A new restaurant focusing on Latin American comfort food heads to Henderson in November. Aroma Latin American Cocina comes from Steve Kestler, a veteran of Bazaar Meat by José Andrés at the Sahara, Edo Gastro Tapas & Wine, and Bouchon Bistro at the Venetian, who most recently ran Maize Street food truck
Kestler was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States when he was 23. “When I started cooking, I had a lot of hunger for knowledge,” he says. “You want to do sushi, you want to do Korean, you want to do French, you want to learn basically everything. And that was me for like a long, long period of time. But then, I started thinking, ‘Okay, I have a basic general knowledge on cooking now.’ And I feel like I should cook the food that I grew up eating. It was in my DNA.”
The 1,300-square-foot restaurant on Green Valley Parkway just north of Sunset Road focuses on breakfast and lunch initially, but will have a beer and wine license, so look for Micheladas and Latin wines once it opens.
Diners can expect yogurt with macerated fruits and granola, power bowls with eggs and smoked salmon, chicken tinga chilaquiles, a warm potato cake with fried eggs and mushrooms, and a skillet that brings a full Latin American breakfast. “This dish brings me back to my mother’s house on a Sunday morning,” Kestler says. “It’s basically fried eggs, salsa verde, and chimole, with burnt tomatoes and onions and then you blend it with a little bit of limes juice.” Refried beans and cheese round out the dish.
A steak and plantains dish reminds Kestler of a typical Guatemalan breakfast. Breakfast tacos such as chorizo and cheese or pork belly and scrambled eggs reflect his time in Austin, Texas, as a chef. “I was eating breakfast tacos everyday, so that made a huge impact on me and I want to have them in the restaurant, too,” he says.
French toast made with brioche comes with a dulce de leche mousse, a holdover from the food truck. Maize Street, the Latin food truck from Kestler and Frank Medina, is on hiatus for now. The two met at Bazaar Meat in 2016 and wanted to create a place to make their own food. Together they came up with a menu of 50 dishes, and some will appear on the Aroma menu.