Martha Stewart opens The Bedford restaurant in Las Vegas

Las Vegas rolled out the red carpet for Martha Stewart recently, and she walked it with purpose and a touch of entertainment royalty, all in celebration of the grand opening of her first-ever restaurant, The Bedford by Martha Stewart.

Located in the Paris, Stewart, looking elegant in a flowing, yellow gown with fluttery ostrich feather sleeves and a pair of jaw-dropping earrings by Yves St. Laurent, held court in a crowd of super fans, industry types and beloved friends, including her best bud, Snoop Dogg, who took her by surprise when he showed up to help celebrate.

Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo also joined her, in a crowd made up of well-known culinary personalities and stars, including award-winning chef and lifetime James Beard recipient Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook).

Guests were treated to her signature dishes including Oysters Rockefeller that had been baked with Pernod cream, spinach, watercress and a parsley breadcrumb topping, along with refreshing red and yellow gazpacho shots, a variety of salads and a small mountain of desserts.

Why Las Vegas? Stewart was asked. “I love Las Vegas – years ago I actually decorated the Bellagio for Christmas,” she responded, adding that, although she once had a small cafe that “was loads of fun,” she always longed for her own restaurant. “I had an appetite to do something bigger – and here were are,” saying partnering with Caesars Entertainment for this venture “has been fantastic.”

And Stewart’s new restaurant is an ode to the charm found in her personal home: the restaurant is totally inspired by her 1925 country farmhouse in Bedford, New York, and includes an accurate replica of her own brown faux-bois (false wood) dining room. There’s not one inch of the beautifully-detailed restaurant that is not a reflection of the legendary lifestyle maven’s identity. The decor, curated by Martha herself and her team, is understated elegance thanks to its subtle and neutral colour scheme, as well as simple yet elegant furnishings. From the dishes to the glasses to the wall sconces, to how some angles in the restaurant gives one a sense of gazing out into Martha’s backyard, the restaurant is a true reflection of her lifestyle.

In fact, if one didn’t know better, you’d think you had been invited to eat in Stewart’s real farmhouse back in Bedford, instead of the glitz of Las Vegas.

As for the food – it’s pure Martha with a menu that bears many of her signature dishes, including sour cherry- rosemary focaccia and warm Parker House rolls, along with halibut and corn chowder with clams and tomato confit, a whole roasted chicken (carved tableside) where the skin is lifted and stuffed with herbed breadcrumbs and yes – even Big Martha’s Pierogis with a potato and brown butter filling is on the menu. It can be ordered with a side of Golden Ostra caviar and sour cream. There’s also her famous “smashed” baked potato – potato is loudly smacked down in front of you to release a super-fluffy interior!

For dessert we suggest you drop everything and dive into her signature upside-down lemon meringue pie, a fluffy, sinfully smooth concoction that’ll have you order extra to take home.

In a special brunch to a select group of invited guests that Stewart hosted in the main dining room of the 196-seat restaurant the next day, she spoke of her excitement at having partnered with Caesars, basing her success on finding the right partners who share the same visions. “If you don’t find people similar to you, you’re not going to make it,” said Stewart. That includes attention to excellence in every section of her restaurant, as well as how crucial food presentation is.

Martha is pure Martha at this point — telling people to start eating, and holding court. How tight is she with Snoop? “We’re very close, old friends in fact, from when he first appeared on my show many years ago…and where he made brownies,” she deadpans to the delight of the guests.

And then someone asks her who has she admired the most? To which the 81-year-old culinary icon pauses for a moment, softens slightly and says, “my mom. At 94, she was as sharp as ever, read the New York Times cover-to-cover every day and never complained about a thing. She was a school teacher who raised six kids and to this day I meet people who say ‘your mom was my teacher’ – this means a lot to me. When she passed away I had no idea how many people attended her service – it was shocking. The outpouring of love and affection was incredible.”

What are her plans for the restaurant’s future? “Wait til you see what’s coming for Christmas!” she smiled. And  knowing Martha, it’s going to be epic.