wner Manuel Torres designed both the exterior facade as well as most of the interior furnishings and finishing touches himself, drawing from his memories of his Peruvian boyhood home. All the tile, wood and iron were imported from his native land, where the majority of the craftsmanship took place, including some hands-on work by Torres. This "labor of love" was over three years in the making, but the results are striking and no details were overlooked.
The central portion of the restaurant maintains the open, airy feel of a piazza, with atrium skylights, hanging plants, terra-cotta planters and courtyard fountains. All the furnishings, including the benches, doors, windowboxes--even the ceiling--are hand-carved from Peruvian mahogany and are augmented by locally made stained glass windows. The table pedestals were carved in wood, then cast in steel and painted black to coordinate with the decorative wrought iron used throughout. Six recessed porticos lend themselves to more intimate dining.
If the truth is in the details, El Serrano's Torres spared no expense or effort when tending to even the most minute elements. The lobby chandelier was hand-punched from a die utilizing bottle openers as its design inspiration. A solid brass "tumi", used in ancient times as a surgical instrument, stands in the foyer as a sentinel to greet visitors. A large stone replica of a Mayan monolith, known as a "stealae" represents the timekeeping method of the Maya people. The solid brass bar, hand-carved in mahogany then cast with scrap brass from the early 1900s, depicts the history of the Incas and their interactions with the Conquistadors. The bar's cooler utilizes an ingenious mechanism to rotate the stock. There are decorative wooden covers over the light controls and air/heat vents to keep them from being obtrusive. Even the restrooms feature new wooden doors and stalls, handcarved from the same mahogany used throughout the restaurant.