Barn at Bedford Post: Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011

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Donna Monaco Olsen and Bradley Olsen reporting on a lovely lunch at The Barn at Bedford Post.

Overall a fabulous place in both atmosphere and cuisine.  The Barn is a more casual incarnation of the main dining room found in The Farmhouse at Bedford Post.  The Farmhouse and Inn are in a separate adjacent building, magnificent in styling and presence.  Although this bucolic place is near to our home, for some others it is a lovely drive “in the country” past horse farms and scenic surrounds.  Our guests for lunch commented on the beauty of the drive albeit so close to NYC.

The Inn has a yoga studio and accommodates riders to board their horse for dinner or overnight stays.  The creation of Richard Gere, his wife Carey Lowell and partner Russell Hernandez, it is a most beautiful setting with each and every detail in design and function having been well thought out and executed in amazing taste.  The grounds and out-buildings are representative of the New England styling and are indicative of the area. Martha Stewart visits regularly.

On this given day the clientele was somewhat more mature than usual (as I have dined here before).  I believe that many were there for HVRW and not the regular scene of Bedforites that frequent this hot spot.  Occasionally Mr. Gere or Ms. Lowel can be seen popping in.

The barn offers breakfast and lunch choices and serves dinner Monday and Tuesday night.  There is a counter where one may purchase coffee or a danish for breakfast and many special cheese offerings brought in from Plum Plums cheese shop in Pound Ridge.

The quality and care taken in the presentation and combination of flavors within each dish is very evident.  The over-the-top artisan sour dough and cranberry walnut bread was crusty the way we love it and a delicious accompaniment to all the first and second course selections.  A spicy olive oil is available upon request as it is served with a fresh creamy butter.

We tried each of the HVRW offerings between four diners.  The Carrot Soup with nettles, spring garlic, with butter toasted rye croutons, served in a gigantic over-sized bowl, above, was our least favorite.  A beautiful orange color and presentation, but it left a slight bitter taste in the mouth possibly due to the addition of fennel seeds.  This did not cause you to yearn for another spoonful, although Bradley enjoyed it and consumed every drop.

The Creamy Puglian Mozzarella, with shaved pears, and spiced walnuts was beautiful and liquidy instead of the norm of sliced and firm. It was a cross between mozzarella, ricotta and burata cheese.

The other appetizer offering was Bresaola-cured beef loin, arugula, pickled onion, and shaved grana padano.  Our friend thought it a cross between the thin slicing of prosciutto and the spiciness of cappocolla.

Two of our diners chose the Slow Cooked John Boy’s Pork Shoulder-with polenta, pickled hot peppers and onions.  The polenta was white and very creamy, almost farina like in many ways.  We have had polenta in several of our HVRW selections these past two weeks and this was by far the most delicious in texture, presentation and taste.  Now on to the pork…It was the most delectable fatty pork shoulder imaginable almost melting in your mouth.

If you are not familiar with this local farmer, let me be the one to enlighten you.  Formerly residing in Pound Ridge and farming ducks and chickens in his backyard, he decided to take on the challenge of raising piglets and bought a farm further North.

John Boy also smokes fish and is currently branching out into beef products.  He sells his products locally at farmers markets and will be available weekly at the Pound Ridge Sunday Farmers Market starting on April 10th.

Bedford Post is one of the growing number of restaurants to serve the succulent chicken and pork products he produces.  In the summer he also is the purveyor of fresh vegetables.  The chef did the pork proud with his preparation.  The peppers were a “hot” surprise but a bold and fabulous contrast to the polenta.

An unusual dish, but happy to have tried it, was the Warm Asparagus-pickled ramps, smoked mushrooms and Fontina fondue. It was surprisingly amazing in the pairing and “gooeyiness” of the warm cheese.  A smooth velvety texture that was wiped clean from the plate.

The Olive Oil Poached Tuna-served over marinated chickpeas, olives, capers, and a slight amount of chilies was not as appealing in textural looks but is definitely the most heavenly preparation of tuna we have ever tasted.  It also had some baby celery leaves and a mild heat from the chile.

Our desserts did not disappoint.  The Peanut Butter Mousse-chocolate gelato and brittle was outstanding.  Both parties said it was fabulous and Bradley deemed this to be his favorite of the many desserts eaten this HVRW.

The Yogurt Panna Cotta with blood oranges and shaved pistachio nuts were a fabulous mix of just the right flavors.  The bitterness of the nuts with the sweetness of the citrus and creamy mellow texture of the panna cotta was the best dessert I had encountered in our two weeks of dining out.  This exact dessert was ordered at another restaurant later in the week and it made it ever more conclusive that this was the best of the best.  There was no comparison and we have been thinking about them for the last few days.  I hope it makes it to the regular menu.

The service although attentive and efficient was the same as we have found it to be in the past.  They are neither friendly nor smiling and sometimes seem to be bothered when asked for something and not happy to be there.  In this beautiful surrounding we thought a few things needed some attention.  Possibly noise maintenance as there is nothing present in the decor to absorb sound, and that the beautiful cloth covered chairs needed some maintenance as many were stained and not indicative of the lovely aesthetic choices that abounded.

The grounds are most beautiful and we ventured upstairs to see the grand room used for events and yoga classes.  A most fabulous space in wood trim with clean lines.  We were greeted by the yoga instructor who was the friendly informative soul we were craving. The outdoor patio was beckoning us to return on a summer day for a taste of their most delicious sorbet and gelato.  We can’t wait for spring and a return visit.  Put this one on your short list for a day in the country at a fine Inn and Restaurant.

The 411 on on the Barn at Bedford Post.

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