John DeLucie has fired up his first solo project. Bedford & Co. — located a few blocks from Grand Central Terminal in the Renwick Hotel — is joining the ranks of restaurants embracing wood-fire cooking.
DeLucie split off from his former business partner last year, with whom he opened several hot spots around town — Crown, The Lion and The Windsor. He’s striking out on his own after finding inspiration during a trip to Buenos Aires.
“I was seeing all of this amazing wood-fire cooking, and I said ‘that’s what I want to do,'” he recalls. “It’s a fantastic, natural way to cook. It’s going back to the roots. It’s as primitive as you can get — it’s fire.”
The menu is structured around what can best pick up and complement the grill’s smoky quality — fatty, rich dishes like hangar steak and lamb ribs. Even the oysters get heated.
“Pretty much everything hits the wood grill. So it’s smoky, really hearty and delicious,” DeLucie says. “It’s contemporary American but the wood just sort of gives it a little edge.”
The chef worked with interior designer Meg Sharpe to shape the subterranean dining room’s intimate vibe. “The space is challenging in that there are no windows,” DeLucie explains. “You have to figure out ways to make it alluring without natural light.” The space instead reflects the smoky quality of the food with dark wood, rich velvet accents and deep red leather upholstery.
DeLucie is taking the pressure of opening a solo restaurant in stride. “The responsibility is all mine. You can’t blame anyone else,” he surmises. “There’s also a certain amount of freedom with that, and the buck stops here.”
Bedford & Co.
118 East 40th Street, New York, NY