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Bruno Thinks Bedford Plays it Safe; Kramer, Sula Think Autre Monde is Worth Trip

The Bedford
The Bedford
Photo: Tim Hiatt

Pat Bruno asks: Can you bank on the food at The Bedford?. He touts the design and use of reclaimed materials, saying the design "is repurposing at its urban best." And when it comes to the food, he says you can bank on it, "but it’s not going to light up the night sky with culinary fireworks" and thinks the "cute" menu headings are "suspicious." He calls the seasonal gazpacho "refreshing;" deems the PEI mussels "excellent;" and says the bone-in Gunthorp Farm pork chop is "cooked to perfection ... right down to the bone." But he felt the gnocchi fell flat: "[they] were too fat, too gummy." [Sun-Times]

Comparing the dishes to some of the best items at Purple Pig, Terragusto and Avec, Julia Kramer has a lightbulb go off when she realizes "I wasn’t eating at any of these places: I was in Berwyn." Kramer visited Autre Monde, calling it "a true gem of a restaurant." The wine list is an "inviting, well-edited one-page list of Greek and Italian wines," all the servers were "honest-to-God lovely" and the chefs are "knocking every dish dead." She praises everything from the burrata ("every bite came with a good twinge of anise and a splash of spectacular olive oil") to the beef entrecôte ("a huge, rustic dish, every piece of the wood-grilled beef cooked on the nose and marked on top with a bold char." While some items fell flat ("the cocktails are too sweet, the huge fried oysters are too bitter"), overall "nearly everything I ordered at Autre Monde showed off a kitchen at ease with itself." [TOC]

Mike Sula agrees with Kramer that a schlep out to Berwyn is worth it, "if one thing recommends it it's the resumés of the four principals, all of whom worked under Tony Mantuano in various restaurants." He says chefs Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge's menu is Mantuano-esque "most tellingly in a trio of ruddy handmade pastas to which sauces adhere with ionic clinginess." He claims "this is simple food, simply prepared, and for once when a server promises that plates are shareable, it's true across the board." He gripes that some of the servings are too big ("the animal richness of chocolate hazelnut pots de creme, a veritable cup of chocolate fat, or a pistachio-studded chickpea crostata seem sadly insurmountable"), but that while flatbreads "take up quite a bit of surface area," their "crusts are light and wafer thin." Any service issues he encountered will "tighten up soon, though on nights when big acts have been booked at FitzGerald's I'm staying far away." [Reader]

The Bedford

1612 W Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622 773 235 8800 Visit Website