Here’s a little confession from someone who’s been obsessed with the fine foods of the Las Vegas Strip for a long time: I’ve been steadily eating everything at the dynamic Aria resort since it opened more than six years ago, and there’s only one restaurant where I haven’t had a proper dinner.
That spot, Bar Masa, is closing this summer, to be replaced by something new, so maybe I’ll never make it. And the reason I haven’t made it is my addiction to the classic Spanish tapas at Julian Serrano next door. I’ve literally gone to Aria planning to eat at Bar Masa and changed my mind because I can’t pass up huevos estrellados (perfect fries with egg and chorizo) or chicken croquettes laced with creamy bechamel.
This is one of the best restaurants in the city to gather your squad and share rich, robust plates like angel hair pasta with lobster and roasted red peppers or squid-ink rice with calamari and saffron. The deviled eggs are topped with potato and tuna salad and sliced chili peppers, and the empanadas are stuffed with the paprika-infused pork sausage sobrasada and smoky sheep’s milk idiazabal cheese. The dishes that look most delicate have hidden, explosive flavors, which is why I can’t stop visiting Julian Serrano until I try them all. Julian Serrano at Aria, 877-230-2742; Monday-Thursday & Sunday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.