EinstÖk Arctic Pale Ale
Cheese & Crackers – Piquillo Pub Cheese, Lavash
Pork Wings – Buffalo Bleu Beurre Blanc
Evening Prayer – St. George Citrus Vodka, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Contratto Bianco
Plum & Pecorino – Candied Almond, Rosemary Date Vin
Crispy Chicken Skins – Smoked Honey
Peach Panzenella – Tomato, Zucchini, Tomato Peach Vin
Everything Bagel Flatbread – Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese Mascarpone, Capers, Pickled Onions
Imagining Beaches in Bigfork, MT – Novo Fogo Chameleon Cachaça, Whistling Andy Hibiscus Coconut Rum, Lime, Cointreau, Luxardo Maraschno
Black Kale & Watermelon – Manchego, Walnut, Lemon Mint Vin
Wild Mushroom Flatbread – Tikka Masala, Smoked Mozzarella, Spicy Tomato
Machu Peach-U – Smith & Cross Jamaica Rum, Giffard Crème de Pêche, Barso Pisco, Lemon, Lime, Bar Keep Saffron Bitters, Egg White
Red Radish – Baby Bok Choy, Miso Honey Butter, Cashew
Sugar Snap Peas – Smoked Paprika Butter, Harrisa Cream
Chicken Thighs Alabama – White Barbeque
Lamb Spiedies – House Giardiniera, Garlic Aioli, Spicy Tots, Ketchup
The Family Jewel – Tattersall Barreled Gin, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, Génépy de Alpes, Regan’s Bitters #6
Peach Upside-Down Cake – Crafthaus Zitrone, Whipped Mascarpone
Bourbon Fudge Brownie – Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream
Making it a seasonal tradition to sit down at Carson Kitchen and taste the new menu it was alongside three others that a hot and humid – relatively speaking – night saw the Restaurant half-full, Scott Simon in the kitchen and Matthew Harwell watching over servers that seem to change frequently but never miss a beat.
Still the best reason to be eating downtown even as competition has mounted, Kerry Simon’s dream as executed and carried on by Cory Harwell never shy to try new things and challenge diners with big flavors or new ingredients, Summer 2018 sees some twelve new plates join classics such as Chicken Skins, Bacon Jam and other ideas since copped by others elsewhere, the bar program also introducing four new Cocktails from which both the creamy Machu Peach-U and cumbersomely-named but equally complicated “Imagining Beaches in Bigfork, MT” warrant attention.
Perhaps the biggest wholesale menu change in years, the Trout Rillettes of Spring giving way to a jar of chunky Cheese topped in Peppers that is good but not on par with what The Goodwich is doing by way of their Baa-mento in terms of creaminess or Crackers, it was in follow-up that “Pork Wings” impressed thanks to crisp cubes that visually look laminated by fat and taste great without being overwhelmingly hot.
Always impressing with Produce, the “gastro-pub” feel of a place with exposed ceilings and cement floors making this fact all the more noteworthy, it would be difficult to suggest one new Salad over the other if forced to decide between refreshing Plums & Pecorino or Peach Panzenella though the later certainly eats more hearty thanks to housemade Croutons, a personal distaste for Mint unfortunately making Black Kale & Watermelon a distant third place though no one else at the table seemed to enjoy chewing and chewing and chewing to be rewarded by a rare piece of Fruit or Nut either.
Changing up both Flatbreads for the Summer, the “Everything” idea spreading across the nation from Donuts to Choux to Metro Pizza’s off-menu Instagram favorite making Carson Kitchen’s enjoyable but less unique, those looking for something truly special would be better off ordering six crisp slices of Mushroom Tikka Masala punched up by Tomatoes marinated with fire, another spicy Veg-friendly dish featuring Snap Peas served like Edamame also recommendable.
Rare to pass up the aforementioned Chicken Skins when dining as a group, a still-iconic dish at any time during the feast, fans of Chicken who’ve somehow had enough of Cory’s Secret Sunday Sandwich should be thrilled to see boneless Thighs brought back with Alabama-style Sauce, each bite developing in waves with a creamy Citrus finish while the Upstate New York icon of Lamb Spiedies unfortunately sees Protein buried and indistinguishable beneath too many of Chicago’s famous pickled Vegetables.
Rounding out savories with “Red Radish,” another smart Farm & Garden dish that follows the semi-sweet line of thinking from Winter’s Caramel Creamed Corn, it was once again that Dinner at Carson Kitchen had to end with the best Brownie in Sin City, but not before also enjoying the fresh and fruity Peach Upside-Down Cake that eats far lighter than most might imagine.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Taking on immense flavors and reinterpreting some classic dishes Summer at Carson Kitchen falls a bit short at times by being too aggressive, though as usual the vast majority of plates both new and old set a high standard while service and setting are hip yet comfortable…save for those backless metal stools.
RECOMMENDED: Machu Peach-U, Pork Wings, Crispy Chicken Skins, Peach Panzenella, Plum & Pecorino, Wild Mushroom Flatbread, Red Radish, Chicken Thighs Alabama, Peach Upside-Down Cake, Bourbon Fudge Brownie.
AVOID: Black Kale & Watermelon needs more of everything but Mint and Kale, Lamb Spiedies need less Giardiniera, The Family Jewel needs a tougher man than this one.
TIP: In case you didn’t already know, Reservations for 6+ are available online via Resy or Gather while smaller parties remain Walk-in only.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.