By Casey Kaplan
Bedford’s haute cuisine…is now being served in Las Vegas!
Martha Stewart has opened a new restaurant in the Paris Hotel on the Vegas Strip – somewhat-eponymously named The Bedford by Martha Stewart. The open kitchen, dining areas, and overall design of the restaurant mimics Martha’s own home here in Bedford! …And the menu is all Martha! Her favorite recipes and her favorite foods – like her Mom’s Pierogies, but with caviar her Mom never contemplated – and her favorite drinks, like the Martha-tini!
Most important, the food and drinks are five star!
In addition to my role as President of Bedford & New Canaan Magazine, I am also the #1 Food Influencer in New Orleans with my Instagram @nolagourmand. It’s something I developed while eating my way through New Orleans as a Tulane undergrad and graduate student. I call it nolagourmand, meaning nola = New Orleans, Louisiana, and gourmand, meaning a person who enjoys eating and often eats too much! …That’s me! …And as the Chief Eating Officer of @nolagourmand, I’ve now been on thousands of media dinners, and have been reviewing what I eat for a dedicated following for about a decade…
…we tried one – or maybe more than one – of the Frozen Pomegranate Martha-ritas with Casa Dragones blanco tequila, Cointreau, pomegranate juice, sugar and salt rim – which was bright and tangy, and a perfect companion to any fried selection and to the fish; the Classic Martha-rita, with the same ingredients sans pomegranate juice and shaken – a classic indeed, the perfect blend for the perfect Margarita – although we reordered the Frozen Pomegranate version over the Classic; the Meyer Lemon Drop with Belvedere vodka, Meyer lemon juice and sugar rim – a sufficiently sweet selection and a delightful Drop that we all tasted with dessert, and; Martha’s Perfect Manhattan, with Woodford Reserve bourbon, sweet and dry vermouths, Angostura bitters and luxardo cherries, that was a hit with the two Manhattan-officiates at the table.
…We started the food with the Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with lemon, spinach and Parmigiano- Reggiano…and someone nearly lost a finger going for the last piece…so we ordered a second to share. The Crab Cake – and I repeat I’m the #1 Food Influencer in the seafood-city of New Orleans – was the best I’ve ever had!!! Jumbo lump crab meat with roasted yellow peppers and celeriac slaw were encrusted in a breaded shell, for the perfect mix of rich flavor balanced with a hint of lemon. The Classic Nicoise Salad was, as it’s called, classic. The colorful f resh salad, olive oil-packed tuna, haricot verts, vermouth-dressed potatoes, hard-cooked egg and anchovy vinaigrette would itself make for the perfect meal on any other day.
…we had the Lemon Risotto with caramelized fennel, which was creamy and light – the way it’s supposed to be; the Bucatini with lemon capers, anchovies and toasted sourdough breadcrumbs, which was delish, with al dente pasta, cooked in a tasty olive oil, and served with a woody, warm topping, and; Big Martha’s Pierogies (potato filling with brown butter) with Golden Osetra Caviar and sourcream…and then another two orders of that!!! Big Martha’s Pierogies, which border on the gnocchi side of things for their softness and the way you can really taste the potato, are a special tribute to Martha’s Polish descent. …And come to think of it, Big Martha’s Pierogies are – like the Crab Cakes – the best I’ve ever had!!!
…were spectacular! The 32 Oz. Prime Bone-in Ribeye and Martha’s Smashed Bake Potato are prepared table-side by a dedicated Chef. The way the Chef cut and displayed the steak was not just attractive, it serves the purpose of maximizing the perfect cuts without having to demonstrate one’s carving skills while drinking and dining. And the way he smashed the baked potato might not have been the thing that made it taste so good… but it definitely didn’t hurt (except, maybe, the potato!). The Halibut and Corn Chowder was sublime. The Halibut was simply perfect, and the corn chowder added a complimentary sweet flavor to the dish.
…By the time dessert rolled around, we were pushing up against curtain time to see The Beatles Love Show – a must-see on any visit to Vegas – and so we skipped ice cream and after-dinner drinks… But – not to worry – we did manage to save room and time for three outstanding dessert selections: the Milk Chocolate Pistachio Tart with Sicilian pistachios and fresh whipped cream – that had a deep Dutch bittersweet flavor and was the right balance between mousse and fudge; the Classic Creme Brulee – which we would rate ‘better-than- Classic’ for its light brulee and thicker glazed crust, and; the piece-de-la-resistance, the Upside- down Lemon Meringue Pie – which wasn’t really so ‘upside-down’ as it was delicious. The lemon pudding in this treat, which leaned from pudding to chiffon, came hidden under a bubble-shaped top made more of a marzipan than a meringue. It was exceptional, and in honor of The Beatles, I nicknamed it the ‘Yellow Submarine’.
I always like to be able to look into a brightly-lit, clean kitchen to watch a team of dedicated Chefs in clean white uniforms, moving with military precision, devoted to every detail of the food I’m going to eat…and getting it just right! And the dining area in The Bedford really does look and feel like Martha’s Bedford home – with the same subtle gray and putty tones, white marble tabletops, comfortable upholstery, and even one of Martha’s dark marble fireplaces with an American Bullseye mirror over the mantle.
Everything about The Bedford is most certainly Martha!
With her legendary attention to detail, she’s overseen every aspect of the restaurant’s concept, design and decor, and she’s determined each of the food and beverage recipes. …And, no surprise, like everything Martha does, The Bedford is a success!
…I’m starting a petition to get Martha to open her next The Bedford… IN BEDFORD!