#Simonsays Sangria – White Wine, Sparkling Wine, Peach Puree, Lemon
The Magarian – Aviation Gin, Thyme & Honey Syrup, Fresh Lemon, Mr. Q Cumber Soda
Tricky Vic – Gosling’s Black Rum, Gosling’s Sugar Island Spiced Rum, Cointreau, Velvet Falernum, Fresh Lime, Pineapple, Rhubarb Bitters
Get Shorty! – El Jimador Tequila, Grapefruit, Fresh Lime, Cayenne Simple Syrup
Devil’s Eggs, Crispy Pancetta, Caviar
Fried Green Tomatoes, Lump Crab Ravigote
Gyro Tacos, Lamb, Tzatziki, Feta, Tomato
Wok Charred Edamame, Ginger Salt, Tõgarashi
Tempura Green Beans, Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese
Killer Shrimp, Rocoto and Aji Amarillo Pepper Cream
Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, Crispy Fennel, Orange Aioli with Spicy Tots and Ketchup
Black Rice & Oxtail Risotto, Parmesan Cream, Gremolata
Butter Burger, Boursin Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato with Spicy Tots and Ketchup
Secret Sunday Chicken, Spicy Pickle Aioli with Spicy Tots and Ketchup
Peach Upside-Down Cake, Crafthaus Zitrone, Whipped Mascarpone
Bourbon Fudge Brownie, Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream
Glazed Donut Bread Pudding, Three Rum Caramel, Vanilla Crème Anglaise
There is no denying Downtown Las Vegas has developed tremendously over the past five years, from East Fremont to The Arts District, and although competition is now tougher than ever Carson Kitchen continues to pack the house from open to close as a result of good Food, delicious Drinks, great service and fair prices.
Nothing less than iconic entering its sixth year, a milestone reached by less than a quarter of Restaurants nationwide (and likely far less in Sin City,) it was impromptu that four guests stopped in at 7:30pm, greetings at the hostess podium yielding unclaimed seats near the window where a young man named Roman offered excellent recommendations as well as descriptions for guests who jokingly claimed to be first-timers.
Obviously far from the truth in terms of patronage, this visit actually number seventeen including every menu since Summer of 2015, it was after listening to stories of “founders” Cory Harwell and Kerry Simon that four Cocktails arrived, Matthew Harwell’s creativity continuing to impress from Sangria to Tricky Vic and Get Shorty!, though much like day one The Magarian remains unsurpassed thanks to an herbaceous top-note lifted by restrained sweetness and effervescence.
Ordering a la carte from Carson Kitchen’s current “Greatest Hits” menu, a celebration of the Restaurant’s past as well as the upcoming expansion, it was opting for dishes not tasted in some time that “Devil’s Eggs” arrived quickly, the request from a woman who “never thought I’d like Caviar” attesting to Cory’s longtime goal of making esoteric Ingredients accessible to those who may not have previously known any better.
Next up, Fried Green Tomatoes, a dish concocted by Georgia-born Harwell and carefully prepared by Chef Scott Simon, it was beneath tangy Crab Meat that all three rounds delighted guests before transitioning to “Gyro Tacos” and charred Edamame that both also shine thanks to complex spices and a touch of acid.
Continuing with Tempura-battered Green Beans, the more-sweet-than-spicy Cream Cheese another southern staple, it was after hearing a story about a former Chef nixing “Killer Shrimp” that the dish was revisited after sixteen months, its textural comparison to Chinese Walnut Prawns undeniable though the use of Peruvian Peppers give each bite subtle yet sustaining fire.
Revisiting Oxtail Risotto for the first time in three years, and vowing to never go so long again after one bite of creamy Rice and Cheese, it was “Between Bread” that entrees were offered, the Secret Sunday Chicken recently featured on bestofvegas predictably outstanding while the Butter Burger cooked medium-rare and Wild Boar Sloppy Joe are both crafted with an eye on balance in terms of taste as well as texture.
A bit overwhelmed by three cones of Tots, a doggy bag trip to the oven doing little to dampen their crunchy appeal, it was with Iced Tea in hand and The National playing overhead that Dessert was ordered, Peach Cake with Mascarpone proving super for summer while Donut Bread Pudding bathed in Rum and Bourbon Brownies with housemade Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream remain every bit the delight they were when first debuted 61 months prior.
FIVE STARS: Poised for expansion five years after making downtown Las Vegas a dining destination, Carson Kitchen’s Summer menu takes a look back at some of Kerry, Cory as well as Matthew’s greatest recipes and brings back fond memories for many while re-introducing the ideas that got them there to others.
RECOMMENDED: The Magarian, Tricky Vic, Fried Green Tomatoes, Tempura Green Beans, Killer Shrimp, Secret Sunday Chicken, Wild Boar Sloppy Joe, Peach Upside-Down Cake, Bourbon Fudge Brownie.
TIP: Greatest Hits will be available through October, 11:30a-10:00p Sunday through Thursday and till 11:00pm on Friday as well as Saturday.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.