Magazine article The New Yorker

A.O.C. Bedford

Magazine article The New Yorker

A.O.C. Bedford

Article excerpt

14 Bedford St. (212-414-4764)--A.O.C., meaning appellation d'origine controlee, is the designation that the French give to foodstuffs whose production is limited to specific regions--champagne, for example, or Camembert. While the menu at A.O.C. Bedford abounds in such ingredients, and with their Spanish equivalents, labelled D.O. for denominacion de origen, the restaurant's name has a fussier vibe than the place itself, a snug bistro tucked away in the Village. The small room is so cozy that you expect an open fire; instead, red painted walls, patches of exposed brick, and lowish ceilings with wooden beams are suffused by candlelight.

While the cooking here is on the ambitious side, many of the most successful dishes have a hearty simplicity. A rich pumpkin soup contains thick strands of sauteed onion, and the outstanding gnocchi come in a sauce of Cabrales cheese, browned on top. A signature dish is suckling pig, a loin with succulent, crispy skin. This is one of several dishes that are plated or prepared at one's table. Such rituals can often seem perfunctory and embarrassing, but here, despite the tiny space, the staff conveys real enjoyment. …

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