On Sunday the WBC convened at The Barn at the Bedford Post Inn in (where else) Bedford. We made reservations several weeks ago for our brunch at the Richard Gere-owned establishment. We were a larger group than usual. We welcomed several special guests, among them Drew Beebe, who inspired us to turn “fiasco” into a verb. Inappropriateness ensued. Laughter and food were shared. It was great.
The Case: The Barn at Bedford Post Inn v. The Westchester Breakfast Club (along with some reinforcements)
The Jurisdiction: Old Post Road in Bedford, NY
The Venue: A renovated farmhouse, part of a larger complex with a Yoga studio and a fine-dining restaurant on-premises. I think the atmosphere could be accurately described as “upscale rustic.”
The Facts: I was a little thrown at the outset by the mandatory valet parking at the Bedford Post Inn. Though I consider the WBC a high-class organization, our parking options are more likely to require us to feed the meter than tip the attendant. To calm my understandably frayed nerves, I ordered a large cup of hot chocolate, which came quickly. The cocoa was okay. It lacked that rich chocolate flavor that really good cocoa has, but was not overly sweet like the powdered stuff, either. Frankly, for five dollars I expected excellence. I was disappointed.
I can’t resist a French toast made from fancy bread, so the brioche French toast was my obvious selection, along with a side of applewood-smoked bacon (recommended by the server over the Canadian variety). The French toast was moist without being soggy, with that perfect density; heavy on the fork, light in your tummy. It was served with a “spicy pear compote” that added a bit of a sweet, cinnamon-ny kick. Overall, the broad flavor composition made the dish special, and not just good. The bacon was crispy and good, but hardly revelatory.
The Verdict: Definitely worth both the trip, the price tag, and the tip for the parking attendant. The only thing I would do over again if I had the option would be to skip the hot chocolate and have a cup of (much cheaper) tea instead.
It was a sunny day. A chilly day. A “The Barn at Bedford Post Inn” day.
So, this place is owned by Richard Gere, the highly acclaimed actor who starred in such Oscar-worthy roles as Strike Force, Kojak, and First Knight. Did he come visit us because we were the Westchester Breakfast Club and we had a reservation as a party of 12? No. I chalk this up to the fact that the person making the reservation used her first name instead of the agreed upon “Westchester Breakfast Club”. Fine. We’ll just stick to the Vanessa Williams sighting. C’est la vie.
So how was the food in all this? Was it worth it? Should I head out there on a Sunday to have brunch with my lady? Should I bring my entire family including my uncles, aunts, cousins and various strangers I find on the way? Good, Yes, Probably not, and Perhaps. This place isn’t the largest breakfast establishment in the world. We had a party of 12 and they stuck us upstairs. It wasn’t cramped, but it wasn’t big.
We all arrived at various, but reasonable, times. They gladly sat us down at out little corner upstairs. This was a nice touch. Some places won’t seat you unless your ENTIRE party is there. This would have been difficult for us since we were all coming from different places. I think the people at the restaurant understood that The Bedford Post Inn is in the middle of nowhere. The menus were online, but without prices, so we were all skeptical about the cost of this endeavor, but the menus at the table had prices and we were all relieved, although I was upset since I thought no prices on the online menus meant the food was free. The viewing of the menus was about the time I would have expected Mr. Gere to show up and tell us about any specials for the day, but he didn’t.
We ordered our food and just like that, just a few minutes later, our meals came out in glorious fashion, albeit, only 4 plates. The wait staff soon realized that the food was actually for the table across the room. Luckily, no one had started eating. This is about the time I would have expected Mr. Gere to show up and apologize, but he didn’t. Eventually we got our food and all was well. The cameras flew around the table to take pictures of the food. This is about the time I would have expected Mr. Gere to show up in order to have photo opportunities with us, but he didn’t.
Somewhere along the line, someone asked for the pastry menu. This was completely necessary because the entrance to the restaurant is at the pastry display and we all wanted to try something. This is about the time I would have expected Mr. Gere to show up and explain the pastry selection, but he didn’t. Instead, the waitress verbalized the selection over and over again as we ordered various things at various times. I have to say, the waitress was on point. She delivered the food and pastries to the right locations without fail. I even glanced at her little sketch pad to see if she was cheating and writing seat positions next to orders, but she wasn’t. Impressive indeed. So now to the actual food review.
I had the Brioche French Toast with Peach Compote, a cup of coffee, and the pear torte. I still don’t know what compote is, but. it was good. Was the French toast the best? I wouldn’t say so. The bread was kind of soggy and a little limp. The brioche French toast from Terra Rustica was more impressive. The coffee was refilled many times and was worth refilling. It wasn’t the best cup of coffee, but it was a good cup of coffee. The pear torte was my favorite part of the meal. Sadly with pastries at a large table it is proper for one to share amongst the table. Had it not been for those pesky 10 other diners, I would have had the torte all to myself. It was a good torte. It wasn’t overly sweetened to hide the tartness. I guess I also had some sort of sausage, but it wasn’t memorable.
I have no idea exactly how much time we spent at The Barn, but the time seemed to go by quickly. Much of the inappropriate conversation came out of our side of the table. I’m not exactly sure of this, but I’m willing to bet on it since we had Shelley on our side. The check came and it was easy to understand who owed what. The waitress was in no rush to kick us out, which was kind of her. This is about the time I expected Mr. Gere to come in and strong arm us out the door, but he didn’t. All in all, it was a good experience. Filling food and reasonable, although not free, prices.
Who knew valet started before 10am? At The Bedford Post Inn it does and they are not afraid to whip your car around in a hurry. In the summer this must be the best gathering place in Bedford to sit outside with a cup of joe and a pastry. The atmosphere is farm house formal, but seeing the people that stay after the morning yoga classes made you feel that the people at The Barn would know your name if you came more than a handful of times. We had a great table upstairs but it was difficult to have a conservation with the other end of the table. That much said, it did not stop us from sharing every breakfast pastry we ordered.
Starting out I had the sumatra coffee and Jason had the Red Oz tea. The coffee mug was the right size that your coffee wouldn’t get cold but big enough that I didn’t need to ask for a refill. Jason loved the Red Oz tea and it was steeped in an individual metal container. I had the brioche French toast with warm pear compote with a side of grilled asparagus and Jason had two eggs over easy, country potatoes, breakfast sausage links, and sour dough toast. With the flavorful and perfect consistency of the maple syrup, the French toast was perfect in the middle but the crust was a tad chewy. I also would have liked more pear compote. Grilled to perfection, the asparagus balanced out all the sugar of the French toast. Jason’s over easy eggs were well prepared. The flavor of the potatoes was unique with the caramelized onions in them but we could have eaten more than the 8 cubes that were given. The breakfast sausage had an excellent flavor and was large enough that you weren’t craving more. The sour dough toast was a little over toasted but still yummy. Immediately after ordering Jason realized he should have ordered the brioche, which seemed to be their specialty. We also had the fruit and cheese danish. The pastry was good but overall it was just average. I had bite of the chocolate almond croissant, which was the best I think I have ever tasted. Out of the 11 of us I think we ordered 8 different pastries with many of the options unvisited. We both would definitely return to the Bedford Post Inn for an A.M. yoga class
followed by pastries and coffee.
The Barn at the Bedford Post Inn is way up in the horse country of Westchester. How far up? Let me paint a picture: On my way down Old Post Road in Bedford, I had to stop to allow a woman on a large, black horse and her two Weimeraners trailing behind to cross the street ahead of me. So far up that you’ll find actual, honest to God unpaved roads (I’m talking to you Guard Hill Road).
As I drove into the gravel parking lot of The Bedford Post Inn, I told the valet that I was going to the Barn and asked if I could just park my own car. He sternly told me, no, “we do that for you.” I then felt a bit, well, uncultured for even asking, but felt better when I heard that my fellow WBCers were equally surprised by the valet parking.
Once again the WBC was seated on an upstairs level (you’ll recall we also dined upstairs at The Flying Pig.) The upper dining level was open and airy, with large windows allowing the morning sun to stream in. And I could see my car from the window, which was comforting. I knew for sure that the valet attendants weren’t taking my Civic on a joyride through Bedford.
After reviewing the menu (did you know you could get a $24 hangar steak for brunch? You can, but I did not.), I settled on a basic but good standard: two eggs any style (I chose scrambled) served with a choice of bacon or sausage (I chose sausage) and country potatoes. Cranberry juice was my beverage of choice this morning. After ordering, food was brought out to our table in what seemed like record time. I’m talking 3 minutes, 5 minutes tops. Was it a mistake? As I looked down at my plate everything looked delicious, except there was bacon instead of sausage. As we were taking pictures of the food, our waitress suddenly appeared and announced that the food had been brought to the wrong table. The delicious looking meals in front of us actually belonged to the people at the table behind us. Good thing we hadn’t started to eat our food, or sneezed, or licked the contents of our plates (which is how we at the WBC mark our breakfast territory).
After a more typical waiting time, our real food arrived. This time my plate contained the sausage I desired, but I noticed that there seemed to be less eggs than there had been on the plate previously placed in front of me. This was puzzling, because the dish is called “two eggs any style”–shouldn’t two scrambled eggs look the same no matter what? Look for yourself, I took pictures of both dishes. OK, OK, I know I should have taken the photos from the same angle, for a more accurate representation. But take my word for it, I’d put money on the fact that my dish had less eggs. The eggs had an interesting textures, I thought they were runny at first, but there was no liquid yolk gathering at the bottom of my plate. What’s the word I’m looking for. The eggs were unusually moist, and quite soft. I prefer my scrambled eggs on the firmer side. However they were surprisingly flavorful, with various herbs sprinkled throughout. The sausage was good, not overly greasy. The potatoes were a bit on the salty side. The toast was fluffy and flaky.
Shortly after our food had arrived the waitress brought out some pastry menus. The Barn has a pretty tempting-looking pastry counter on the first floor and many of us were eager to sample some of the baked goods. I settled on a chocolate croissant. It was fine, with a good chocolate-to-croissant ratio. The chocolate on the inside was soft, melted just enough.
Overall this was a very pleasant meal. The service was good (aside from that time when, you know, they brought us the other table’s food). This was a bit on the pricier side, but not too bad–my contribution, including tip (both for the waitress and the valet) was $23.
As I walked downstairs , out the front door, and handed the valet attendant my ticket, I felt satisfied, happpy. And then while waiting outside for the valet to bring my car (which was probably 100 steps tops from where I was standing), I detected an odor in the air that stung my nostrils. It smelled foul. I looked down at the fresh mulch in the garden and realized that the odor was none other than manure. The restaurant may be called “the barn”, but that doesn’t mean it should actually smell like a barn.
This weekend, the Westchester Breakfast Club ventured deep within the gorgeous and quaint town of Bedford to seek out new breakfasting adventures. The Bedford Post Inn consists of an Inn, two restaurants (The Barn, and the more fancy Farmhouse), and a Yoga studio. To get there, a drive through the picturesque country roads is required, and quite rewarding as you pass by the large farmhouse estates with stone walls and the horse farms.
Parking was provided by a free valet service, which was unexpected. How many times do you get valet service for brunch?
Our table consisted of a long dining room table with round ends and a square table abutted at one end. It seemed like the long table was the largest one they had there. Originally, when I made the reservation it was for 10, but it was changed to 12 about a week before. The person I talked to warned me that 12 would be a tight fit around the table we had. It seems that they added the extra table at the end so we weren’t asses to elbows (so to speak). It kinda felt like the unexpected large dinner party at a house that normally doesn’t have seating for so many, but it fit right in with the cozy, homey feel that the place had.
As each member of our party trickled in, our waitress took their drink order promptly. I had a Cafe Au Lait with skim milk. The milk was still a bit frothy when it arrived, which is always a plus. It was good. There was enough flavor in the coffee so that it didn’t taste like watery milk, but not enough to even out with the milk, even though it was skim milk. It was served in a large mug, and took me till the end of the meal to finish. Always a good thing if it’s not refillable.
I couldn’t decide on what to eat. I was in between the Brioche French toast (with a spiced pear compote) or the banana pancakes. I ultimately ordered the Brioche French toast with a shared side of the grilled asparagus and a honey polenta muffin. As we were ordering, I had asked about what pastries were available. We were informed that many were still coming out of the oven…yum…pastries were in order!
The Brioche French toast was good. The slices were thick, and the crust was crispy. I would have liked mine crisped up in the middle a bit more, but otherwise, it wasn’t grossly soggy, but moist and held its shape. The maple syrup was served in square ramekins, which made pouring a bit messy. It was a NY maple syrup, and it made everything taste wonderful. The spiced pear compote didn’t really come through. There simply wasn’t enough between the slices of french toast. If they didn’t mention it on the menu, I would not have known. The small bits that did come through were excellent, however. They just need more of it.
The grilled asparagus was served in a small bowl. They were tender, but crunchy, and beautifully grilled. The honey polenta muffin was a good way to top off the meal. It was a touch on the smaller side, so basically a normal sized muffin. The honey sweetened the muffin perfectly. Since polenta is basically cooked cornmeal, the difference between this and a corn muffin was that this had a much less gritty texture than what is usually found in a corn muffin. Plus, the muffin wasn’t as crumbly as the corn muffins I’m more accustomed to. The honey polenta muffin was definitely the better alternative to the drier, courser corn muffin. No need for butter!
The service was excellent except for the mix up at the beginning with the meals. Our waitress was attentive and patient and very nice throughout the entire meal.
The Czar says: The Barn at The Bedford Post Inn isn’t somewhere I’d go on a whim. The prices, although not as bad as we feared, were still a bit on the pricier side for breakfast. Plus it’s in Bedford, and only accessibly via backroads, so it’s a hike for us Southern Westchester-ites. But for one of those more special breakfast occasions (birthday, out of town relative visiting, etc), I’d recommend it, highly. The drive up there is beautiful and a treat, and the establishment itself is warm, inviting, and cozy. They also seem to be kid-friendly, as there was a kid’s menu available and many families with small children present. The food is good for what they charge you, and worth that extra amount. If you do go, make reservations and try for the earlier time. 10 am was perfect for us. They were busy, but not overly so. When we left around noon, the place was packed with many waiting for a table. So, make reservations, try to keep the party size under 10, and try one of the delicious pastries!
Here are two conditions to justify valet parking:
1. the parking lot must be enough of a distance from the destination as to make parking a nuissnce
2. There must exist conditions that make being outside undesirable (night, rain, etc)
The Bedford Post Inn, a ranch-style compound offering fine dining, horseback riding, yoga, and other wealthy-people activities, has no need for valet parking. The sunny morning I met the WBC there for a meal warranted no man to shoo me from my car and drive it the remaining 25 feet to a parking space. I had begun paying before even setting foot in the door, and my wallet began to ache accordingly. A valet indicates “first class service” which just means “expensive.” There’s no valet at ihop.
Once I stepped off my soap box and entered the building, I was greeted by a friendly maitre d’ stationed at the head of a bright, thoughtfully furnished, and surprisingly busy restaurant called “The Barn”. Being the idiot that I am, I had arrived an hour early, but this turned out to be quite a pleasant experience. They had a couple of copies of the Sunday Times lying in wait for just such an occasion, and I enjoyed sipping on my coffee and making small talk with our cute waitress; a good start to any day. Our table was on the second floor, which was welcome since the ground level, while sunnier, has about 3 tables too many, and seemed somewhat loud and cramped.
In the span of about 5 minutes, the entire crew arrived in a flurry of cheerful greetings and premature ejaculation jokes, and we got down to the business of ordering our food. The menu offered mostly traditional fare, although the erratic pricing (most meals being $9 or $15 with little in between) cornered most of us into ordering the french toast or eggs. Our waitress was friendly, attentive, and even mustered enough phoney enthusiasm to laugh at our corny jokes.
The meal arrived (after one false start no doubt mentioned in other reviews), and with an attitude shared by spoiled Americans and starving villagers, I immediately wondered “Why isn’t there more food on my plate?” Almost every time I feel this initial disappointment, however, I’m pleasantly surprised by how filling a small meal can be. The French toast, a castle surrounded by a wide porcelain moat, seemed to have “rip off” written all over it, but as usual by the end of the meal I slid the plate away satisfied. The toast itself was sweet, dampened nicely by the pear and of course, doused in maple syrup. Very tasty, although such a sweet meal seems like an odd choice as the centerpiece of a breakfast, but I suppose I have no one to blame for that but myself. The coffee was pretty standard, although poured into the biggest cups I’ve ever seen at an upscale restaurant, which was a plus.
Service : 8
Attractiveness of Staff: 9
Total: 36 out of 50
I felt satisfied with a good breakfast at a nice restaurant, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it to a friend. It’s a little too upscale for an average weekend breakfast. A date? Sure, but casual breakfast at a place like that is for rich people. You know, people who don’t mind standing in line to wait for the valet to retrieve their car from 25 feet away.
Breakfast at the Bedford Post Inn was not bad for our first visit. To be greeted by the valet attendant as soon we pulled into the parking lot made me believe there was more to this place than what I expected. I was accompanied by my beautiful girlfriend, Janet, who also was pleased with the presentation of the Inn.
To start things off, Janet ordered her usual orange juice, which surprisingly came in a wine glass. I followed and ordered a cup of hot chocolate, which wasn’t the sweetest, but I added a little sugar, which made all the difference.
For breakfast, Janet ordered the French Toast and I went for the Banana pancakes. We also ordered a side of two eggs, sausage, and potatoes for us to share. Now, when it comes to pancakes, I am pretty skeptical when someone other than myself makes it. However, these pancakes were the exact opposite of what I thought. The pancake was not overpowered by the taste of banana and the banana-to-pancake ratio was just right. Janet was very pleased with her Brioche French Toast. The French Toast slices were bigger than what she usually orders when we venture out for breakfast, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. Aside from the softness of her toast and the tastiness of spiced pear, her crust was a bit on the crispy side, but this did not lessen her satisfaction with her toast.
Unfortunately, we were not pleased with our side of eggs and sausage; however, the potatoes made up for them. We were also disappointed by the cinnamon bun. Once received, it looked very edible and we were anxious to see how it would taste. Not even before we ate it, we cut into the bun and noticed how hard and flaky it was. This was a disappointment as it did not meet our expectations of what a cinnamon bun is. To add wood to the fire, the “croissant” was baked with excess butter. As soon as you bit into it, nothing but butter oozed out.
On the bright side, our server displayed excellent service and professionalism. The prices were not high and were fair, and for the overall experience, we give the Bedford Post Inn a 7.5 out of 10.
What I Had: Bacon, White Cheddar, and poached egg on homemade buttermilk biscuit, herbed country potatoes, latte, chocolate almond croissant
What It Cost: $25 all included
Worth It: Yes
The Rating: 4.25/5
The Details: The Barn at The Bedford Post Inn is a bit of a misnomer; there’s not a barnyard animal or haystack to be seen. What there is, however, is a quaint, charming two floors of dining area. Downstairs seems to have mostly small tables across from a very inviting pastry bar.
Since I was surrounded by people who ordered the French toast, I went a different direction and ordered the egg sandwich, as well as a latte and a chocolate almond croissant. The latte arrived first and was adequate, if not exemplary. The chocolate almond croissant was the star of the meal, light, flaky, crispy on the outside with a rich, multi-layered interior. The chocolate overwhelmed the almond for the most part, though the occasional bite where it didn’t was a very pleasant surprise. Probably you’d be better off ordering the chocolate croissant and the almond croissant separately and alternating bites.
The breakfast sandwich was a wonderfully unique sandwich. The egg was poached, immediately setting it apart from every other sandwich of its type I’d ever had. Both halves of the homemade buttermilk biscuit had a layer of white cheddar cheese, and one of those halves had a generous portion of crumbled bacon melted into the cheese. Upon first bite, the yolk of the egg exploded and spread throughout the sandwich and the plate, which was delightful. If there’s one complaint, it’s that the biscuit is just a little too thick, and at times can overwhelm the ingredients within the sandwich. But that’s a minor gripe. The sandwich was delicious. The country potatoes were good too, but probably could have used a bit more in the seasoning department.
The waitress was attentive and cheerful and a complete delight, though there was some initial confusion when the busboy brought us food that belonged to a different table. There is also free valet parking, which, frankly, serves no purpose except delaying your departure. Perhaps they hope you’ll splurge on an additional pastry. Frankly, I considered it. The price is a little high for breakfast, but given the quality, doesn’t seem overpriced.
The Bottom Line: Try it!
The Barn at The Bedford Inn is nestled among picturesque gated estates. The interior has a very homey, rustic feel to it with its cream colored walls and unfinished wood floors. I was quickly led upstairs and seated with the group.I don’t drink coffee so I was happy to see that there was a nice selection of teas. I settled on the Bolivian black tea and was happy to see that it was a loose leaf tea. It tasted very much like a typical black tea with a hint of smokiness.
After much debate, I ordered the least complicated thing on the menu – two eggs (over easy) with bacon, herbed country potatoes and toast. The Czar and I decided to split an order of grilled asparagus. When the plates arrived only minutes after we ordered, we knew something was wrong. It turns out they served us the plates from the table next to us. In any case, our food did arrive quickly after that.My eggs were cooked perfectly and were sprinkled with tiny bits of chives which were a nice touch. The bacon was crispy and not too salty. The herbed country potatoes were a bit disappointing. They consisted of a dozen or so uniform skinless potato cubes. They didn’t look the least bit country and didn’t appear to have any herbs. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were in fact tasty. The toast wasn’t my favorite. I’m not sure if it was brioche or something else, but I found it to be a weird texture and not very flavorful. The asparagus was grilled just enough to bring out the flavor but still retained a nice crunch.
I also ordered a currant scone which turned out to be more like a biscuit than an traditional scone. It was not overly sweet but had nice tart currants with flecks of orange zest. I also sampled the almond chocolate croissant, pear tart, and honey polenta muffin, all of which were delicious.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit The Barn at The Bedford Post Inn again, but if I was in the area I would definitely stop in for a chocolate almond croissant and tea.