after we’d departed, our kids’ babysitter called to tell us that we’d left our credit card on the table. Turns out co-owner Mitchell Samberg noticed our error, looked up our home phone number, called it, and spoke with our babysitter, who then phoned us. When my husband returned to retrieve the card, he met the very friendly Mitchell. Talk about a restaurant that shows the love—not surprising for a couple with three kids, five dogs, and 27 chickens. We cannot wait to return to try the Truman Samberger with maple Sriracha bacon, fried pickles, white cheddar, and hand-cut fries; deviled backyard eggs with fried oysters; and 234 mac ’n’ cheese with crispy rosemary and thyme breadcrumbs.

 

Food: 3/4 | Service 3.5/4 | Atmosphere 3/4 | Cost 3/4

Bedford 234 
635 Old Post Rd, Bedford
(914) 234-5656/(914) 234-2507
www.bedford234.com

 

 

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