You hunger for short rib braised by a three-star Michelin chef that lets your knife goes untouched. A cabernet selected by one of the world’s 186 Certified Master Sommeliers that changes what risotto means to you, and absinthe expertly prepared to follow today’s selection of scallops.
The credentials of our roster of culinary talent go beyond expert training and esteemed awards. Take a bite, and you’ll know.
Award-winning Chef Julian Serrano turns a discerning eye to the cuisine of his Spanish heritage as Executive Chef of his eponymous restaurant, Julian Serrano.
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-Carton 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.
At his latest venue in the dazzling CityCenter, Serrano satisfies a long-held ambition of sharing the secrets of his own Spanish cuisine. In 2010, Esquire magazine named the restaurant Julian Serrano one of its Best New Restaurants of the year. The restaurant also received the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine in 2011.
Chef Picazo has extensive experience with restaurants beginning with one he opened himself in a small town called Pozuelo, next to Madrid, Spain. His restaurant was decorated by a designer from Washington, D.C., who soon became his girlfriend. Picazzo’s disbelief in long distant relationships brought him to the United States in 1998 where he began work with Jose Andres at Jaleo for 7 years.
He continued to work at several restaurants, including a Tapas and Sushi restaurant in Washington, D.C. called Perry’s. At the time, Award-winning Chef Julian Serrano was looking for an Executive Chef for the opening of Julian Serrano in ARIA. Chef Serrano visited him in D.C. and was immediately impressed. He was offered the position and is currently working with Chef Serrano.
In his years working with numerous chefs, Picazo has utmost respect for Chef Serrano. He said “A good chef doesn’t need to stay in the kitchen. Its like a composer of an orchestra, they don’t need to play all the instruments to make it work. However, Julian is the composer that also knows how to play it all.”
At Julian Serrano, Chef Picazo tries to bring as many ingredients from Spain as he can in order to prepare dishes that will give customers the closest taste and experience to what they would have in his home country. His favorite dishes at Julian Serrano are the Mediterranean Bass and Ahi Tuna Tempura. Stop in yourself and try the delectable interpretations of native Spanish cuisine.
Clarissa Castillo didn't discover her passion for wine until she worked for Bart Mahoney, VP of Food & Beverage at the Mirage. While working in the Food & Beverage department, she worked very closely with Alex Stratta, Executive Chef of Renoir at the Mirage. One of her duties included updating and modifying menus and wine lists. Clarissa admits that she had minimal wine knowledge and didn't understand the importance of a wine program for a restaurant. It wasn't until Alex Stratta's wine director gave her a book called Windows on the World, that she became intrigued. She enjoyed learning about wine so much that she decided to turn her passion into a career. Clarissa has been a sommelier for five years, working at Julian Serrano since the opening of ARIA Resort & Casino.
When asked what makes a sommelier unique, Clarissa responded with "The standards of service that we hold ourselves to. A good sommelier can anticipate guests needs, provide excellent service, and ensure the guest is satisfied." Clarissa communicates with her guests and utilizes her knowledge to give them an unforgettable experience.
Clarissa enjoys working in formal dining rooms. She enjoys structured menus, allowing her to pair multiple wines with courses. Currently, her favorite dish and wine pairing at Julian Serrano is the Mixed Paella with the 2001 Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia, from Rioja, Spain. Create an unforgettable experience with the help of Clarissa Castillo at Julian Serrano!
Dominique Awad was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She began her career in Food & Beverage as a cocktail server at Delmonico Steakhouse, requiring her to learn every drink and ingredient. A few years later, she transferred to cocktails at Bellagio and participated in several bartending competitions.
Her fascination in creating new drinks and modifying recipes comes from her interests in cooking. Her Grandparent’s owned a restaurant, Angelo's Cornucopia in Syracuse, NY where she learned most of the family recipes and enjoyed reinventing dishes with her own ideas.
While serving cocktails and participating in bartending competitions, Dominique was determined to eventually become a mixologist. After much time and dedication, she was able to transform her passion into her career. Dominique is currently a mixologist at Julian Serrano in ARIA and loves the fun & easy-going clientele.
Dominique’s favorite drinks to make are Caiprinhas and Cucumber Martinis. Her creativity and knowledge of flavor profiles sets her apart from other bartenders and mixologists. Be sure to pay a visit to Julian Serrano and experience her imagination!