The Bedford Post, a hideaway in the Bedford countryside, opened in stages over the past several years: first the casual restaurant, Barn at Bedford Post, then the more formal restaurant, Farmhouse at Bedford Post, and later, a yoga studio and an eight-room inn.
The latest phase? A new bluestone patio, lit by strings of bare Edison bulbs above, opened a few weeks ago, with a water feature on one side and a wood-fired stone oven on the other.
Add to that the summer menu that new executive chef Jeremy McMillan has created — Italian inspired, with local ingredients — and you have two brand-new reasons to book a table.
Another reason to visit? The restaurant is really hitting its stride.
The Bedford Post has always been a destination. It’s a stunning property, lovingly renovated in a modern farmhouse-chic style with earth tones, lots of beadboard and cottage gardens around the property that are blooming with hydrangeas this time of year.
And yes, it’s owned by celebrity husband-and-wife Richard Gere and Carey Lowell, along with their partner, Russell Hernandez, and chances are you will catch of glimpse of the actors while you’re dining there.
The food has always been creative — and locally sourced. But McMillan — who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, helped open the Barn and the Farmhouse at Bedford Post in 2008 and worked at A Voce and A Voce Columbus in Manhattan before becoming executive chef last fall — has brought a new, casual sensibility to the menu. It’s simply more approachable now, even if you order the Farmhouse’s five-course tasting menu, which I highly recommend, especially at the bargain price of $65 a person.
Over the summer, the menu might start with a shotglass of corn-basil soup —
followed by Mimi’s breakfast radish, freshly dug from Mimi Edelman’s I & Me Farm in Bedford Hills and served with a rich anchovy butter:
A grilled Mission fig might come next, crunchy with a coating of crushed almonds and drizzled with a sweet reduction of balsamic vinegar:
The smoke from the wood-fired grill flavors the fig, as it does many other dishes on the Farmhouse menu. McMillan’s sous chefs work the oven every night during service (they use walkie talkies to communicate with the kitchen), and everything from Johnboy’s Chicken (free-range, from John Ubaldo’s farm in Washington County) —
— to gigantic prawns served with chickpeas —
gets the smoke treatment, often to fantastic effect.
Pastas at Bedford Post are very special, as you might expect from a chef who worked at A Voce, known for its pastas. All are carefully handmade, and come to the table delicate and light. We tried a new one earlier this month — its first night on the menu — that my friend declared was now in her “pantheon” of great dishes: Pansotti — triangular shaped, ravioli-style pasta — were stuffed with crescenza, a light, soft cow’s milk cheese and served with coins of zucchini, delicate squash blossoms and a sprinkling of bottarga, or cured fish roe.
It was easily the best dish of the meal — and there were many good ones.
We also went crazy for the speckled brook trout, served with an assertive olive puree, cured tomatoes and bits of baby artichoke:
And our final savory course, a grilled strip loin with porcini, treviso, and a sinfully rich balsamic reduction, brought the smoke theme home with precision: just enough to remind you the wood-fired oven is outside; not so much you wish it weren’t.
A few other highlights from the meal included the peaches with arugula and feta:
The chorizo and eggplant —
— which was a bit of a fun trompe d’oueil because the chorizo is on the bottom and the eggplant, which looks like coins of chorizo, is on top.
And the agnolotti porcini filled pasta, garlic scapes, parmigiano:
There are other ways to enjoy a meal at Bedford Post: the casual Barn restaurant offers breakfast — including housemade pastries tempting you from a display behind glass on a marble counter — brunch, lunch, and dinner on Mondays and Tuesdays.
You have two options to experience the outdoor patio: Try the light patio menu available from 3 to 5:30 p.m., or make a request for dinner on the patio, provided the weather cooperates.
If it’s a special occasion, you can make arrangements to stay overnight at the inn. We got a peek at the rooms, and they are luxurious — guests lounge by the inn’s reflecting pool, which also has a little nook with a covered fireplace:
I was told that people often ask for their dessert there. (The strawberry shortcake is out of sight, and so is the gianduja semifreddo, a cold chocolate-hazelnut mousse hidden inside a chocolate shell.)
But it really doesn’t matter where you enjoy your meal. Dining at Bedford Post will feel like a getaway — a vacation, even‚ in the countryside. The new chef and the new patio with its brick-oven hearth just make it even more so.