AOC Bedford combines old world charm and contemporary style to bring their primarily middle-aged business-casual clientele a culinary escape amidst the hustle and bustle of the west village. A quaint space serving delicious southern European cuisine, AOC Bedford features an ever-changing, very fresh menu, priced on the higher end, but not out of line with the quality and attention paid to both the food and the service.
My guest started with a white peach martini: light and refreshing in the summer heat, if a bit thicker than expected. For appetizers, he got the signature octopus carpaccio: the meat was deliciously smoky, almost ham-like in flavor, cut paper-thin, nearly melting in your mouth. Drizzled with high quality olive oil, with a tinge of sweetness nicely offsetting the smoky saltiness of the octopus. I went for the foie gras: rich and buttery if a bit on the bland side, but complemented by a sweet syrupy counterpoint in the Jerez reduction that really made it a tasty dish.
For my main course, I went for the duck. 3 good size pieces of breast meat, served medium over a creamy vanilla potato puree along with a full roasted pear. The duck had just the right amount of crispy, not overly fatty skin, and the balance of savory and sweet in this dish was again perfect.
My guest went for the white fish special (escolar), served as two pieces on garlicky ratatouille (capers, olives, peppers, zucchini) all over a bed of pureed potatoes. The escolar was flaky yet firm, moist and very flavorful. For the wine, he chose a Chianti Reserva (Tuscany) that was a bit too tart for his taste.
Next came the cheese course. About 12 primarily French and Spanish selections (cow, goat and sheep) wheeled out on a wooden cart and served with bread and grapes. We got a manchego (dry and not too salty), a Tetilla (softer, like a Jack/ Brie hybrid), a Cabrales (not for the faint of heart, a very intense, spicy Spanish blue) and an aged Provolone (dry and nutty, reminiscent of Parmesan or Romano in texture). My guest ordered a 1982 Dow Coheita port wine, which though thinner than expected in consistency, still had the full-bodied taste and richness he was looking for. A great complement to these cheeses.
Finally, for dessert, I went for the Crepes Suzette. Prepared table-side (quite a show!) where they did a fantastic job of burning off the alcohol until all that was left was a tasty marmalade and buttery richness that was sweet without being overpowering. My guest got the chocolate mousse, which had a dark, almost truffle-like consistency and flavor. Along with my Chamomile tea (be sure to check out the very cool modern plates and cups AOC Bedford uses…), this provided a perfect end to the evening.
AOC Bedford does a fantastic job of transporting the diner to the Southern European regions featured on its menu. Keep an eye out for their ever-changing selections, and don't hesitate to make a journey to a spot right in the heart of downtown that feels a million miles away from it all.
Tel: (212) 414-4764 Adrian Moreira August 2005
Tel: (212) 414-4764
Adrian Moreira August 2005