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Michelin-Starred Chef Julian Serrano Explains His Cicchetti Concept for Lago at the Bellagio

Julian Serrano is a James Beard award-winning, Michelin-starred chef known not only in Las Vegas, but worldwide. His Picasso restaurant in the Bellagio has received the AAA Five Diamond Award 13 times and now his Lago establishment (which opened in April) is pulling in a lot of attention with its fountain-side setting and Italian-inspired menu. While most people see the famous Bellagio Fountains from a distance, the best view by far is from Lago’s shaded, waterfront patio. Guests are only about 30 to 40 feet away from the dancing fountains as they dine, sometimes even feeling the fine spray—which is refreshing instead of bothersome. 

Lago uses the Italian “cicchetti” concept—typically served in traditional bàcari or osterie bars in Venice—and borrows from the Spanish tapas tradition by focusing on small plates and side dishes. Chef Serrano has expanded this idea to include varied, yet complimentary, small plates with very diverse tastes. Included on the menu is raw seafood, crostini, slow-cooked short ribs, boneless quail, several vegetarian options, red wine-braised veal shank, and squid ink gargenelli. The cicchetti tradition is enhanced by offering a by-the-glass option from the restaurant’s 600-bottle list, meaning you can pair various wines with the many dishes.

We were fortunate enough to speak with Chef Serrano to learn about his culinary origins and how they evolved into Lago.

Susan Kime

Susan Kime's career combines publishing, journalism and editing. She was the Destination Club/Fractional Update Editor for Elite Traveler, and senior club news correspondent for The Robb Report's Vacation Homes. Her work has been published in Stratos, Luxury Living, European CEO, The London Telegraph, Caviar Affair, ARDA Developments, and Luxist/AOL. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Travel Conno...(Read More)

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