Vegas Report: Juian Serrano
Summary: Excellent (some sublime) food. Great service. Relatively low prices. Open for lunch!
* Brava potatoes - potato cubes that are crisp outside and pureed inside. Perfect. Tomato-y sauce with a delicious aioli topping that lends a smooth, delicious note to the whole thing.
* Huevos Estrellados - french fries with fried eggs and chorizo. This looks odd, but when you start eating it, it becomes addictive. Getting those partially runny egg yolks over french fries with a fantastic chorizo--amazing. Definitely a good late-night-after-too-much-drinking dish.
* Stuffed dates - We've had these 1000 times at other tapas places, so I was wary of same ol', same ol', But they were served with a fantastic piquillo pepper sauce that took them to a new realm.
* Chicken croquetas - very good, creamy, some interesting spice in there - like nutmeg?
* Mediterranean bass - ths just stood up and sang. Perfectly-cooked fish with delicious, fresh, olive oil and tomato sauce. Phenomenal.
* Gazpacho with lobster meat - very good example of gazpacho - better than standard.
* Beef and cheese with light honey and walnuts - filet mignon is perfect. Honey done with subtle hand. Very nice.
* Cheese platter - move this into the "must have" category if you are a cheese fan. The selections were La Serena, a (high quality) Manchego, Cana de Cabra goat (AMAZING), Cabrales. I loved that they didn't go with all safe choices - 3 of those four are not going to appeal to everyone. It was accompanied by a fig paste that was AMAZING with the goat cheese in particular.
* Pan tomate - I personally love Pan tomate, and this was one of the best I've ever had because it was good and garlicy. I would put this in the must have category for me, but it's a simple dish that I don't think could ever achieve a truly amazing status. (It's bread rubbed with garlic and topped/rubbed with crushed tomatoes, olive oil, etc.)
Wouldn't order again:
* Raspberry tuna skewers- this is overly-coated with sesame seeds. It has a little horseradish in it, which is usually enough to put it in my "recommend" category, but somehow, nothing exciting was happening here.
Note the cocktail service is slow - you might want to get them moving on your next cocktail a bit before you finish your prior cocktail,.
* Pina 43 - tequilla, pineapple, lime - very good. Fruity, girlie drink.
* Manzana deliziosa - Gin, green apple puree, lillet, (rosemary) - subtle and good, but it was supposed to have thyme instead of rosemary. I guess the bartenders need to go to herb school.
* Dulce y picante - brandy, st germain strawberry, cayenne pepper.- something here reminded me of the flavors of cheap mix-your-own perfume and lip gloss kits for kids in the 70s - both of us hated the drink
* Rosemary caipirissima - Bacardi limon, rosemary, lime - this is not terribly sweet, and it was my husband's favorite. He really liked the fresh lime taste, and said it reminded him of a limeaid.
* MUST GET red sangria. It actually reminded me of a Cinnabon. There's a sweet, smooth, subtle Cinnabony taste that underlies the drink. It's worth trying just so you can try a sangria that tastes faintly of Cinnabon! I was so fascinated by this that I had to keep reordering them. Next time, I'll know to just get a whole pitcher.
* White sangria - orange, peach, pineapple - good,. Dominant citrus flavor. My husband preferred it to the red.
A note on price
10 dishes, 8 drinks, and the bill was $214. I thought we went completely overboard on food and drinks. (We opted to have another round of tapas instead of dessert.) So $214 for "completely overboard" seemed like a deal to me!
Four of us had an outstanding meal at Julian Serrano a few weeks ago. Highlights were the chorizo on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes (so good we ordered a second plate); the octopus/ potato/smoked paprika dish; the piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese; the risotto with wild mushrooms and manchego (took creaminess to new heights); and the Valenciana paella. The sommelier helped us pair a couple of reasonable (by Strip prices) bottles of red (one Spanish; one Argentinean) with the meal.
All of us agreed that it was a stellar experience all the way around, and a decent value for the amount and quality of food. As an added bonus, Jose Serrano himself was sitting at the bar the night we were there (a Monday).