aurora soho... thoughts about it. anyone been?
We just went tonight for their $45 four-course Thanksgiving prix-fixe and it was really enjoyable. I'm always wary of holiday prix-fixe menus, but this was really nice; both the food and the ambience.
I want to point out that even though this was a holiday prix-fixe, everything was cooked well, ie. didn't taste like huge amounts had been pre-made and re-warmed. The decor is simple, a mix of modern and rustic, with good lighting and music. I don't agree with CobblerNYC (we're Cobble Hillers, too) that the crowd is the worst of Soho at all. It was a good mix of friends, couples, and families with well-attended young children.
We met my mother at the cozy bar area, where the bartender was really patient letting us try different wines before settling on a bottle of Pratello Rebo ($60, and worth every penny, about $28-30 retail when we checked online, not terrible in terms of mark-up).
We moved to the main dining area, and sat in a sweet corner table with a comfortable padded bench. We started off the meal with a delicious butternut squash soup and a very nice wild mushroom and chestnut salad with crispy polenta and tallegio fondue. Then moved onto chestnut-flavored pappardelle with Bolognese ragu (him) and butternut squash ricotta dumplings with walnuts, radicchio and pecorino (me). Then he got the free-range turkey with pork and apple stuffing with cranberry sauce and I got the roasted bass, which was perfectly-cooked moist, but crispy on top, over melted leeks. The sides were maple-glazed sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and spinach with garlic, pine nuts and raisins. Dessert was tiramisu (pretty good) and a really yummy apple and pecan pie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Everyone we dealt with was genuinely friendly, helpful and well-informed; from the hostess who checked our coats, to the bartender (who stood attentively polishing glasses when not helping us with the wine list) to the bussers and waiters who didn't exude any of the attitude you might expect on a busy holiday night. We will definitely go back.
510 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
Aurora Soho was one of the most pleasant and simply delicious meals I have had in a while. Our waitress was charming and attentive. She recommended a wonderful bottle of wine and was just very lovely to interact with.
In terms of food, the restaurant also surpassed my expectations. I started with the roasted fig, ricotta, and bresola appetizer, in which all the items were very well balanced--I have been wishing I could have that dish every day. My father asked if he could simply get a pappardelle with pesto to start even though it was not on the menu. The chef readily complied and the outcome was wonderful. For my main course I had the pappardelle with veal cheeks as listed on the menu, while my father had the cornish. both of us ate every last morsel on our plates. For dessert we ordered the tortino di cioccolato. It is the classic chocolate "lava" cake that so many restaurants now serve, most of them badly. This rendition, however, was that dessert as it is truly intended to appear--everything from the surrounding cake, to the melted ganache inside--it was superb. The only thing I would not recommend is the fois gras terrine, which we ordered to eat while reading the rest of the menu. It was tasteless, but as I have suggested, the rest of the meal more than made up for it.
Although I am sure the restaurant could get quite lively, we went on a Thursday and it was calm, and very pleasant, perfect for intimate conversation. However, I think it would also be a nice place to bring a larger group as well. Ultimately, the food will provide you with no moments of epiphany, but for a lovely night out, particularly with such low prices, the restaurant is ideal.