Our Gourmet: Bedford Village Inn a luxurious way to start the day
The Bedford Village Inn is well-known for its plush, old New England ambiance, star-quality dinners and four-diamond wine cellar, but Sunday brunch is an event we had not yet sampled at the local standout.
With guests coming for the holidays from out of state, we were on the hunt for a posh weekend retreat and a show-off, leisurely, top-quality morning meal, and we found it in spades at BVI.
While it's not your usual buffet-style, pile-it-on feast, the quality of the food, the fine service and the charm of the establishment make the buffet lines and warmed-over eggs at other brunches a distant memory.
Our Gourmet: What else can one say about this award-winning inn and restaurant that hasn't been said in countless reviews and accolades? Well, one can start with the complete Christmas package, from each well-placed twinkling light to the fireplaces that burn warmly amid garland and ornaments and fir boughs, Santa sleigh table decorations and windows and doorways festooned with red and green and gold. It is highly festive and wonderfully plush, from thick carpeting to deep, comfortable, upholstered dining chairs, gleaming table service and cloth everywhere. The BVI is all about class, comfort and style. 10/10
The Dining Companion: The service staff sets the tone immediately at brunch, greeting customers by name, and offering a level of attentiveness that makes patrons feel relaxed and pampered. It is plain to see that this restaurant is out to uphold its reputation from the moment you enter. Lighting is low but ample, and the entire restaurant feels warm - especially our table for two that was right next to a stone-hearth fireplace. Tables for two, four, six, eight and more are spaced nicely among the dining rooms, and wait stations are unobtrusively tucked into corners, Corridors are sightly narrow between the rooms, but the dining patrons, at table, are, as they should be, the first concern of the staff and the most comfortable people in the building. 9/10
OG: When making the reservation, there was a bit of confusion on our part about the breakfast menu and the brunch menu, but we were assured the brunch menu, "The Sunday Edition," was available from 10:30 to 11:30. As such, the Sunday offering is a bit limited in the number of items, and it's all breakfast items, except for the BVI Brunch Burger ($16) - which comes with Applewood smoked bacon and roasted garlic aiolo - and the wine list, where one can order a bottle from the 20-page wine menu that could range from $20 or $30 to over $800. 8/10
TDC: A nice selection from the seven-item entree menu includes a Continental Breakfast ($13), with fresh fruits and berries and pastries with homemade jam and jelly; Oliver Merrill's Local (Londonderry) Farm Fresh Eggs with potatoes and meat ($10); Blueberry Pancakes ($12) served with fresh strawberries; Three-Egg Omelets with all manner of cheese, meat and vegetable ingredients, plus potatoes and toast ($10); and the burger, which also comes with a fried egg. Pastries, fruit, juices, cappuccini and espresso are also available. 9/10
OG: I opted for Crunchy Oat-Crusted Brioche French Toast ($11), and it simply was the best French toast I have ever had. A totally spectacular dish, which was nicely dressed with honey butter and confectioner's sugar before I drenched it in Peterson's Farm Maple Syrup. The generous slices were similarly well-topped with a tasty, crunchy accompaniment of oat chips, and plenty of cinnamon in the batter made this the tastiest breakfast dish of the year. 9/10
TDC: My Classic Eggs Benedict ($13) was delicately prepared to expertly blend the chive hollandaise sauce evenly with the ham and perfectly poached eggs, served hot and juicy with an accompanying helping of herb-roasted red potatoes and garnish. Delicious! 9/10
OG: To beef up the French toast, I thought I needed a side order of bacon. I didn't, really, but it served to top-off the tank and allow me a sample of bacon that the Inn raves about on its website. The apple-wood, smoky bacon is from the Upper Valley (Claremont to be exact) and it is truly a cut above - thick, rich in flavor and low on fat, and a bargain at $4. 9/10
TDC: We shared a plateful of Fresh Fruits and Berries ($8), the perfectly cool and quenching taste to complement our rich meals. Seven varieties graced the plate, chilled and nicely sliced portions of pineapple, strawberries, cantaloupe and honeydew, plus whole raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Thoroughly enjoyable. 9/10
All the rest: 16/20
OG: I asked our server to make sure my Bloody Mary was not on the spicy side, and it was blended just right and a welcome, refreshing drink with breakfast without going too heavy on the liquor. Some Bloody Marys - no matter how you might ask a bartender to be careful - are way too spicy and way too potent for breakfast. The BVI's version ($6.50) was just right. 8/10
TDC: Our server, Lisa, was professional and friendly, and a smiling presence in a busy dining room at a time when hotel guests and outside patrons were converging all at once. Other servers might get hurried and perhaps flustered under those circumstances, especially when quality and comfort are Job No.1 as it is at BVI, but Lisa handled us and others with a smooth panache that said a lot about her experience and confidence. We were grateful for that, as we benefitted from start to finish. 8/10