It’s been quite the drama-filled year for John DeLucie, one of New York’s first real (non-television) celeb chefs. After a steady series of shutters — including Crown, The Lion, The Windsor and Bill’s Food & Drink — it was finally revealed that he was in the middle of a legal battle, due to murky financial dealings involving his partner.
But whatever is currently going on with his hospitality outfit The Crown Group, DeLucie himself appears to have risen well above the fray, recently opening up his first independent venture called Bedford & Co., in Midtown’s boutique The Renwick Hotel. Located near Grand Central Station, in a neighborhood still glutted by uninspired chains and odd, one-off concepts (a kosher sushi joint and dedicated lasagna spot are mere steps away), it’s no doubt a welcome haven for here-on-business out-of-towners, or nattily-suited workers from the financial sector, looking for an ideal locale for power lunches.
A recently launched mid-day menu is perfectly geared towards those aforementioned audiences, serving appealing, uncomplicated and most importantly, non-pretentious (no truffles on the mac & cheese here) fare. Making as much use as possible of a wood-fired oven, deliberately visible to the bi-level dining room, options include smoke-kissed Oysters on the Half Shell, frizzled stalks of White Asparagus, pebbled with muscat grapes and fried “lardons” of boquerones, Charred Beets with Labneh, Hanger Steak Frites and a Rotisserie Chicken Salad, tossed with potatoes and topped with a loose-yolked egg. Practically by necessity, there’s also a totally solid Burger, masked with Bloomsday cheddar, caramelized onion and — extra credit — a rectangle of caramelized pork belly, as well as a selection of toasts (Avocado, Wild Mushroom, Rapini, Smoked Salmon) that lets tourists in on the city’s current obsession with tricked-out, open-faced bread.
The word may still be out as to the eventual state of The Crown Group, but the unsinkable John DeLucie has got a good thing going in Midtown. Consider checking it out…