Congrats to Julian Serrano for JULIAN SERRANO!

Take it away, Robin Leach...

Counter Intelligence: Esquire names Julian Serrano one of the best

By Robin Leach

Julian Serrano is picture in front of — where else? — Julian Serrano.

Grand Opening of Aria on Dec. 16, 2009. Julian Serrano is picture in front of — where else? — Julian Serrano.

Photo: Tom Donoghue/

Star chef Julian Serrano is “over the moon” now that one of America’s most feared and revered food critics, John Mariani of Esquire, has bestowed blessings on his new tapas restaurant Julian Serrano in MGM CityCenter’s Aria as one of the 20 Best New Restaurants in 2010. Julian also runs his extraordinary Picasso in the Bellagio and will be doubly thrilled when he learns what my spies have discovered.

I can confirm reliably that one his restaurants is in the Top 10 and another one in the Top 50 that will appear next month in the eagerly awaited Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants written by Las Vegas culinary critic kings John Curtas, Max Jacobson and Al Mancini. Congratulations on all the stunning achievements!

Mariani has long been thought of as a foe of the food scene in Las Vegas. But his good friend Curtas, a respected food critic here for National Public Radio and Las Vegas Weekly, said, “His feelings about our dining scene have been misinterpreted.” Curtas goes further: “Mariani is a big fan of Las Vegas dining, but for some reason, a lot of people think he doesn’t like our town.” To prove the point, Mariani has even written the foreword to Eating Las Vegas.

Leach Blog Photo

Max Jacobson, John Curtas and Al Mancini.

“Unlike so many restaurant guides whose commentators are faceless and deliberately devoid of personality, the three experts here are never shy about giving real punch to their assessments. Since there is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to restaurant reviewing, the fierce subjectivity of Curtas, Jacobson and Mancini makes Eating Las Vegas authoritative, colorful and so damn fun to read. Had I the time and lots of money, I’d start on Page 1 and eat my way through all 50 restaurants here.”

Several of our finest local restaurants are battling to host the launch party, even though they don’t know if they’re included in the list. Pre-orders for the book at 50 percent off the $13 cover price are being taken through Friday through the Huntington Press Web site.