Aroma Latin American Cocina: Henderson’s award-winning restaurant

Aroma Latin American Cocina: Henderson's award-winning restaurant

Photo courtesy of Aroma Latin American Cocina.

By Aleza Freeman

June 3, 2024

In a culinary mecca like Las Vegas, where world-class restaurants are a dime a dozen (metaphorically speaking, of course), differentiating oneself from the competition is a veritable challenge.

Perhaps that’s why it’s such a nice surprise when a restaurant opens that not only stands out but is also outstanding. Aroma Latin American Cocina is such a place.

In only three years, Aroma has managed to capture the attention and taste buds of curious diners, food connoisseurs, and critics alike with its masterfully curated menu, authentic ingredients, and bold fusion of Guatemalan, Cuban, and Peruvian flavors.

The cozy cocina scores a high rating of 4.9 stars on Yelp, earning the No. 1 slot in Yelp’s Top 100 Taco Spots in the US for 2023 and its Executive Chef/Owner Steve Kestler is a finalist in the Best Chef: Southwest category of the 2024 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards coming up in June.

Yet, this truly hidden gem is still relatively unknown, tucked into an unassuming shopping center with a La Bonita Supermarket at the northwest edge of old-school Green Valley. The tiny yet impeccably decorated dining room, with colorful art and a Latin American-inspired mural, is hidden from passersby by covered windows.

Aroma Latin American Cocina: Henderson's award-winning restaurant

Photo courtesy of Aroma Latin American Cocina.

Aroma Latin American Cocina: The menu & more

Guatemala-born Kesler comes to Aroma by way of iconic Las Vegas Strip restaurants like Bazaar Meat by José Andrés and Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro. He brings top-level skills as a chef and restaurateur, immense creativity, and a unique perspective.

Aroma Latin American Cocina: Henderson's award-winning restaurant

Photo courtesy of Aroma Latin American Cocina.

The cuisine at Aroma is prepared with care. Dishes like mole-smothered beef short ribs, churrasquito, and pork chop milanesa are creative in both execution and presentation. We’re talking veritable works of art served with a fork and spoon.

You can’t help but gawk at and comment on the food as it passes your table to be served to someone else, wondering if you should have ordered that too.

For an appetizer, the Peruvian Ceviche ($19) is stacked with sweet potato, corn nuts cancha, cilantro, and yellowtail, surrounded by a leche de tigre marinade you’ll want to drink straight from the bowl. Scooping up all the different tastes and textures with fried plantains is a heavenly experience.

Perfect for cutting in half and sharing or keeping all to yourself, the Gaucho Sandwich ($19) captures the perfect ratio of crunchiness and softness. It’s stuffed full of chimichurri-smothered tender grilled picanha (Brazilian steak) that practically melts in your mouth. You can add a fried egg for $3.50 or cheese for $4, but we thought it was the perfect umami without any additions.

As for dessert, we could barely keep ourselves from licking the guava sauce off the plate after finishing the Pastel De Queso ($13). Aptly described as a deconstructed cheesecake, this artful dish is too pretty to eat. Almost.

Other favorites include the sandiada salad ($13) with watermelon, jicama, tomato nixtamal, and chamoy vin creating a symphony of flavors and textures; Tender tacos on double corn tortillas with pork belly, carne asada, or cod ($7 each); Horchata in a cinnamon-lined glass ($5), or served in a coconut for $10.

Aroma Latin American Cocina: Henderson's award-winning restaurant

Photo courtesy of Aroma Latin American Cocina.

Run, don’t walk, to Aroma

While Aroma could easily fit in at any of the Strip’s renowned resorts, we’re lucky as locals to have it in our community. Parking is free and easy, the atmosphere is intimate, and the prices are justified, especially compared to other restaurants of this caliber.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Aroma Latin American Cocina: Henderson's award-winning restaurantAroma Latin American Cocina: Henderson's award-winning restaurant

  • Aleza Freeman

    Aleza Freeman is a Las Vegas native and award-winning journalist with two decades of experience writing and editing lifestyle, travel, entertainment, and human interest stories in Nevada. Her work has appeared in AARP magazine, Haute Living and Nevada Magazine.

CATEGORIES: FOOD and DRINK

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