“Flavors of Bedford” Restaurant Review: The Bancroft Proves a Steakhouse Can Be Unique

By Ken Gordon

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of reviews of restaurants that will participate in Flavors of Bedford, a Bedford Chamber of Commerce fundraiser, on November 8

BancroftIf ever there was a time to admit I was wrong, this is that time.

When The Bancroft opened in Burlington a little more than a year ago, I had very little interest in exploring the new steak house.  My wife is a terrific cook, good enough to have operated a catering company in Wellesley in the 1990s.  When we go out to eat, I look for cuisine unique enough that it cannot be replicated at home.  No matter how complex the béarnaise, I put most all steak houses in that category.

But I was wrong .  The aged steaks were seasoned perfectly.  Cooked to just the right degree of doneness and with attention to detail.  The duck was moist, tender and roasted in a red current sauce that was so complex it even stumped the cooking professor at our table.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Let’s take you through the experience.

Breena, Brandon and I headed out to The Bancroft on a warm Saturday night this month.  We got an early reservation, and it was a good idea, as the tables quickly filled around us.  The décor was not far from what we were expect, rich wood paneling, soft leather chairs, and intricate carpeted floors.  The dining area was divided into glass sub-rooms, giving diners both the illusion of privacy and space.

The star of the show was the employees.  From the hosts to the bus staff, everyone was warm and friendly with interesting stories to tell.  To our delight, Joe, our waiter who commuted in from Winthrop every day, was assigned to our table.  Turns out he’s a former lawyer, who found that a career behind a bar can be just as interesting as being a member of the Bar. But he can do both.  Joe steered us to just the right steer on the menu, and matched it with the proper wine by the glass.  He was our Sherpa for the night, and we were better off for it.

We started with the steak tartare, creamy succulent pieces of hand-cut prime beef with a quail egg on the side, mixed with pickled shallots and violet mustard.  It was amazingly fresh, with the seasoning well adjusted.  We spent some time in Montreal  last spring, and this dish held it own among any French restaurant we tried in Canada.

Joe made a new friend in our 12-year-old son when he told him that while the menu does not include a cheeseburger entrée, he can bring it to him. “Can I have it with bacon,” asked Brandon. “Of course,  how else would we serve it?”  It even came with a 2-percent milk, just the cocktail for him.

The Bancroft does not offer a wide variety of steaks, concentrating on turning out a few specialties to perfection.  When we were there, the menu offered a Filet Mignon, bone-in filet, Sirloin, Rib Eye, T-Bone and a Tomahawk steak for two.  I was vacillating between two cuts, when Joe advised me to choose one I had not considered, the 24-ounce T-Bone.  It was so tender and flavorful I could not put down my fork. The extra cholesterol pill that evening was well worth it.

Of course, we ordered the creamed spinach – a classic steak house side dish that frankly I would never order anywhere else. It was as good as I have enjoyed, with very fresh spinach cooked just right.

The staff explained that everything at The Bancroft is prepared on premises if possible. That includes the fresh breads, the pickles, the ice cream and baked goods. The vegetables are obtained locally.

We ended out meal with a dessert of fresh berries and lemon sorbet.  It was clean and refreshing, and with the berries in season it was just what we hoped for.  Brandon, on the other hand, went for the chocolate lava cake, his favorite.  Joe accepted his request for a substitution – chocolate ice cream for the fancier gelato – with a smile.  No problem, he told our son.  “I’d order it that way too, dude,” he said.

Now, by way of disclaimer, the main dining room at The Bancroft is a place to celebrate a milestone or lifecycle event.  With entrees range from $24 to $41 and steaks from $29 to $59, excluding the $84 Tomahawk rib steak served for two, the dinner .  However, the restaurant offers a lunch menu that appears to be available at other times as a bar menu.  The prices are much more in line with a State Rep’s budget, with entrees ranging from Tuna Nicoise at $19 to the grilled lamb chops at $28, and then including two of the dinner steaks at prices consistent with that menu.

In fact, on my first trip to The Bancroft I enjoyed the lobster roll at lunch. The meat was fresh, not frozen, made with a small amount of house mayo so the sweetness of the lobster shined through.  My dining partners ordered from the salad menu, and raved about the grilled chicken Caesar ($17) and lobster cob, with green goddess dressing, soft egg and radish ($21).

But with the flavor of that T-Bone still in my memory, I will be sure it won’t take another year for me to come back.  This is a place to keep in mind the next time you celebrate an anniversary, a graduation, or a birthday. Come to think of it, my birthday is two days before Flavors of Bedford.  And Joe from Winthrop has a few more dishes to suggest!
 
Ken-Gordon--head-shot600Ken Gordon is Bedford’s State Representative in the Massachusetts legislature, a member of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, and a former restaurant reviewer on the North Shore. 

By agreement with the Bedford Chamber, he does not announce visits to restaurants participating in Flavors of Bedford, so can objectively file these reports.

Gordon’s reviews will focus on restaurants participating in Flavors of Bedford, a fundraising event for the Bedford Chamber of Commerce.

 2015 Flavors of BedfordFlavors of Bedford will take place from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday November 8 at the Doubletree Bedford Glen Hotel, 44 Middlesex Turnpike in Bedford. Tickets are $40 per person, with special senior and group rates. For more information and to buy tickets visit https://www.flavorsofbedford.org/tickets.html.  

Flavors of Bedford benefits the Bedford Chamber of Commerce, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Friends of Hanscom, an organization that supports military personnel at Hanscom Air Base in Bedford and though out New England.


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