The New Face of Tapas in Vegas

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The new heart of the Las Vegas strip, CityCenter, beats not only with an extraordinary urban resort but with a new batch of gastronomic experiences. Among them is Julian Serrano, the eponymous new restaurant from the two-time James Beard Award winner.

The new heart of the Las Vegas strip, CityCenter, beats not only with an extraordinary urban resort but with a new batch of gastronomic experiences. Among them is Julian Serrano, the eponymously-titled new restaurant from the two-time James Beard Award winner.

Located in the Aria's main lobby, the restaurant marks Serrano's first professional foray into his native Spanish cuisine, where he blends traditional home-style flavors with a modern edge -- think molecular concoctions, like lobster tail salad paired with heirloom tomatoes and carrot "air".

Tapas are small by nature, but full of flavor and whimsy, from the traditional, béchamel-infused Spanish Chicken Croquetas to flat calamari (served surprisingly almost whole) to deconstructed Mediterranean-style stew. While Serrano dances on the edge of global contemporary, the menu largely errs on the side of comfortable, feeling more like a collection of the chef's childhood favorites. Paellas come in five different forms and are designed to be shared, while a classic creamy risotto is paired with earthy wild mushrooms.

The restaurant itself is splashy and upscale, full of high-energy music and modern appointments like faux black trees and bold striped tiles. Sip sweet sangria in the main dining area or sidle up to the serpentine bar to choose wine from a 500-bottle-strong Spain-centric wine list.

Video Produced by Patrick Batu

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