19 south Whitehorse Road
The rambling 18th century structure that is now inhabited by Becca's has been home to numerous commercial enterprises over the course of the years. Most recently, the Twin Bays Café (which I reviewed in February 2007) shared space with Abbe's Flower Garden.
Becca's, however, now utilizes the entire building; and the interior, which was a rustic, quirky affair, is now sedate, warm, and sophisticated. The transformation has been remarkable, especially the downstairs dining area, which has been completely renovated and enlarged. There are certain restaurants that make you feel at home the moment you cross the threshold... and Becca's is definitively one of them.
Ambient attributes notwithstanding, however, it is chef/proprietor Robert Bahm's innovative seasonally-driven cuisine sustained by locally-grown, completely organic ingredients that is the main drawing card here. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and an alumnus of several highly esteemed kitchens, including the award-winning Taquet Restaurant in Wayne, Mr. Bahm' creative culinary touch succeeds in beguiling both the eye and the palate.
As the cold weather sets in, soups make marvelous starters,,, The black bean soup ($7.00), for example, is utterly sensuous, seductively seasoned, and adorned with crisscrosses of a decidedly zesty garlic aioli; and the purée of hubbard squash companioned by irresistible nutmeg crostini is every bit its equal.
On the other hand, who can resist the considerable charms of chilled slivers of Peking duck embraced in the arms of a crispy spring roll cup and kissed by an enticing Asian sesame vinaigrette ($13.00)? You also can't go wrong with either the eye-catching heirloom tomato and fresh mozzarella Napoleon or the sautéed jumbo shrimp. The former is dressed in micro arugula, triple balsamic reduction, and basil-infused olive oil; the latter comes replete with applewood smoked bacon and a zippy chive-horseradish sauce.
Entrées, of course, continue the kitchen's superlative work... Beef lovers will positively revel in the Australian Wagyu filet mignon ($30.00). The filet's velvety texture is only surpassed by its depth of flavor,,, significantly enhanced via an exotically earthy wild mushroom demi-glace and generous dollop of benchmark roasted garlic Yukon gold mashed potatoes.
The sautéed organic duck breast ($27.00) is another absolute must. Rich, succulent slices are augmented by a palate-pleasing cinnamon demi-glace, and both are perfectly complemented through the provocative ministrations of a superlative sweet potato mousseline.
Mr. Bahm knows instinctively which combinations of ingredients will work - and, more importantly, which will not - and thus far, in my experience, his coalescence of culinary components has been impeccable.
And the chef is as adept at treasures of the sea as he is in meatier matters... His pan-seared diver scallops are accompanied by a delicious wild mushroom and asparagus risotto drizzled with shallot confit sauce ($29.00); tuna filet mignon is teamed with wasabi mashed potatoes and baby bok choy ($29.00); and his oven-roasted cod is served over a Yukon gold potato gratin and consummated with a sage and spinach nage ($25.00).
Desserts also do not disappoint. Particularly recommended is a lusciously ripe assortment of seasonal berries with caramel gratin ($7.00) and the "Chocolate Symphony," a delightfully decadent mélange of white & dark chocolate mousse and chocolate truffles ($10.00).
In my opinion, Becca's is the most exciting culinary property to hit town since Majolica shook up the restaurant scene several years ago. I recommend it highly.
The Artful Diner
Diner is an independent, freelance food writer. His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.
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