Another restaurant on our dying to try during Restaurant Week was Charlie Palmer’s midtown restaurant Aureole. Aureole was originally located in a brownstone on 61st Street. It’s location in midtown is bigger with a bar in front and a dining room in back. The front sleek and modern and the back more luxurious and intimate, but still reminiscent of a ‘boys’ club’ with woods and leather with browns and tans.
And, while this was a place on our bucket list – so to speak – now tried, we’re not so sure we’d go back. The food was very good, but not exciting – well, the dessert was, but it doesn’t take much to excite the Fork and Spoon when it comes to desserts!
One of our favorite things about this lunch was seeing Charlie Parker there. It’s so nice when a ‘celebrity’ chef is actually in his restaurant – in che’s whites, mind you – and walking around the restaurant speaking to diners.
Spoon ordered the Pan Roasted Shrimp with a Summer Melons Salsa, Prosciutto, and Baby Arugula. Poor Fork couldn’t try this dish, but from the ooooh-ing and aaah-ing coming from Spoon, we can assume the dish was really good. It certainly looked beautiful. Seemed a rather small portion, 2 shrimp, 2 tiny slivers of prosciutto, and tiny pieces of melon. This was more like an appetizer on a menu for ‘ladies who lunch’ than in a place decorated like a ‘boys’ club’.
Fork ordered the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Diced Avocado and Croutons. What arrived was a beautifully vibrant red tomato gazpacho, small dots of olive oil floating on top. The soup was fresh tasting and flavorful, the avocados and croutons just brought it to another level, with a little crunch, of course, from the croutons. Really yummy, and Fork is not a big soup fan.
For a main dish, Fork ordered the Flatiron Steak. Sliced steak served over baby bok choy, coconut rice, scallions, and a chile garlic dressing. Sprinkled on top was toasted coconut flakes and microgreens. The steak was cooked perfectly. The slightly bitter baby bok choy gave a nice bite to the buttery steak. The coconut rice just gave this dish the perfect sweet element. All together a knock out of the park.
Spoon ordered the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, served over green asparagus, caramelized cipollini onions with a green olive jus. The chicken was surprisingly moist and tender. The asparagus were still crisp, and were so perfect with the cipollini onions. The sweetness of carmelized cipollini was perfect with the salty bite from the green olive jus. Such a simple dish, done so well, with so many complex flavors. Just perfect.
For dessert, both Fork and Spoon ordered the Rocky Road Vacherin. It was beautifully plated. It was like a sophisticated and deconstructed rocky road sundae. There was a chocolate ice cream – which wasn’t really like an ice cream, but more of a mousse that was frozen – tube shaped marshmallows, bites of dense, gooey, rich brownie, a reduced black cherry glaze, and marcona almonds, and a chocolate meringue. Each element of the dessert was wonderful on its own and together made magic on the plate!
Food, good. Service, so-so. Seeing Charlie Parker, cool. Portions, small. We wanted it, we tried it and the drawer is still out as to whether we would go back.