VEGAS RESTAURANT ROUNDUP: Retiring Julian Serrano to Close Picasso, José Andrés Opening 5th Strip Eatery

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Las Vegas culinary icon Julian Serrano is closing up his Picasso after 20 years at the Bellagio. It’s part of a transition toward retirement by the celebrity chef, at least according to a press release from MGM Resorts.

It’s the finissage for Picasso at Bellagio, says Chef Julian Serrano. (Credit: Robert John Kley)

Serrano, a two-time winner of the prestigious James Beard Award — for Best Chef Pacific 1998 and Best Chef Southwest 2002 — will also step away from the kitchen he oversees at Bellagio’s Lago.

“I want to thank the team at MGM Resorts, who I have collaborated with over these 25 years to create something truly special at Picasso,” Serrano said in the press release, which noted that he will “remain at the helm” of Julian Serrano Tapas at Aria.

Since opening in 1998, Picasso earned some any of the industry’s top culinary honors. It was the first Las Vegas restaurant to receive a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant. It was one of the first two Nevada restaurants to receive the Forbes Five-Star Award. And it was one of only two Las Vegas restaurants to receive two Michelin stars.

Jose Andrés. (Image: José Andrés)

Andrés the Gianter

When one celebrity Spanish chef closes, as they say, another one opens.

José Andrés has announced the name of his fifth Las Vegas Strip restaurant which, as we previously reported, will open at The Shops at Crystals in Aria Campus (formerly CityCenter) this summer.

Bazaar Mar will specialize in seafood and tapas rooted in Spanish flavors.

Andrés began his Las Vegas career by opening Jaleo, China Poblano, and é by José Andrés simultaneously at the Cosmopolitan in 2010. He followed up with Bazaar Meat at the Sahara in 2014.

As we previously announced, a sixth Andrés restaurant will also open  at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. It will be the third outpost of Andrés’ Zaytinya (Turkish for “olive oil”), a Mediterranean eatery spotlighting small (mezze) dishes from Turkey, Greece, and Lebanon.

Dining Ins & Outs

When Lotus of Siam, a local Thai favorite for decades, reopens before the year’s end in its original home in the Historic Commercial Center at 953 E. Sahara Ave., it will be 7,000 square feet larger and sport a new bar and décor. Owner-chef Saipin Chutima closed the location for renovations in 2017, launching new ones at Red Rock Resort and at 620 E. Flamingo Road in the interim.

Chef Fred Howard plans to open a Las Vegas branch of his Southern Style Eatery Louisiana soul food restaurant, according to What Now Vegas. It will open in June at 1500 S. Las Vegas Blvd., with signature dishes including blackened fish, beef oxtails, and gumbo.

California Noodle House
has finally reopened at downtown’s California casino after closing for the pandemic shutdown four years ago.

The very last holdout on the site of the proposed and approved Tilman Fertitta casino resort site at Harmon Avenue and the Strip is Tex Mex, which has closed and will be demolished momentarily.

China Mama is about to open a third location — at 4480 Paradise Road, Suite 700A. Its name will be Spring by China Mama. The first China Mama, at 3420 S Jones Blvd., temporarily closed after a fire last March.

The Southern Nevada Health District reports closing the Jamaican VYBZ Bar & Grill at 2625 E. Tropicana Ave. on May 9 for scoring a whopping 60 demerits.

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