Chef Kerry Simon’s Carson Kitchen has gotten some great reviews since it opened in June of 2014, and it’s well worth venturing a block off Fremont East to enjoy a menu that’s full of quirky, surprising dishes with a focus on shared plates.
Carson Kitchen is at the intersection of Sixth Street and Carson Avenue, in the renovated John E. Carson Building. The building is also home to O Face Doughnuts, Bud & Vine (a flower shop), the new Bocho Downtown Sushi and other small businesses.
Carson Kitchen can be a little tough to spot at first, but again, well worth finding.
The restaurant has two levels, including a charming upstairs patio. There’s a full bar both upstairs and downstairs, so either works fine for this blog.
In case you’ve never heard of Kerry Simon, he’s the chef behind a couple of Las Vegas restaurants, KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers at Harrah’s and Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palms Place.
Simon was once dubbed the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Chef” by Rolling Stone magazine (because of all his musician friends and customers), and he stepped into the national spotlight when he won a hamburger battle on “Iron Chef America” in 2005.
The ailing chef (Simon was diagnosed in 2013 with Multiple System Atrophy, a terminal illness) was very much involved in creating the menu at Carson Kitchen, and it reflects his thoughtful, often-playful culinary sensibilities.
On with the food.
Because the menu features lots of small plates, called “Social Plates” on the menu, you’ll get to try a few dishes and explore flavors you may never have experienced before.
Nothing too crazy or exotic, and since it’s downtown, nothing pretentious. Just some food that’s fun and value-priced, especially when compared to similar restaurants on The Strip.
Check out the full Carson Kitchen menu.
We hear Kerry Simon still visits Carson Kitchen often, but the day-to-day duties are left to Executive Chef Matt Andrews. Read an interview with Andrews.
Also on the modest menu are burgers, flat breads, “Meat and Fish” items and “Farm and Garden” selections.
One of our favorites was the Wellington Empanada ($10).
The menu also features desserts like a Bourbon Fudge Brownie and Glazed Donut Bread Pudding.
Oh, and Kerry Simon’s take on Twinkies.
Overall, the service is friendly, although a little inconsistent at times. As we mentioned, there’s liquor, so who even notices such things?
At Kerry Simon’s Carson Kitchen, the prices are right, the vibe is laid-back and the menu is a testament to a chef whose personality shines through even in the midst of the fight of his life.
Kerry Simon's Carson Kitchen