Javier’s rolls up gourmet Mexican cuisine in inviting environment
By Brock Radke
Photos by Jeff Green
Tart, tangy, hand-shaken margaritas. A wealth of regional Mexican styles of cuisine, framing top-quality ingredients like jidori chicken, prime Angus beef, fresh white prawns and Maine lobster. If these things pique your interest, there’s a new spot on the Las Vegas Strip for you. Southern California’s successful Javier’s has expanded to Las Vegas, and it couldn’t have found a better location. You can’t miss it, dead center in the expansive casino at Aria. This resort’s restaurant collection has been hailed as groundbreaking since Aria arrived three years ago, and Javier’s marks the next generation of culinary experiences here.
Taking your place in the long, winding dining room, centered around a dark, intimate lounge and bar area, it feels as if you’ve stowed away on a pirate ship. Black leather booths, detailed wood carvings and steel rivets in leather wall framings lend to the dangerously adventurous Aztec vibe. But don’t worry, the menu is as friendly as it gets; the Javier’s equation is sexy, high-energy environs plus familiar, favorite foods. It begins, of course, with one of those sparkling, top-shelf margaritas and a bowl of warm corn chips and spicy red salsa.
One of this lively restaurant’s signatures is a wide variety of delectable seafood dishes, so feel free to indulge in a bright ceviche of fish, shrimp, or octopus to get your appetite going. A crisp tostada decked out in ceviche de camaron is a flavorful upgrade. Your other Mexican favorites are here, as well: fresh guacamole, nachos stacked with shredded chicken, beef or chorizo, or decadent, melted queso fundido with warm tortillas. Veggie up with Javier’s ensalada, mixed greens with red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and roasted corn drizzled with creamy dressing and optional grilled chicken, shrimp or Dungeness crab.
The main menu seems to go on forever, but Javier’s is known for two things: amazing enchiladas, and hearty grilled and roasted meats. Add your favorite traditional enchilada to fashion a combination plate with rice and beans, or experiment with rich offerings like enchiladas poblanas, chicken enchiladas covered with a classic mole poblano sauce, or enchiladas suizas, with chicken, tomatillo sauce and sour cream. If this dining adventure has you wanting something dark, bold and satisfying, look no further than the chili negro, luscious braised beef short rib slathered in a smoky, rich black chili sauce. On a list of tempting beef dishes, this may be the most memorable. You can also opt for chili verde, pork braised in a spicy green tomatillo sauce, carnitas served Michoacan style with guacamole and salsa quemada, or prime center cut beef grilled with a variety of toppings. Get the best of both worlds with the filete costeño, filet mignon with a crab or lobster enchilada plus two cheese-stuffed chili peppers.
The lobster enchiladas pueblo, sautéed with butter and garlic and topped with tomatillo sauce and avocado slices, are one of the most popular seafood dishes at Javier’s. For lighter simplicity, consider camarones rancheros. Six Mexican white wild prawns are sautéed in a scampi-like butter sauce, pepped up with poblano chilies, onions, tomatoes and cilantro, and served with rice and beans. It’s just one of many plates that bridge the gap between excitement and comfort, new and familiar. That’s how Javier’s does it.
Aria at CityCenter
11:30 a.m.-midnight daily. 866.590.3637