The bells and tones of the slot machines on the casino floor of ARIA Resort & Casino surround visitors waiting at the entrance to UNION. This classy restaurant is located directly off the casino floor, so you can’t ever fully escape the hustle and bustle of the resort, yet UNION somehow manages to create an intimate and warm yet edgy and innovative dining atmosphere that separates itself from any other activity taking place just beyond.
UNION is one of the classier dining choices at ARIA. It’s the kind of place you hit up with your girlfriends, impress someone on a first date or treat your parents when they’re in town. Far from stodgy, this contemporary restaurant offers a full menu of entrees, a selection of appetizers and several customized cocktails.
Chef Brian Massie leads the kitchen staff at UNION with a dinner menu that features shellfish, steaks and a few other entrees including chicken, lamb, lobster and sea bass. A surf and turf menu features the best of both worlds. Dinner doesn’t come cheap at UNION, however, but you’re paying for the fact that all ingredients and fare is fresh, seasonal and, in some cases, organic. Soups and salads run $14.00-$16.00.
Even if you can’t swing dinner, stop in for a small plate and a cocktail. The small plates are meant to be shared, and this menu is much longer and more diverse than the dinner options. Kobe beef sliders, baked mozzarella, shrimp bites and crab tacos are among the options on this menu.
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We had the opportunity to sample many of the dishes at UNION and were impressed by the flavor, size and presentation. The only thing that left us feeling unfilled was the stuffed Maine lobster, which we felt was just a bit overstuffed for our liking. The only other word of caution is that this isn’t really a vegetarian-friendly restaurant, as most of the menu items are meat- or seafood-related.
Though the food at UNION is certainly high class, it’s the cocktails that steal the show. There are several in-house mixologists at the restaurant, and they do their jobs well. Among the specialty cocktails on the menu are the Heat of the Moment and Berrylicious. For those feeling a little bit spicy, order the Heat of the Moment, a fun, creative cocktail that looks like the devil. Passion fruit puree, agave nectar and fresh lime juice are combined with tequila, sugar and cinnamon are spread around the rim and the drink is garnished with two chili peppers. If you’re feeling a bit on the fruity side, order a Berrylicious cocktail, a light, sweet drink that combines strawberry, lemon and raspberry flavors tossed with dry ice so it steams. Each drink is $20.00.
Though UNION is centrally located in ARIA, the atmosphere and meticulous attention of the wait staff helps patrons feel like they’re much further away, enjoying an interesting and innovative meal found only in Las Vegas.
Open nightly at 5:00. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Photo credit: The Light Group
My dining experience at UNION was generously sponsored by The Light Group.