Anybody been to Aureole lately?
I have always wanted to try it and the menu seems very interesting. Unlike other fine dining options in the city, Aureole does not get much press. Any thoughts? I am considering either Aureole or the Modern Bar Room for a nice dinner later this week and wanted to know opinions on both of them. More specifically for Aureole though, since I know everyone loves and raves about The Modern Bar Room.
The new Aureole is not in any way like the old Aureole. It seems to have been designed by the Charlie Parker Group's Las Vegas efficiency expert. The old eight course $115 Tasting Menu has been replaced by a $115 Parallel Tasting Menu; the serve you four pairs of courses so they can get you out of there in half the time.
I got the tasting menu -- and I wouldn't say you get out in half the time (unless it would usually take 6 hours!)
I'm a big fan of Christopher Lee's cooking -- I didn't realize how ballsy the parallel concept was until I tried it -- you basically have to present two dishes simultaneously that are close enough not to clash in taste while at the same time not overlapping with one another to closely in flavor profile.
I think the pair that best handled this was the sole -- different preparations - one fried, the other sauteed, one sour, the other sweet. The first course was caviar, one paired with peeky toe crab, the other with a liquid ravioli. Technically, very accomplished, but not the same level of contrast between the two plates.
I found the cooking to very precise and very subtle -- I'm not sure how well that will play as think people are gravitating more towards bigger, bolder flavors. But I really enjoyed seeing all the little elements of the plate come together.
The space looks old/hotelesque. The musak is rancid. The first three beer selections on the cocktail menu are Bud Light, Amstel Light, Heineken. And the four bread selections were dreary. So I am confused as to who the restaurant is designed to appeal to -- Midtown powerbrokers? Foodies? Tourists? Reminded me of the old Gray Kunz space in the TWC ...
I'd prefer to see Chris Lee do incredible work in a less fussy space ... will have to wait.