It’s been a while since we wanted to try Aureole, located close to Bryant Park. When making the reservation, they asked if we wanted to dine in the casual or formal dining room, where a tasting menu was served. We went for the latter and did not regret it. The food and service at this acclaimed Charlie Palmer’s restaurant were impeccable and they accommodated Jodi with a vegetarian menu that was definitely not an afterthought.
When you enter, you first go through the casual room I mentioned, called the Liberty Room, with its huge chandelier and the view of their incredible wine cellar on the second floor. The formal dining room in the back is quieter and emptied after 8pm.
I started by ordering a cocktail called Sgt Pepper that I guess was an homage to the Beatles. Refreshing and not strong, it was made with William Peel blended scotch, Cynar (Italian bitter liquor), bell pepper, lemon and grapefruit.
They then brought us an amuse: pomegranate gelée for Jodi
Cured salmon in a dashi broth with bonito and crispy rice. A good way to start.
It was followed by some house made bread. We both chose some focaccia that was so good, I got a second piece...
We had to pick between the five course and the three course tasting. The five course was fully defined, while we had various choices for the three course. But, when I saw the dishes in the five course menu, I could not resist. The first dish was King Crab + Apple, a crab toast made with kupie, nori dust, paddlefish roe, avocado on a brioche. This was delicious, the crab not overpowered by the sort of mayo it was mixed with. And that brioche was so good, very buttery.
Jodi on her side got a Spring salad that did not look boring at all.
Next was a white asparagus soup with a goat and ricotta ravioli for Jodi
And Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras With pear purée, pickled ginger, blackberry on the same brioche I had with the crab. The soup was pretty good, smooth, and the foie gras fantastic, deliciously fatty and literally melting in my mouth. In fact, I enjoy more seared foie gras over the pâté.
The third course was Cavatelli pasta with mussels, garlic, saffron and heirloom tomato.
Jodi got a vegetarian version of this course. The pasta was very good, perfectly cooked al dente.
The fourth course was, with the foie gras, what I was looking for: Long Island Duck Breast with white asparagus, fava beans, pickled rhubarb and sauce béarnaise. I was expecting to see the sauce on the duck, but it was on the asparagus: I loved it. The asparagus were well cooked, with a nice bite, smothered by a delightfully buttery béarnaise. The duck was cooked medium rare and was nicely fatty, the skin being slightly crispy. If you love duck, I strongly suggest this dish.
Jodi on her side got some seasonal vegetables.
Last was dessert. We both got the Wild Strawberry on top of a sablé breton, natural jus with fromage blanc ice cream. It was good, but it is not the kind of dessert that blows you away and that you would remember.
With the check, they brought us a plate of cookies that was a nice attention, but we were so full...
It was a great meal and I would definitely go back to Auréole. I am in fact curious to go to their casual dining room, the burger I saw passing by looked very appetizing...
Enjoy (I did)!
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Aureole - 135 W 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036