Bellagio fountain was one of the icons of Las Vegas. Dining next to the fountain was always a highlight of the visit to Las Vegas. And fortunately, the restaurants around the fountain were all very good.
Spanish-born chef Julian Serrano’s thick accent alerts you to his Iberian origins. But Serrano has much more to offer than just his tapas joint at ARIA Resort & Casino. There’s even more to the two-time James Beard Award winner than his Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star French restaurant, Picasso, in Bellagio. Lago by Julian Serrano opened in 2015 and served Italian, after Chef Serrano’s successes with Picasso (French) and Aria (Spanish). Every LV property that has 13 or 14 restaurants, one of them has to be Italian.
Lago features the concepts of small plates. People like to share food, they like to have 3 to 4 different dishes and pair with equal number of wines (read: profits). So Lago’s menu is designed to share among the table so that you have a variety of different dishes.
Crostini — Toasted Bread
Crostini are an Italian appetizer consisting of small slices of grilled or toasted bread and toppings. Bruschetta is an antipasto consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt
Bruschetta al pomodoro, tomatoes, basil, garlic oil – this is a classic bruschetta consisting of crushed or chopped tomatoes seasoned with basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Here, they left the vinegar alone and instead used garlic to enhance the flavour.
Crudo Di Pesce — Raw Seafood
Chef Serrano decided to introduce the delicate palates of America with raw fish a la European style. All of Lago’s crudos are seasoned with Citrus-Colatura di Alici. Colatura di Alici is a fishy Italian sauce known in ancient Roman times a s”Garum” and is a magical amber essence extracted from fresh anchovies which have been preserved with salt inside a chestnut barrel with a heavy weight on top. The liquid drips (or “colare” in Italian) through the barrel over a period of a few months and is collected at the bottom. It has a much cleaner and purer taste than our Asian fish sauce.
Tonno, ahi tuna, orange segments and Hamachi, cucumber juice, micro radish were both simple ceviche-like crudos. Very easy to do at home, provided you have really fresh tuna and hamachi.
Crudo Di Carne
I do not recommend doing a carpaccio at home as it is difficult to keep the hygiene is a home kitchen.
Carpaccio di manzo | baby arugula | parmesan | lemon vinaigrette is as classic as it gets.
Crostacei — Shellfish
I really like this course, Calamaro ripieno | shrimp stuffed squid | pomodoro | basil oil. The shrimp and squid combination was perfectly matched. Both seafood cooked quickly and therefore it’s easier to control the doneness of the final product. Topped with a tangy and fresh tomato and basil oil, it rounded up the really nice appetiser.
Pasta E Risotto
No Italian meal is complete without pasta and risotto. We ordered two to share in the very large group, Fusillioro | Abruzzo | lamb ragù | spuma di ricotta and Risotto ai funghi e parmigiano | Parmesan | mushroom. I was skipping carbs so I had none of it.
Piatti Grandi — Main Courses
Bistecca | 1lb bone-in rib eye | roasted potatoes | asparagus | roasted garlic was a huge course that can feed a lot of people, given the amount of appetisers and first courses we have ordered.
A whole pound of bone-in ribeye carved at your table, it came with a generous amount of sides and 4 different sauces to go with the succulent US Angus beef.
Again, watching my diet meant that I have to skip the sweets as well. Zuppa Inglese | Cannoli | Semifreddo | Chocolate fondant | Ice creams | Sugar peaches, very generous given that it was on the house because we had a birthday boy in the group.
Chef Julian Serrano
Award-winning chef Julian Serrano, a two-time winner of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award (“Best Chef Paci c 1998” & “Best Chef Southwest 2002,”) and the executive chef of Lago.
A native of Madrid, Serrano is a graduate of the Escuela Gastronomie P.P.O. hotel management school in Marbella, Spain, and has pursued his affinity for French cuisine in some of Europe’s most celebrated kitchens. He has spent time at Lucas-Carlton in Paris, Hotel de France in Auch, France, Chez Max in Zurich and L’Aubergine in Munich.
Following brief positions in Miami and Nashville, Serrano moved to San Francisco, where in 1983 he helped open Masa’s restaurant under the personal tutelage of the restaurant’s renowned founding chef, Masataka Kobayashi.
In 1998, Serrano brought his memorable Mediterranean-French cooking to Bellagio in Las Vegas as Executive Chef of Picasso. The Michelin two-star restaurant has won the AAA Five Diamond Award every year since 2002 and its wine list has received the coveted Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine.
With Lago, he has come full circle. This was good restaurant. well executed, high quality of food, excellent service and an ambiance to match. It tasted fantastic but I would not call this an excellent Italian restaurant. It lacked the Italian Nonna feeling. Still I would put it on my itinerary in LV.
Lago by Julian Serrano
Bellagio Hotel and Casino
3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, , NV 89109
Date Visited : May 2017