I’ve been meaning to check out The Bedford for some time now and Restaurant Week gave me a great incentive to do so. I definitely wasn’t disappointed with my experience.
The buzz around town is that seems to draw people to the Bedford in the first place is the massive bank vault (complete with safety deposit boxes) that serves as the restaurant’s lounge. Located in the basement of the former MB Financial Bank at the corner of Ashland, Division and Milwaukee right in the heart of Wicker Park, it’s a great spot to grab dinner, a drink or both.
Although the restaurant week menu was short and somewhat limited, it was the “experience” I was going for in the first place. On the plus side, at least we got to try everything on the dinner menu. We decided to share everything family style.
Bedford menu for Restaurant Week:
Seasonal soup selection of the day: puree of granny smith apples and parsnip
That evening’s selection was the puree of granny smith apples and parsnip. I found it to be a very interesting combination. I liked the creamy texture of the soup and enjoyed the hints walnuts and cilantro that added a different dimension.
Duck liver mousse: whole grain mustard, pickles, caper berries and walnut baguette
My one friend decided to get this just for the sake of saying she had tried duck liver. We gladly encouraged her so that we could sample off her plate, but not have to eat it if we didn’t like it. She happened to really enjoy the appetizer and couldn’t stop eating it especially without the mousse topping. My other friend was convinced that the whole grain mustard really helped make the dish. My opinion: combine all the ingredients together to make it work.
Chicken: cornbread stuffing, glazed root vegetables, maple and cider chicken jus
Although I usually don’t order chicken when dining out since I prefer to get other more unique dishes I wouldn’t normally cook at home, the cornbread stuffing was drawing me to the dish. I’m a big fan of cornbread. Let me tell you, this was one hefty portion of chicken! I felt like I was de-constructing it after a while since the portion size was so huge. The chicken was juicy and the veggies were filling.
Roasted squash risotto: arborio rice, pecorino, toasted walnut, cider gastrique
Between the two entrees, this was the dish we all liked the most. The risotto was soft and savory, but a bit on the salty side for me. My friends were anxiously waiting for the other person to finish eating their portion so they could snag another taste of the risotto we were all sharing.
cider doughnut holes: cinnamon sugar, dipping glaze
This was the winning dish of the night! These weren’t your ordinary Dunkin’ Donunts munchkins here! The donuts were a Bedford specialty made by hand and crafted to perfection! I loved sinking my teeth into them and just letting the donut perfectly collapse and ooze with yummy goodness. The dipping glaze was so good I was practically drinking it like cough syrup. I would make a special trip back to Bedford just to have more of these donuts any day!
All in all the food was good, but the ambiance of the space made it even better. I liked how there was a clear distinction between the restaurant, bar and lounge so that for those that wanted to dine could enjoy it without being crowded by the bar goers with their cocktails and fancy beers. The huge bar in front was clearly packed. The lounge seating inside the vault was cozy and allowed you to have more audible conversations as you’re surrounded by fancy chandeliers and cooper safe-deposit boxes along the walls.
Of course there’s no way we could leave without taking numerous pictures in front of the famous bank vault. Everyone wanted their picture in front of it, even to the point that we had to start taking turns with other groups for space like this was some sort of national monument.
We had a great diner experience at the Bedford and can’t wait to come back for drinks and lounge some more. Ironically I’ll be coming back over the weekend again to celebrate another friend’s birthday here! Looks like I’m already starting to become a regular!
For more pictures at the Bedford visit the Gallery.