Nov 2011

Julian Serrano – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

After three days of reveling like rock stars at the Aria Resort & Casino, the #Foodies2Aria express arrived at its final stop: Julian Serrano. Modern tapas, traditional paella, and Chef Serrano’s favorite breakfast were all on deck before heading to the airport.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

Chef Serrano is best known for his Mediterranean-French cooking at Picasso at the Bellagio. The restaurant has received two Michelin stars, as well as the AAA Five Diamond Award for nine years counting.

Here at his eponymous restaurant, Chef Serrano shares the cuisine of his native Spain. From small plates to seafood to charcuterie, I was excited to revisit the flavors and dishes that I fell in love with while honeymooning in the country last year.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

To start, a cool shot of gazpacho with a filled sphere on the side. I’ve yet to warm up to cold soups, so I found this dish perfectly nice, but not much else.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

Next, we were treated to five different tapas, including lobster with pureed pineapple skewers, stuffed Piquillo peppers with goat cheese and mushrooms, tuna and raspberry gelee skewers, chicken croquetas, and pintxo de chorizos. While all of the small plates were moreish and paired well with my morning sangria, my favorites were the croquetas and the chorizo.

The croquetas, which had the most luscious texture and golden crust, are made by a single cook at the restaurant. In order to assure that the bechamel’s consistency is perfect every time, Chef Serrano believes that it is important to have a specialist behind the stove. It’s the simplest dishes that are most difficult to get right, he said.

The chorizo, which was made from famed black footed Iberian pigs, was served atop garlicky mashed potatoes. Damn those sausages were tasty!

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

Following the parade of tapas, we were each served a plate of huevos estrellados, the Chef’s favorite breakfast. The simple, yet immensely satisfying dish was comprised of eggs over easy with chorizo Iberico and thick slices of fried and spiced potatoes.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

The next course, a paella Valenciana, was presented to us in its pan before serving. This gesture put a huge smile on my face because it reminded me of the time The Astronomer and I spent in Valencia; the waiters at L’estimat always brought over the finished dish before serving it up.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

The paella Valenciana included rabbit, chorizo, chicken, and heaps of saffron. The only thing that was missing were some snails.

Julian Serrano Tapas - Las Vegas

To finish, freshly fried churros, just like the ones from Chocolatería San Ginés in Madrid. The fried pieces of dough were light and crisp, while the chocolate was warm and spicy.

While the vibe of Julian Serrano feels very Vegas, the flavors here are deeply and deliciously Spanish.

Julian Serrano
3730 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 877-230-2742

There’s more to eat in Las Vegas…

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3 thoughts on “Julian Serrano – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)

  1. I really wish people would stop adding chorizo to paella. There is zero precedent for it in Valencian cooking. Paellas never contain such strong flavors, that might overpower others, since it is the rice that matters. The ingredients in a paella are solely there to service the rice as a vehicle for the melange of flavors that develop when cooked together. This is why many people are disappointed when they order Paella Marinera and the seafood is “overcooked”. The reason for this is that you are flavoring the rice, which is the whole point of the dish. Anytime I see paella mixta (i.e. chicken, pork and seafood together) I stop looking and find something else on the menu. If you’ve had paella in Valencia you will never, ever find a serious paella lover endorse this travesty of rice mutilation. Thanks for the article, it was very enjoyable, despite my obvious desire to be a paella pedagogue. Enough said. Purista signing off.

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