Devil’s Eggs – Crispy Pancetta, Caviar
Bacon Jam – Baked Brie, Toasted Baguette
Watermelon & Feta – Tajín, Fresh Lemon, Cucumber
BLTA – Romaine Hearts, Tomato Vinaigrette
Tempura Green Beans – Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese
Baked Mac & Cheese – Shhh, it’s a Secret
Butter Burger – Boursin, Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato served with Spicy Tots
Secret Sunday Chicken – Spicy Pickle Aioli served with Spicy Tots
Bourbon Fudge Brownie – Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream
Glazed Donut Bread Pudding – Three Rum Caramel, Vanilla Crème Anglaise
Berry Hand Pies – Blueberry, Ginger, Gin
Although Carson Kitchen is always the best reason to be in DTLV it is infrequent that more than one visit is made throughout the course of a menu, yet with a half-day off due to out of town guests and the Restaurant having recently undergone major renovations it was as a party of two that lunch was enjoyed at the new Chef’s Counter, Cory Harwell and his staff once again presenting a wonderful product across four courses of old classics plus a few soon-to-be-retired favorites.
Now old enough to be said to have “withstood the test of time,” a somewhat nebulous definition in Las Vegas where Restaurants occasionally shutter within three months of opening, Carson Kitchen as of 10/9/17 now features two-dozen additional seats in addition to a new entrance, the former Tattoo Parlor next door now demolished and replaced by a proper Bar area while the former space has been opened up to the West without losing any of its intimacy and charm, the only other major difference being new countertops replacing wood with slick stone surfaces.
Given a brief tour and rundown of the changes before sitting down, Chef Harwell appropriately excited when talking about this project and his upcoming “Ally Cat” slated for 2018, it was with tunes from U2 playing that Iced Tea was requested before the meal began, the opening act consisting of Carson Kitchen’s day-one combo of “Devil’s Eggs” with crispy Pork and a bit of Caviar plus the oft-imitated but not yet improved upon Bacon Jam.
Moving along from appetizers to Salads, every last drop of Bacon and Brie slathered on toasted Bread, it was along with an order of Cory’s simple but splendid Tempura Green Beans that the soon-to-disappear BLTA was served next to Watermelon and crumbled Feta tossed with Onions, Citrus and Tajin spice, everything about each of these still speaking of Summer and both hopefully returning when the weather begins to turn hot once again.
Rounding out savories with two classic Sandwiches and Carson Kitchen’s “Secret” Macaroni and Cheese, the latter even better than usual as not-quite-melted cubes of White Cheddar offered a textural contrast and big pockets of flavor besides the Noodles, it was without a second thought that “all three” Desserts finished things off, the fudgy Brownie still among the city’s best while the soon-disappearing Hand Pies were crisp and flaky with even more herbal flavor than last time…oh, yeah, and the Donut Bread Pudding…that is still just as sweet and sticky as ever.
FIVE STARS: Now bigger but without losing its charm, the Dinner crowd likely to only wait half as long for a table while those simply looking for a Drink can pop-in and turn right, Carson Kitchen continues to hum along on the strength of its Kitchen and Mixology as well as its price-point, an unmitigated success that compares favorably to any such place in Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles or even overseas.
RECOMMENDED: Bacon Jam, Tempura Green Beans, Watermelon and Feta, Secret Sunday Chicken, Glazed Donut Bread Pudding, Bourbon Fudge Brownie.
AVOID: The disappointment you are likely to feel when you enter the new bathroom and realize the kitschy pig mirror was broken during construction…the search for its replacement ongoing.
TIP: New Menu coming early-mid November.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.