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Julian Serrano @ Aria - the long overdue full review

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by JillyFromPhilly, Jun 4, 2012.

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  1. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

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    Let me start this review off by saying that generally, I'm not a big fan of Tapas - it's so omnipresent it has become cliche, and too many places have jumped on the Tapas bandwagon that don't do it well - and I've been to far too many of them - so initially Julian Serrano wasn't even on our radar going into our first stay at Aria back in January - so the fact that the wife & I have now had lunch there at least 4 times over our last two trips should tell you something right off the bat about how good it is.

    One of my criticisms of Aria would be that there's a dearth of good lunch options on site. You pretty much have a choice of Lemongrass [good but not great Thai], Cafe Vettro [beautiful room, slow service, hit or miss food] and Julian Serrano. So moreso than anything else, it was the fact that there was slim pickings when it came to lunch options that I relented & tried Julian Serrano - and boy, am I glad I did.

    Over the course of several visits we've probably sampled almost everything on the menu - and while not every dish was a home run, there were few - if any - that I would categorize as a complete strike out, either. Some of our personal faves have been the pancetta iberica, the black rice with squid & lobster, the sauteed peppers, the simple yet delicious grilled lamb chop, the beef and foie gras canneloni - and the paellas - definitely worth the wait for them to whip a plate of one up for you. There's classic Spanish flavors, molecular gastronomy, simply fresh seafood, incredible charcuterie - something to please everyone, and also everything for someone with a big appetite and an even bigger spirit of culinary adventurism.

    It's also - how do I put this delicately? - a great place to get blitzed, too :drunk: There's all kinds of craft cocktails, extensive menus of tequila, sherry & spanish wines - a wonderful house sangria - they even had Lagavulin, my favorite single-malt Scotch! There's a bigger dining room with plusher seating in the back, but if you want to just get your eat & drink on while watching the never-ending carnival of Vegas visitors stroll by on their way between Crystals and Aria, try to get one of the smaller tables up front by the bar - it really has the feel of an outdoor sidewalk cafe, but in air-conditioned comfort - and it's a great place to people watch from while you blow your tastebuds away with plate after plate and drink after drink of all that Julian Serrano has to offer - you'll never get bored, and you'll never want to leave!

    Though perhaps the only negative - you can wind up enjoying yourself so much it's easy to order up so much food & drink while gawking at the passing rabble that you can quickly run a tab up well into the hundreds of dollars [even for lunch] if you're not paying attention - or maybe getting a little too buzzed - so those not on a comp or on a limited budget be forewarned to keep a mental tab of what everything you're ordering is costing - but after the number of wonderful afternoons we've spent there eating, drinking & laughing while we watched the world go by, I can't say it isn't well worth the price even if you do go a bit overboard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  2. Bommen

    Bommen High-Roller

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    I love these restaurant reviews, keep up the good work! Also if u started to get a feel for good tapas u have to try Jaleo which is at least a step above from Julian Serrano. Or even better check out there hidden restaurant E inside (i can't vouch for it myself but could only imagine since the regular restaurant has such great food).
     
  3. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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    Great review Jilly, couldn't agree more, especially about the cocktails and wine...last time there wife and I shared a pitcher of the red sangria... a very generous pitcher! Spent the next couple hours after lunch stumbling around Aria in a semi-drunken stupor...very easy to catch a buzz in that place...:drunk:
     
  4. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    Great review! I had read mixed reviews on this place for the past year, so I tended to avoid it. Finally gave it a shot on my last trip to vegas and really loved it. Cannot wait to go back again in august
     
  5. Nittany1

    Nittany1 VIP Whale

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    Completely agree Jilly.
    I avoided it on my first two trips to Aria but tried it over New Years and like you,glad we did.
    I'll be back in 9 days and looking forward to lunch there at least once.
     
  6. heatherlovesvegas

    heatherlovesvegas VIP Whale

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    We loved it too! Great meal. Haha I agree though, easy to rack up a HUGE tab. But it's worth it.
     
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