Aureole in Las Vegas - Review
- Bob Brooks May 16, 2001 02:47 PM
My wife and I went to Aureole last Friday. We requested and were seated in the Swan Court, which is a separate part of the restaurant and is considered its best room. It is, indeed, a very pretty room.
The menus in Swan Court are prix fixe. There is a tasting menu for $95.00, which, if chosen, the entire table must order. There is also a $75.00 menu which offers a choice from a long list of appetizers and main courses, many of which have price supplements.
We ordered the $95.00 tasting menu along with the supplemental $45.00 wine service that was supposedly matched to each course. On the whole, the meal was a disappointment, especially considering that it was probably as expensive as any meal I have ever had.
The meal began with an amuse guelle from the chef, a tiny pastry cup with a mushroom mousse in it. A single bite. It was fine.
The first course was Salmon Tartare with Citrus Cream. It was served on a single teaspoon. It was also fine. They served it with a few ounces of Iron Horse sparkling wine. (All of the wines served were a scant two ounces, it seemed).
Next came Sesame Crusted Tuna Cake with Trio of Beans with a wasabi, ponzu and a carrot ginger puree. The effect of the sesame crust made the cake taste rather tough. The carrot ginger puree was very nice. The best part of this was the wine choice. They served Momokawa Pearl sake; cold and unfiltered, it was delicious.
Crisp Red Snapper with Black Olive Tapenade, spring onions and parsley essence was the only hit of the night. The snapper was perfect and the parsley essence was dazzlingly intense. I'm sorry I can't recall the white wine that was served with this. It was similar to a very dry reisling.
This was followed by Sauteed Quail over Crisp Onion Rings. What should have been the most fun dish of the night was ruined by way too much salt in the sauce. Also, the quail was tough. They served a Spanish red from Marques de Caceres.
Finally came Surf and Turf. Pan seared tiger prawns and charcoaled filet mignon. Really disappointing. The two, tiny prawns were tough and flavorless and the first bite of the filet tasted strangely like liver! What's worse is that the whole thing was served on a bed of the absolutely saltiest spinach I have ever tasted. And I'm still trying to figure out why anyone thought a bed of spinach, even one perfectly seasoned, was such a good idea here. The wine served was a Merlot Cabernet blend that, compared with the stronly wooded flavors of the Spanish wine we had just finished, tasted pretty flabby.
The cheese course "Savory Black Pepper and Citrus Cheese Cake" was a single bite of a vaguely sweet and creamy item with the consistency of a cheese cake. Having passed by a very attractive cheese cart on the way to our table, this was rather sad. No other wines were served.
Desserts were from the regular dessert list. The banana financier was very good.
Coffee was served with Petit Fours and Handmade Chocolates. A total of four small ones for both of us.
When I called the restaurant a few days later to ask about the specific list of wines I was served, I was told that it changed every night. I had a distinct feeling that the wines we were served were hardly special and, even for Las Vegas prices, a bit of a rip off.
I don't think I'm being petty, but somehow I expected more for a meal for two that cost $300.00 without a tip.
I'd love to hear others experiences.