Carson Kitchen
Continues to Shine

Simon Hospitality Group Culinary Director John Courtney recently treated me to a tasting of his new menu at Carson Kitchen. The downtown Las Vegas restaurant has made a point of sourcing the freshest possible ingredients and using farm-to-table products from local and regional farmers, which is one of the reasons the menu changes three to four times a year.

Items new to the menu that I sampled were Cheesesteak Pierogi, which uses a housemade cheese whiz that is made from a saffron white wine reduction; Blackened Catfish Sandwich with spring pea glaze, ginger remoulade and sustainable catfish; Asparagus & Burrata, a very unique salad comprised of charred white and green asparagus, fresh burrata and snap peas; Shrimp Dunderi, my favorite of the tasting, designed like gnocchi but with clove and lemon ricotta instead of potatoes; and Pesto Margherita Flatbread with ricotta, tomato filet and a basil pesto made with no nuts. Not new to the menu, but two items I can’t visit Carson Kitchen without enjoying, are the Bacon Jam—a true gem of a dish with baked brie and a bit of heat derived from jalapeño; and no matter how full I am, I have to have the Glazed Donut Bread Pudding made with three rum caramel glaze and vanilla crème anglaise.

Chef Courtney is a very talented classically trained chef who is well known in the local food and beverage industry, and made a name for himself with positions at acclaimed restaurants including DB Brasserie, RM Seafood, Marche Bacchus, Pinot Brasserie and Yardbird.

Chef’s commitment to using the finest ingredients is evident from his relationships with farmers. The chicken he uses comes solely from Crystal Lake Farms in Decatur, Arkansas and Chef told me of his visit to the farm where he encountered excellent conditions and free range chickens untouched by antibiotics or growth promoting additives.

Chef now oversees the Simon Hospitality Group, which will soon also include the new Standard and Pour, opening in August on South Eastern in the old Firefly location.

Hard Rock Café Highlights Burgers from Around the World

Hard Rock Café on the Vegas Strip is worth a visit for its outstanding view of the Strip from its second story perch and collection of music memorabilia, with the walls filled with guitars of famous rockers, performers’ outfits, photos and platinum records. Another reason to visit is its World Burger Tour, a collection of burgers representing cities from around the world.

In May the line-up included Java Lava Burger Seattle—with an espresso rub, cheddar, jalapeno lave sauce, java onion and topped with a deep fried jalapeno; Jamaican Jerk Burger Montego Bay—mango cream cheese, jerk mayo and banana peppers; Tandoori Chicken Burger Mumbai for East Indian flavors with mint mayo, Monterey jack cheese and crisp cucumber planks; and English Breakfast Burger combining sliced ham, grilled Portobello, breakfast sausage and topped with a fried egg.

In June another round is in store for the World Tour, with the ATOMIC! Burger Las Vegas—topped with Atomic beer-battered peppers, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, garlic chipotle ketchup and chipotle mayo; Tango Salsa Burger Buenos Aires —topped with andouille sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, chips de batata, fried egg, salsa criolla and garlic aioli; Greek Burger Athens—topped with arugula, feta cheese and a tomato slice; and Aloha Burger Honolulu—topped with SPAM, Monterey Jack cheese, grilled pineapple ring with sweet soy glaze, guacamole and pico de gallo.

All of the World Tour burgers come with fries and a special dipping sauce to complement the burger, are priced at $1 more than the Legendary Burger and are available at both the Strip and Hard Rock Hotel locations. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the pleasure of being served by Alejandro, an Argentinian native who has a passion for making sure your dining experience is the best it can be.

What’s New with Chefery

Last September I informed our readers of Chefery—a unique new business that delivers chef-prepared meals to your doorstep at takeout pizza prices. I’m happy to report that Chefery is thriving and has expanded. In addition to dinner, they are now also offering office lunch and deliveries are four days a week Tue.-Fri. to all parts of the Vegas Valley. Co-founder Brian Skenandore is offering one free meal with purchase of a second meal value of $15 to our readers who try Chefery for the first time. Go to and use promo code LVFNB at checkout to get the deal; and to read my complete article, go to