How The Bedford by Martha Stewart has changed my holiday menu

The Bedford by Martha Stewart, photo by Cristine Struble
The Bedford by Martha Stewart, photo by Cristine Struble /

When The Bedford by Martha Stewart opened in Caesar’s Paris Las Vegas, much was said about this glimpse into her world. From the rooms and décor that borrow from her 1925 farmhouse to the menu items that reflect her love of French cooking, seasonal ingredients, and family traditions, the table welcomes guests with a warm sentiment. Looking to add some good things to my holiday menu, two dishes from the The Bedford by Martha Stewart inspired not only the flavor but the presentation coming to the big gathering.

When the holidays appear, many people look to family recipes and traditions to fill the table. From grandma’s gravy to dad wanting to fry that turkey (and mom having a back-up version roasting in the oven), all those stories and moments flavor the food on the table. Regardless of how many times the story about how my sister-in-law set me on fire is told, the aroma of singed hair never seems to go away.

Although memories and laughter make the meal complete, sometimes the classic menu needs an update. After dining at The Bedford by Martha Stewart, two ideas are changing the food on the table this year.

For those unfamiliar with the restaurant located on the first floor of Paris Las Vegas, a Caesars property, the menu is approachable. This food is not about tweezers, 50 ingredients, and a dictionary or a map to decipher the dish. It is about food that tastes good because it is intentional without the fussiness.

Sometimes a forgotten art, two menu items are presented tableside, the whole roasted chicken and Martha’s Smashed Baked Potato. Although these menu items might not be as splashy as the cocktails at Vanderpump Paris, the presentation lets diners know that they are in for a treat.

As staff expertly breaks down the chicken, the knife work is like a carefully crafted dance. A cut here, a pivot there, and in few turns the whole chicken is plated. As diners take that first bite, the juicy, tender chicken is delightful. Yes, a beautifully roasted chicken can be that good.

Applying this idea to my holiday meal, the idea is not necessarily about being able to expertly carve a turkey at the table. It is about the simplicity of a beautifully roasted poultry. Putting aside the need for a cacophony of spices or unusual flavors from popular snacks, the simple idea of letting the bird shine is imperative for this holiday meal.

This year, the idea is to use some simple Herbs de Provance, citrus, and let the bird’s flavor be the star. Even if there is some jus on the side, all the “others” are just noise that clouds the experience.

The second idea from the Bedford by Martha Stewart that is appearing on my holiday table is the smashed baked potato. Although mashed potatoes are a popular Thanksgiving side dish, it can be difficult to find a recipe that everyone likes. Even if those Robuchon potatoes might be legendary, some people are just too particular to please. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone to have a potato to their liking.

Serving individual baked potatoes can be that solution. Whether someone wants a pound of butter slathering that spud or would prefer to pile it high with turkey, vegetables, and gravy, it is a version of choose your own adventure.

Even more importantly, Martha’s Smashed Baked Potatoes are all about the presentation. Served tableside, there is nothing more gratifying than slamming a baked potato on a table to break it open. Whether it stops another uncomfortable conversation or breaks the tension around the table, that first smash will get everyone’s attention.

Sometimes enjoying a special dinner lasts far longer than the few hours at the table. While the flavors linger in the mind and the conversation can be replayed, how that experience influences the diner becomes meaningful. From taking an idea and employing it at their own table to sharing the experience with others, the best dining experiences are ones find a new way to be enjoyed again.

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