My only experience at Aureole wasn't a good one. It took place about two 1/2 years ago.
We were seated next to a group of very loud, cigar smoking businessmen. It was very unpleasant. In addition, the food seemed oddly heavy. Each main dish was a large slab of protein with a huge blob of starch; certainly not the finesse I was expecting from Charles Palmer.
Hell, I'd go back in a minute if someone else were paying but not on my dollar.
I too, think Aureole is over-rated. We were there about a year ago, but were whisked past the empty good tables downstairs to Siberia upstairs where we sat next to a large, intoxicated group talking loudly about office politics. The decor was bland rather than elegant. The appetizers and entrees were okay. The desserts were very good, but by that time we were kind of fed up.
re: Jennifer Stott
I went to Aureole a year and some ago; I can't report
fairly because I actually wasn't hungry that evening,
for some bizarre reason, but when you have to make
reservations a month in advance there's no accounting
for appetite! I too was wisked (with the boy) to upper
Siberia, actually the outer limits as far away from the
main life as you could imagine; my table too was
squeezed between two business dinners of people seeming
a lot more carefree about money than I could ever
imagine to be. The food, to give credit where credit
is due, was wonderful and delicious, although heavy,
exquisite, unimpeachable, elaborate, elegant, et al.
The service however was cold (formal?) and when I
couldn't finish the extensive 7-course tasting meal I
had ordered (I actually asked them not to bring out the
last -- meat -- course, I had barely eaten half of the
previous course) the waiter said, "oh, I thought to
warn you that it might be too much food." A
frustrating remark, my query being why didn't he?? To
compensate they brought at least three absolutely
fabulous wonderful desserts. Nothing to complain
about, but not my favorite meal of all time.
All the negative and mediocre feedback about Aureole
saddens me, but I've heard it from others not on the
For some reason, I haven't been there in more than
three years, but of all the "fancy shmancy" meals I've
had in New York (not THAT many, I guess), the best
meals have been at Aureole. The sea scallop
"sandwich" (actually, scallops in between ethereal
potato pancakes, in a light cream citrus sauce) might
be my favorite appetizer I've ever eaten. Entrees
usually, but not always, were up to this level.
The service has always been superb, friendly and
professional. But my visits were before Charles
Palmer started opening many other restaurants, and I
fear that there might not be the guiding spirit that
made Aureole so unique. For Palmer forged a
particularly American restaurant without the
conservatism that has always plagued Forgione's
I hope you disregarded the negative feedback and tried aureole anyway. Last visit was about a month ago, one of the best meals i've had in new york in many years, and I go everywhere--all neighborhoods and all price ranges.
The tasting menu, although it did require a large appetite to finish, was a virtuoso performance! Each course was distinctively flavored, I did not find it to be heavy food at all, and this was a winter menu. Service was attentive but not hovering--and--we got a great table. I am not a fancy socialite, just a basic suburban housewife type, so I think we were treated pretty much as mainstream. Hope you went--good luck!!!!