I sat down at the bar for a glass of wine at the brand new Bedford in the Heights when I was struck by the beauty of the bar, itself. “This is gorgeous,” I mention to the bartender. “Isn’t it?” she replies. “It’s actually 1.5 million carats of uncut emeralds.” Um, wow.
The bar certainly mirrors the upscale feel of the place, a long, dim space with an open kitchen and staff a plenty. The menu pays tribute to chef Robert Gadsby’s own unique background: his parents are from Bermuda and Jamaica, he grew up in Britain, and he learned to cook in Japan, Italy, France, Singapore, and Thailand before moving to California and then Houston. He is the perfect subject for an AMEX commercial (Welcome to Berbrijaporeifornialand!), and his menu combines Asian elements with Indian spices, French techniques, Italian pastas, and local heat.
Yes, Bedford is truly a cultural Cuisinart. The scallops arrived with a sweet crust and a light cream sauce, skillfully balanced with jalapeno peppers and greens. And just like that, I’m in love. A second favorite was the oyster appetizer, served on a timbale of sinfully fresh salmon and avocado. Oh la la.
Onward! The duck ravioli was rich, if not a bit overwhelmingly so, but the swordfish was light-flaky-nice, and the grilled salmon arrived perfectly cooked on a fabulous blend of potato and mushroom.
Save room for dessert! While all of ours were wonderful, we especially adored the Indian doughnuts, chunky balls of sweet dough, filled with a savory cheese, and soaked in a syrup I wish I could bottle. Each is topped with a gold leaf... a little decadence in the midst of recession.
Bedford’s three-course meal will set you back a reasonable $42, and the a la carte pricing is just as appropriate. While it’s still working out the kinks of a place that’s been open just two weeks -- servers unfamiliar with the menu, for one -- Bedford is an outstanding experience... One that I hope to replicate soon.
Bedford - 1001 Studewood (at 10th)