The latest Las Vegas opening is Bellagio’s Lago by Julian Serrano, a new dining experience that sits “front-and-center” overlooking the hotel’s iconic fountains. With a heavy focus on wine pairings and “food-centric cocktails,” the Michelin-starred chef is serving small Italian dishes inspired by contemporary and Milanese cuisine. “I want to stretch guests’ perception beyond their typical Italian experience by creating a feast that exhibits today’s culinary culture and showcases all of the exciting possibilities with Italian cuisine in the 21st century,” Serrano said in a statement.
For his third Las Vegas restaurant, Serrano was inspired by 20th century Italian Futurism, and chose to capture the juxtaposition between the past and the present through his reimagined traditional dishes and the technology driven, yet classic details in the décor. “I remember when I was approached about opening my first Bellagio restaurant, Picasso, in front of some ‘wild fountain.’ It was unheard of at the time, but the potential was undeniable,” said Serrano. “Lago is a continuation of what Jean-Georges [Vongerichten], Sirio [Maccioni], Todd [English] and I started here—executing exceptional, thought-provoking cuisine in a setting you can’t find anywhere else in the world.”
Culinary highlights include salmon with anchovies and tuna paired with a seasonally changing citrus; the Carciofi Fritti, a preparation of fried artichokes served with mint pesto; the Calamarata, little calamari-pasta rings from Gragnano in Naples with squid sauce; and Piedmontese beef tenderloin with gorgonzola.
Each drink comes with a paired dish intended to complement the flavor of each libation. Created by Bellagio’s Master Mixologist Ricardo Murcia, diners will find unexpected pairings like the Rosso Bellini, a caramel nest filled with golden raspberries over a mixture of Hangar One Raspberry, Toschi Fragoli Wild Strawberry Liqueur, prosecco, raspberry syrup and fresh lemon juice; the Sgroppino, a frozen sphere, filled with prosecco, lemoncello and cocoa butter, sitting over lemon sorbet; and the Serrano Negroni, Bellagio’s hand-selected Woodford Reserve Double Oak Bourbon, Cynar Artichoke Bitter, Cinzano 1757 Sweet Vermouth and Campari garnished with chorizo stuffed with caper berries.
For those who prefer something more simplistic, Lago also serves 750 wine varieties from vintners all over the Italian, Californian and Oregon regions. Many bottles are from hard-to-find or small production wineries to offer a sense of exclusivity to guests. “Chef Serrano’s small plates take on Italian cuisine drove me to find vintages from lesser known regions of Italy offering tremendous value and most importantly providing an impeccable complement to Lago’s cuisine,” explained Jason Smith, Bellagio’s Director of Wine and Master Sommelier.
Lago is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. nightly and is located off the casino floor next to Hyde Bellagio.