Chef Bombaci is the real deal. Before taking the reins at Carso, Bombaci cooked at The Culinary Institute of America in New York, Peabody Hotel in Memphis (that hotel famous for escorting their ducks down a red carpet into a fountain), Hilton Anatole in Dallas, restaurants in Florida and San Francisco, and he had a 10-year stint in Spain.
According to Bombaci, he loved food at an early age. He fondly remembers Sundays when his Sicilian grandfather would cook simple, flavorful dishes like pizza or soup. The food had such an effect on him, he remembers thinking, “Wow, I want to be able to do that [cook].”
More recently, Bombaci has been influenced by chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Jamie Oliver, who cook fresh, simple, approachable foods. You know, the type of food you see and say “Oooh, I want to eat that.”
And that’s exactly what you’ll find on the menu at Carso — fresh, simple, approachable foods. The dish that Bombaci is most proud of is the Shawarma Half Chicken. It makes wonderful use of color and texture with hot, juicy chicken, cold cucumber salad and a spicy chili pepper pesto.
Another favorite dish is the “bowl of red,” a Texas chili made with basmati rice, chili, sour cream, cheddar, cilantro and lime. And, yes, chef Bombaci is aware that Texas chili is not Mediterranean. Even I could figure that out (the word “Texas” tipped me off). But after he made the dish for the employee cafeteria, the owners and staff believed it had to be added to the menu.
Carso also likes to take advantage of local ingredients. Their herbs, lettuce and baby kale are from North Texas Specialty Growers. The lettuce even comes with the roots still attached to help it stay fresh longer (don’t worry, they cut the roots off before they serve it). Their grains, grits, and cereals are from Homestead Gristmill in Waco, and Comeback Creek provides squash, potatoes and other seasonal veggies.
After you’re done enjoying a meal at Carso, be sure to check out the hotel bar Prairie Fire that features glorious alcohol. Just outside the bar, you’ll find a spacious patio with an outdoor fireplace, fountains and some great waterfront views.
Carso Mediterranean Grill Website >