Voulez-Vous Coucher:
A Review of the Restaurant B.E.D.

by Tony Phillips

Finally, thread count assumes its rightful place alongside organic sea salt, rough whole grain and caramelized whatever on the foodie checklist as this trendy new West Chelsea boite forever fucks with the wine, dine, 69 equation by starting out the evening in the sack. Actually an acronym for beverage, entertainment, dining; B.E.D. arrives in town after a successful six-year stint in South Beach with chef Vitor Casassola — poached from neighboring SoBe restaurant The Blue Door — and his contemporary French/American fusion menu in tow.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, let’s talk beverage for a moment. Stepping of the Fatal Attraction freight elevator operated by staff in getups fairly close to those of Elphalba’s flying monkeys, we made our way into the large open space that was once a storage room for the old Twilo disco. Natch, our couchette reserved for 10p.m. — primetime at B.E.D. — wasn’t ready, so the hostess — one of the few women we saw amongst this boy-heavy, flirty staff — asked us to have a seat at the bar.

It was in front of this curved, wavy glass pane separating the bar from the dining room and pulsing with so many polka dot and stripes it looked like a Gene Meyer runway show, that we discovered by “beverage,” B.E.D. actually meant cleverly-named, fifteen dollar cocktails. My date, a teatotling doctor, ordered a club soda and I decided to continue fighting my flu with some cranberry juice. Our server’s face fell as he informed us B.E.D likes ‘em good and alcoholic. We informed him that having both been born gay, we already knew what a fifteen-dollar cocktail tasted like: expensive.

After about a twenty-minute wait and at least as many inquiries by various staff rushing to and fro — Were we okay? Were we having dinner? Were we waiting for a table? Would we like a cocktail? — we were finally shown to our bed and our host — a new one — kindly asked us to remove our shoes. They were raised and practically evaluated Olympics-style by the facing beds that make up this Roman pit of a dining room before being stowed in a nifty hatchback built into the headboard. Still, if you’re looking for a venue where your new Manolos will be afforded at least two spotlight moments, you’ve come to the right place.

Slipping into the B.E.D. logoed socks before jumping into our maroon-linened bed, my date, the doctor, mused about instances of stubbed toes and the like. It was then that we noticed there wasn’t one hard edge at B.E.D. Everything down to the capsule-like windows had been rounded so that the entire place had the vibe of Saturn Three-era Farah Fawcett Majors and white stretch Lycra pulled at angles over the walls only compounded the effect. Please understand, high marks in design don’t get much better than Farah, Lycra and space coming from me, but again, it was my date, the doctor, who was trying to put his finger on that something extra that was missing.

It hit us both at the same time. The E! Where was the entertainment? Neo-geo stripes and conversation inhibiting house music certainly didn’t fit the bill. My date, the doctor, wanted television. I wouldn’t have said no to a belly dancer. We both made do with a peak at the menu instead as our waiter mysteriously promised, “We’ll get along famously,” and then made all sorts of busy-body inquiries about food allergies and our fondness for taro root. As I wouldn’t know a taro root if I tripped over one, we clumsily made our way into the D department as Mr. “Are You Allergic to Peanuts?” returned with a complimentary amuse bouche of fried capers and white truffle oil floated onto a heavenly cream of mushroom reduction.

It was a promising start that only got better when our appetizers arrived and silverware was presented with much pomp from a large, pine picnic box. The Quail Saltimboca ($14) was heartier fare than we were expecting for such a blatantly pre-nightclubbing restaurant and whole bits of quail didn’t seem to be rolled with prosciutto in the traditional way, but the shitake and goat cheese orzo it sat atop more than made up for any recipe cheating as the dish more than lived up to its literal “jump in the mouth” translation. The Miami-Style Ceviche ($14) was a more successful starter on the whole as a light combination of sashimi danced with a citrus-laced balsamic cider reduction given some extra kick by a sweet chili sauce.

Entrees were a dream as well as my date, the doctor, couldn’t resist the rosemary crusted lamb rack ($30) with it much-ballyhooed accompaniment, the truffle taro root puree. I thought the puree tasted like baby food, but the doctor tucked into his lamb as it practically fell off the bone. My own Caribbean lobster tail ($34) was one of the most deeply sensual experiences I’ve ever had in bed. Served stacked into a pyramid atop a mélange of roasted pineapple chunks, celery, and grape tomatoes, the entire symphony was tied together by the spiciest ginger since Geri Halliwell floating in a coconut cashew sauce.

There was more coconut on-hand for desert as my date, the doctor, piled into his crème brule that was spiced with the softest slivers of coconut I’ve ever tasted. My desert was a bit more of an embarrassment, not that the rich, traditional French-style tiramisu disappointed, but rather, as B.E.D.’s signature dish, it came molded into the shape of a bed, complete with spun sugar head and foot board that allowed both the doctor and myself to recreate possible stress factors resulting in the collapse of his own bed at home during a recent soiree. But the time we were done, he had stopped asked for television and said what he thought B.E.D. might be lacking was some porn. I guess B.E.D. worked its magic on both of us.