John Curtas is …

Tapas Hopping at JULIAN SERRANO’s Bar

It’s that time of the year food fans. The time when yours truly begins researching in earnest for the next edition of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants. Truth be told, our research (read: eating) never stops, but things heat up quickly once the weather warms, and we now start cruising old haunts and new faces (sometimes 3-4 in a day) to see who’s in and who’s out.

When it comes to those old haunts, usually a few swings at the menu is enough to tell us if the chefs have lost their fastball. One who still has a major league heater is JULIAN SERRANO.

By now, our ever-dwindling/dangling/underfed staff (and loyal readers) know that ELV has been to Serrano‘s eponymous joint in the Aria Hotel at least a dozen times in the past few years. So there’s no need to sit down for a gargantuan meal to take the measure of the kitchen. A  few bites at the bar tells us what we want to know is always a tasty way to kick off an evening.

That bar, by the way, is one of the sleekest places in town to get a superb, hand-crafted cocktail.

First class drinking and nibbling

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It’s never gotten the play of places like American Fish or Sage, but you will drink very well here whilst nibbling on the superb (if acquired) tastes of some of Serrano’s more exotic creations.

Case in point: the tripe stew with garbanzos:…which ELV felt needed more tripe time to itself:

Stomach....yummmm

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Tender, tasty and not-too-stomach-y, this Catalan creation could conceivably convince queasy consumers of cooked cow craw to council re-consideration of their cowardly comestible convolutions.

Not only that, it might make you re-think your aversion to eating the lining of an animal’s stomach.

And if that’s not challenging enough for you, there’s always the almost un-chewably crunchy pigs ears:

Chew on this for awhile

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….which are not only not for the squeamish, but not for the weak of tooth as well.

They are the very definition of “acquired taste,” but don’t let that deter you. Always remember remember pilgrim: all things exquisite (blue cheese, oysters, bourbon, oral sex, etc.) are disgusting the first time you try them.

That should help you get through those first few bites.

Buen provecho!

JULIAN SERRANO

In the Aria Hotel and Casino

3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.590.8520

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