Making our way from our room at Bellagio to dinner at Julian Serrano in Aria, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to make it all the way to the restaurant, much less through dinner and back again. It’s hard to explain what my particular brand of heat sickness feels like. Aside from the searing headache and total loss of appetite, I also experience a strange dulling of my sight and hearing. It almost looks and sounds like I’m experiencing everything under water. I’m only harping on the subject in case this post doesn’t express an acceptable level of enthusiasm for a meal that everyone else at the table adored.
Our dinner companions for the evening were some of B’s close friends from his days as a Texan. Only one, ST, was new to Thursday night dinner. B2 has joined us on several in the past. RM joined us for his first in D.C. in July. I left the ordering firmly in the hands of the men at the table given I wasn’t sure I would eat at all. They took up the task without hesitation.
Though I didn’t photograph or taste everything they ordered, here is the looooooong list of items that crossed our table. Tuna-Raspberry Skewer (ahi tuna, “molecular” raspberry, wasabi, sesame seed), Huevos Estrellados (fried potatoes, eggs, imported spanish pork chorizo), Pintxo de Chorizos (mini spanish pork chorizo, garlic mashed potatoes, garlic sauce), Egg Potato and Morcilla (potato foam, sautéed mushrooms, Manchego air), Sautéed Baby Spinach (pine nuts, raisins, apple, shallots), Creamy Risotto (wild mushroom, Manchego cheese, natural jus), Gambas (sautéed shrimp, garlic, Arbol chilis), Traditional Spanish Chicken Croquetas (chicken, Béchamel), Stuffed Dates (almond, applewood bacon wrapped, spicy piquillo pepper sauce), Flan (crème custard, frutas del bosque), Santiago’s Cake (almond cake, Turrón ice cream, candied almonds), Churros (fried Spanish pastries, spicy hot chocolate).
Out of the whole list, I tried five items. I had at least a bite of the Tuna-Raspberry Skewer, Huevos Estrellados, Egg Potato and Morcilla, Sautéed Baby Spinach, Gambas and Churros. It sounds like more than it seemed. The Tuna-Raspberry Skewer had a really nice flavor and texture.
The shrimp were also very good, but a little overcooked. Being that we were in the middle of the desert, I didn’t really expect it to be the best shrimp ever.
I didn’t try the Pinxto de Chorizo, but B remembers them well enough to say they were “really good.” They didn’t last long on the table, so I assume the others agreed.
I did have a little of the Egg Potato and Morcilla. Molecular Gastronomy is something to get used to for sure, but this is a great introduction (as was the skewer) if you haven’t gone down this path before.
The Huevos Estrellados were, without a doubt, the hit of the night. I did try this one and it was good, but I think my tastebuds were a bit dulled. They started with one order and ended up with two.
The Chicken Croquetas seemed to be the second biggest hit, also meriting a second order.
Somewhere around dessert time, the copious amounts of water I’d been guzzling along with the multiple doses of Excedrin started to kick in. I wouldn’t say I started feeling good, but my eyesight started to normalize, my hearing started to clear a little. It was too late for dinner, but I figured an espresso might further help my cause (caffeine usually helps) and just a couple bites of B’s churros wasn’t a bad idea either.
Next trip to Vegas, whenever that may be, we may just stay at Aria, but even if we don’t, I hope I get another chance to visit Julian Serrano. I never did get to order for myself, and I do love a good Tortilla Espanola. I also hear their sangria is to die for…