The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2018

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58  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2018 HOT PROPERTY A Multicultural Comfort Cocktail In addition to functioning as Carson Kitchen's General Manager, Matt Harwell also plays a key role in the beverage program. His newest mezcal cocktail, The Communication Breakdown, adds even more gravitas to the agave spirit with fresh citrus, Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, Contratto Bitter Italian liqueur, and a hint of lavender. "Mezcal is a beautiful spirit with a rich history, but many people think they don't like it because of a single bad experience," Matt says. "This drink is crisp, clean, and easy-drinking, and while it's not spirit-forward, it lets the mezcal shine while still remaining approach- able for inexperienced drinkers." Can't Stop the Music "ROCK 'N' ROLL CHEF" KERRY SIMON'S LEGACY OF COMFORT LIVES ON AT CARSON KITCHEN IN LAS VEGAS by Mara Marski A s one of the first celebrity chefs and an early winner on Iron Chef, the late Kerry Simon became a revolutionary figure in the restaurant world over the course of his career, even earning the moniker "the Rock 'n' Roll Chef" due to his close relationships with music titans like Alice Cooper and Joe Perry. One of the last restaurants Simon opened before his death in 2015 was Carson Kitchen in downtown Las Vegas. To do so, he partnered with restaurateur Cory Harwell, who has helped open Vegas institu- tions like the Harley Davidson Café and Nine Fine Irishmen and had a "similar heart for food and hospitality," according to General Manager Matt Harwell, who's also Cory's cousin. Matt describes the cozy yet hip 100-seat restaurant as "a celebrity chef's take on comfort across the board," adding that "Kerry tried to take the pretension out of things, and with Carson, he was saying, 'There's a place for you here, no matter who you are.'" Conceptually, the food tries to apply the same principles. "Comfort food can be incredibly indulgent or it can be fruits and veggies—it all depends on who we were, where we are, and how we grew up. At Carson Kitchen, we take these familiar ingredients and play with them a bit to give diners a new experience," Matt says, citing the restaurant's veal meatball dish with foie gras and cream sauce and the deviled eggs with caviar as examples. Harwell notes that this familiarity made Carson Kitchen Simon's favorite restaurant. "It's a great thing to foster a man's legacy, so we think deeply about how we take care of our guests and how we make them feel," he says. Communication Breakdown ◗ 1½ oz. Del Maguey Vida Mezcal ◗ ½ oz. fresh lemon juice ◗ ½ oz. fresh lime juice ◗ ½ oz. simple syrup ◗ ½ oz. Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur ◗ ½ oz. Contratto Bitter liqueur ◗ 1 dash Bar Keep Lavender Bitters Shake all ingredients and strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with Fever Tree Ginger Ale and garnish with a sprig of lavender. Matt Harwell, the General Manager at Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas, tries to keep the legacy of late chef Kerry Simon alive at the restaurant. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CARSON KITCHEN

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