For her first restaurant, Stewart chooses a location not known for its good manners: Las Vegas
Martha Stewart’s first book was titled Entertaining, so maybe it was just a matter of time before she debuted in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. The 81-year-old lifestyle maven’s first restaurant, The Bedford by Martha Stewart, opened at the Paris Las Vegas hotel in August, with room for 194 guests in a cozy alcove designed to be a replica—albeit three times the size—of the dining room in her 1925 Westchester County, New York, farmhouse.
Calling from home just days after the restaurant’s glitzy opening, Stewart lays out why she chose Sin City for her maiden voyage as a restaurateur: “It’s European, Asian, American. It’s rich. It’s poor. It’s a city that has so many millions of visitors every single year. You sorta get a good idea if a concept is good or not, so it’s a very good testing ground for a restaurant.” Regarding the concept for her place, she explains that she set out to create something Vegas lacks: a sense of calm. “It’s a relaxing, beautiful respite during a very hectic day in a busy, busy place like Las Vegas,” she says. “Nothing loud. Nothing aggravating. No ostentation. Nothing much to distract, besides all the glass in the vitrines.”
Vitrines are what we non-Martha commoners call glass cabinets, and the ones that line the walls of The Bedford are full of stunning kitchenware (which can be purchased at Stewart’s online store). “Everything, you see—every chair, every fork, every dish—was hand-selected. Nothing was left to choice… well,” she adds with a laugh, “anyone else’s choice.”
The food is equally tasteful, with a menu polished by Stewart’s personal chef, Pierre Schaedelin, of Le Cirque fame. (He trained the staff, including executive chef Brian Stroud.) The whole roasted chicken is brined overnight, finished in a brick pizza oven, and carved tableside to showcase its herbal stuffing. The Niçoise salad is simple but sumptuous. And only Stewart could transform a humble baked potato into a star: It’s smashed table-side “to get it fluffier than you can imagine,” she explains. An indulgent addition of caviar is highly recommended—or try a similar pairing of sturgeon eggs with the potato-stuffed Big Martha’s Pierogis, made from Stewart’s mother’s recipe.
“Caviar is pretty common in my background,” says Stewart, who is of Polish descent. “My 10-year-old grandson has been eating gobs of caviar since he was born, and he can tell the difference between osetra and sevruga. We love caviar—even the vegetarians in my family devour it.”
Another reference to Stewart’s heritage can be found in the one menu item she calls a “must-have,” the exquisite martini—called the Martha-tini, of course—made with Polish Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka, which gives it a crisp, herbal, vanilla lift. The drink is also prepared tableside, and it’s served from a shaker that has its own handle and spout.
So much of the experience feels personal—as if you really are dining at Stewart’s house—but don’t expect to run into the proprietor; she keeps very busy. “We’re already talking about a second restaurant,” she says. “You know, I have several houses, so we’re talking about another house concept.” She adds, however, that she’ll happily return to Vegas at the behest of her unlikely bestie, Snoop Dogg, who surprised her at The Bedford’s grand opening. “Now he wants a restaurant,” Stewart says, laughing. “I want his restaurant to be right next door.”