There have always been two Marthas: Martha the Powerful and Martha the Tasteful. At least, that’s according to New York Times critic (and notable celeb restaurant panner) Pete Wells, who popped over to Vegas to write a review of Martha Stewart’s Bedford restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip.
He explains that to eat at the Bedford is to realize the former incarnation of Martha has put her name on a restaurant whose details would never meet the approval of the latter. Wells’ take: for a personality who has built her reputation on details, even the smallest elements of tastelessness within her restaurant merit scrutiny.
Here is what Wells had to say about some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes:
If you order a baked potato, one will be presented by a server, raised high in the air and brought down with a resounding thud on the surface of a tableside potato cart. I somehow doubt that Ms. Stewart slaps baked potatoes on a cart when she has friends over for dinner. It seems even less likely that a potato at her table would be lukewarm, like the $15.95 one I was served at the Bedford.
The roast chicken, which costs $89.95, was on its way toward room temperature, too. Steak tartare, $27.95, was distractingly sweet, as if it had been made with honey mustard instead of Dijon. The cream seemed to have been left out of oysters Rockefeller, $29.95.
He did note one bright spot on the menu:
The bread basket was a showcase of baking skills, from the cherry focaccia to the snowshoe-shaped crackers with sage leaves and thinly shaved vegetables embedded in the crust. It’s $11.95, and worth it.
Moreover, Wells took issue with some of the ambient elements of the restaurant. In a setting hyped to mirror the experience of dining at Stewart’s actual home, he doubts that Stewart would air on a football game during dinner, like the large wide-screen TVs located behind the bar were. He also wonders if the clear disposable water cup he was offered may have been off-brand for the lifestyle icon.
Ultimately, he aims to determine the exact nature of her involvement in the project, and lands on this:
The Bedford is not Ms. Stewart’s “first restaurant,” as many news reports have said. It is not, in fact, “hers” at all. She is neither an owner nor the chef. It is almost certainly, however, the first Martha Stewart-themed restaurant.
The Bedford opened on August 13 at the Paris Las Vegas and has received generally positive reception. The French-ish restaurant is open for dinner from 5 to 10:30 p.m. daily with reservations available online, but not required.