Julian Serrano: Spanish Eats Within Aria Casino In Las Vegas
When I was in Las Vegas, I decided to have a late lunch before I headed back home to Los Angeles. I really wanted to go to Bar Masa for their early dinner service but it opened at 5 pm and I had to be at the airport at 5:30. Bummer! But as I was flipping through the amenities binder of Aria Resort and Casino, I noticed there was a prix fixe lunch at Julian Serrano, a Spanish restaurant. The restaurant was recommended highly by the PR staff of MGM Resorts. I figured I’d give a try, not to mention I spied tortilla on the menu, which I’m a fan of.
I went down to Julian Serrano and didn’t have any difficulty getting a table without a reservation. I went down about 3:40 which was an odd time to eat lunch because lunch service ends at 4. They were about to start Happy Hour. I knew what I wanted so I ordered the prix fix lunch, and a tortilla and some sparkling water. I’d had a long week so no sangria or wine for me. What I should have done was order the tortilla after 4 since it’s on the Happy Hour menu and half the price. We win some we lose some, right?
Here’s a little info about the chef from Aria’s website:
A native of Madrid, Serrano is a graduate of the Escuela Gastronomie P.P.O. hotel management school in Marbella, Spain, and has pursued his affinity for French cuisine in some of Europe’s most celebrated kitchens. Following brief positions in Miami and Nashville, Serrano moved to San Francisco, where in 1983 he helped open Masa’s restaurant under the personal tutelage of the restaurant’s renowned founding chef, Masataka Kobayashi.
In 1998, Serrano brought his memorable Mediterranean-French cooking to Bellagio in Las Vegas as Executive Chef of Picasso. The Michelin two-star restaurant has won the AAA Five Diamond Award every year since 2002, and its wine list has received the coveted Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. At his latest venue in the dazzling CityCenter, Serrano satisfies a long-held ambition of sharing the secrets of his own Spanish cuisine. In 2010, Esquire magazine named the restaurant Julian Serrano one of its Best New Restaurants of the year. The restaurant also received the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine in 2011.
And now to the photos of my meal at Julian Serrano:
Tortilla – I will say it was good but no match for Bar Zabaleta in San Sebastian, Spain. I don’t like warm tortilla. I like it to be room temp and served with a few pieces of bread to sop up the eggy residue. 8 weeks in Spain ruined me, I swear!
My starter, a lobster gazpacho. A chilled tomato soup with lobster and cherries. It was tasty! The round ball was a frozen thin ice mold with more gazpacho inside and popped when you ate it. Fun mouth party!
Rib eye steak, roasted Chinese eggplant, mushroom demi sauce and french fries. I ordered the steak medium rare. I enjoyed the steak but my fries were luke warm. I skipped most of them anyway to lessen my carb factor but I prefer fries to almost burning my tongue. Do I sound like a complainer? Sorry. There is something about fries being hot hot hot that is key key key.
I know I’m lame. I ordered water for my meal. At this point, I was ready to leave and needed to detox from my retox in Vegas.
- Prix fixe $19 lunch is a great deal. My iced coffees at Jean Philippe Patisserie inside the Aria were costing me $8 a pop.
- Bar seating which is perfect for eating solo
- My servers were helpful, friendly, and attentive. Thumbs up to the guys at the bar for entertaining me.
- My recommendation would be to go as a group and order many tapas to share and drink the sangria or some of the Spanish wines.
- Their happy hour has fantastic prices to test out whether you want more.
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