You hunger for short rib braised by a three-star Michelin chef that lets your knife goes untouched. A cabernet selected by one of the world’s 186 Certified Master Sommeliers that changes what risotto means to you, and absinthe expertly prepared to follow today’s selection of scallops.
The credentials of our roster of culinary talent go beyond expert training and esteemed awards. Take a bite, and you’ll know.
Clarissa Castillo didn't discover her passion for wine until she worked for Bart Mahoney, VP of Food & Beverage at the Mirage. While working in the Food & Beverage department, she worked very closely with Alex Stratta, Executive Chef of Renoir at the Mirage. One of her duties included updating and modifying menus and wine lists. Clarissa admits that she had minimal wine knowledge and didn't understand the importance of a wine program for a restaurant. It wasn't until Alex Stratta's wine director gave her a book called Windows on the World, that she became intrigued. She enjoyed learning about wine so much that she decided to turn her passion into a career. Clarissa has been a sommelier for five years, working at Julian Serrano since the opening of ARIA Resort & Casino.
When asked what makes a sommelier unique, Clarissa responded with "The standards of service that we hold ourselves to. A good sommelier can anticipate guests needs, provide excellent service, and ensure the guest is satisfied." Clarissa communicates with her guests and utilizes her knowledge to give them an unforgettable experience.
Clarissa enjoys working in formal dining rooms. She enjoys structured menus, allowing her to pair multiple wines with courses. Currently, her favorite dish and wine pairing at Julian Serrano is the Mixed Paella with the 2001 Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia, from Rioja, Spain. Create an unforgettable experience with the help of Clarissa Castillo at Julian Serrano!
Nick Hetzel, an Iowa native, became interested in Food & Beverage when he worked in the back of the house at Aunt Maude’s Restaurant during High School. He moved to Las Vegas in 1997 to attend University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he studied Food & Beverage Management. Nick’s fascination for wine began in college when he took a class at UNLV taught by Steve Geddes, Master Sommelier.
While attending the UNLV, he also worked in the kitchens of James Beard Award-winning chefs Stephan Pyles and Mark Miller. In 2001, upon completion of his Food & Beverage Management degree, he spent a year in the management training program with Houston’s Restaurant in Irvine, CA.
Building on his love of wine, he worked as Sommelier at Rosemary’s Restaurant for four years in Las Vegas, and two years as Sommelier at the acclaimed Redd Restaurant in the Napa Valley. He was presented with the opportunity to move back to Las Vegas and open Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro in 2008, serving as the opening Beverage Director. While at Morels, Nick built a 500 selection wine list deep in Rhone, Bordeaux and California cult selections and was integral in the creation of a seasonal cocktail program.
In 2009, Nick was part of ARIA’s opening Sommelier team as the lead at Sirio Ristorante and is currently the Lead Sommelier at Sage, Chef Shawn McClain’s restaurant in ARIA. Sage has been named by Wine Enthusiast as Top 100 Wine Restaurants in the nation for 2011 and 2012 as well as the current winner of Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence. Be sure to ask for Nick Hetzel to assist you in pairing the perfect wine with Sages contemporary American dishes.