Lago, Julian Serrano’s third Las Vegas restaurant, occupies the other end of the spectrum from his first — Picasso. While the latter celebrates works from the past in an upscale environment, Lago takes a more casual approach in an often criticized modern setting that is reminiscent of the headquarters of some evil villain from a ‘70s movie.

With two visits under my belt — one a Yelp event and the other on my own (with a voucher handed out at the Yelp event) — I have to say I’m a fan of Serrano’s modern take on Italian.

For those wanting to start out light, the Insalata sarda ($14) is good option with its ripe heirloom tomatoes and subtle salinity from the ricotta or the citrus dominated flavors combined with tuna crudo in their Tonno ($19) dish. The chilled tomato puree with burrito cheese found in the zuppa di pomodoro is a welcomed dish in hot weather.

Plenty of other dishes were a hit. The 7 and 7 ($19) was my favorite, with supple yet seared gnocchi along with little nuggets of lobster meat with a savory and herbaceous salsa di crostacei. A different take on gnocchi can be found with the gnocchi all romana. Its flat semolina dough, with its chewy texture, had some bite thanks to a blue cheese sauce spread on top.

Two types of risotto can be found on the menu. The creamy risotto al vino rosso ($17) was a dish I sampled at the Yelp event, but had to get it again because it was so good. And, if you’re a fan of tripe, you’ll want to try the risotto all trip e fungi ($17).

Less successful was the chalky and grainy chicken liver in the Fegatini di pollo ($8) and under seasoned short ribs in the cannelloni ($16).

For those with smaller appetites they’ve got a 4oz angus beef tenderloin ($20) topped with gorgonzola. It’s pre-sliced, making it easy to share with others. Likewise, the branzino livornese ($16) arrived table side cut into shareable servings. The skin was crispy, the meat was flaky, there was acidity from the tomatoes, and salt from the olives giving it varying degrees of flavor and texture. For a side, we tried the funghi trifoliate ($11) containing a few different types of mushrooms coated in olive oil and parsley.

While I’m not crazy about the futuristic decor, the concept and execution of the dishes are something I can’t fault. Add to that a small patio with a great view and you’ve got a restaurant that should draw in a diverse crowd of young and old looking for an affordable meal, which is almost unheard of in the Bellagio.

4 Stars

3600 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 693-7111

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