By Pikke Allen
Many are called, but few are chosen in the restaurant business where they come and go like Broadway shows, closing in a matter of weeks. Beverly Hills is much the same except on Bedford Street, where the Burns family has recently opened their classic American Restaurant “Bedford & Burns” presided over by Bobbie Burns and his two delightful sisters. The Burns family is a true restaurant dynasty, their establishments have included over time, the infamous 'Bob Burns' in Santa Monica and the Marmalade Cafes that all of Southern California is familiar; the original flagship still owned and operated in Santa Monica. At 'Bedford and Burns' the unique culinary talents of the family have all come together to create a beautiful example of the Classic American Café/Bistro style dining in the center of Beverly Hills.
Upon entering, the Burns sisters (or a friendly hostess) takes you directly to your table, for your dinner reservation or offers you a seat at the well appointed bar. If you want to eat more informally, the "Happy Hour" menu has a range from snacks to small bites that are for pubster or foodie, alike. The happy hour wines (always a true test for me) offer an opportunity to "tempt" wine drinkers with deeper reflections from the regular wine list. The Chardonnay I ordered was totally delicious and a nice example of a Napa style California Chardonnay. For cocktail drinkers, the "Bedford Mule" or the "Wilshire" are new versions of the classics. The "Designer Fashion", a mixture of Orange flavorings is perfect to calm yourself after a shopping foray at Sak's. For the more 'stout of heart' a collection of beers, ales and designer microbrews like the "Golden Monkey" or "Moose Drool" provide the pubsters a curated selection of beers to enjoy.
Fine words should be said about the decor, which is beautifully done with an eye for comfortable English 'Clubroom' style. The exterior of the restaurant in an antique railroad grey and the interiors are painted in a classical taupe with a gorgeous satin finish that reflects the low lighting of the dining room. Bobbie’s interests in art range from California 'pleine' air painters (inspired by French Impressionism) to the Post WWII modernist works. The massive bookshelf (featuring Bobbie's own personal collection of art books) is fronted by a deep green tufted banquette is divine to sit on, offering a power player’s view of the dining room.
My dinner was started by the tasty treats from the appetizer menu. I was not dining alone; my wine-loving dining partner ordered a selection of wines to compliment our choices of fish. He is devoted to gluten free eating and found many things on the menu that suited him. The grilled artichokes were delicate and tasty and the Tuna Tartar prepared on a bed of Sea Weed Salad, a nice touch. I had a shrimp Ceviche, that had a nice texture and was blended with a red pepper (a bit overpowering for the shrimp) but they were fresh and plump. My grilled salmon from New Zealand, was cooked perfectly, the meat a velvet texture sitting on a bed of greens and a local Bass, from the Channel Islands, was served grilled with vegetables. Neither of us had room for the dessert; to leave without trying one would have been a crime. I chose the ‘Lemon Hazelnut Meringue Cake’ that tastes just as delicious as it sounds. If you're a chocolate person you could order 'Gigi's Hot Fudge Sundae', or a fruit tart or crumble. Just ask for the vanilla ice creme on the side, ‘Meg Ryan’ style.
Everyone is welcomed personally by the Burns' and their able staff, who are friendly and courteous. At last there is a place to relax and enjoy the comforts of home at Bedford & Burns. This beautifully well-appointed space is a new showcase for American Classic Bistro cuisine, with a fine eye for fresh ingredients that make California dining so unique. The location in central Beverly Hills is shopping friendly with convenient Valet parking.
For reservations and more information: www.bedfordandburns.com