There’s just something so cozy about Javier’s, Las Vegas’ newest hot spot on the casino floor at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star ARIA Resort & Casino. Perhaps it’s the cushy, leather swivel stools that line the spacious roulette-like oval bar (we like the four cell-charging stations embedded in it) at the Mexican eatery. Or maybe it’s the music — just loud enough to drown out the ringing of the slots (you’ll forget you’re inside a casino) and rich enough to mix lively mariachi hits with old-school American faves like Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel.”
This is the place to go if you just want a margarita on the rocks and some complimentary chips and salsa. Its hand-shaken ’ritas, poured into generously sized tumblers, are made with natural, not-too-sweet ingredients like agave nectar, fresh-squeezed lime juice and chopped cucumbers. At the bar, you’ll sit under an artful canopy of rope and lights that lends a surprisingly warm glow to an otherwise dim setting.
If you’d prefer to dine at a table, slide into a leather booth within the restaurant’s white stucco walls for a candlelit meal. The menu of Mexican fare is deep, with seafood entrées like Cabo Azul (a Maine lobster enchilada with a creamy pasilla sauce) and grilled dishes like carne asada (a prime, center-cut New York steak) plus lists of combination plates and appetizers.
The back wall of the Las Vegas restaurant pays homage to Mexican civilization with a unique chainsaw carving that’s worth a closer look. Carved by artist J. Chester Armstrong, the 25-foot-long piece is supposed to be the largest piece of chainsaw art in the world. But then again, with its informally chic décor and Baja-nodding menu, almost everything about Javier’s seems worth further exploration.
Photo Courtesy of MGM Resorts International