135 W 42nd St (6th & Broadway)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 319-1660
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Chef: Christophe Bellanca
Cuisine: New American
Area: West 40s
I think what's best about the new Aureole is that it's for all the people. It's a far cry from its former lair; a quaint townhouse uptown. Charlie Palmer has gone for bold and brash. And if you ever wanted to make a statement, Times Square is the place to do it.
The first thing you will notice is the huge circular chandelier, and an endless supply of wine kept behind glass on the second floor with its own little passageway. It's quite cool. This is the "Bar Room" complete with white linen table cloths and deep brown banquettes. It's also here that you will find a bustling bar servicing executives, tourists and native New Yorkers. It has the feel of a lively French bistro. It's also here where you can enjoy a cocktail and light meal at a fraction of the cost.
There are bar snacks like beef tartare with honey mustard and potato onion toast ($14), oysters on the half shell ($18 for 1/2 doz) and broiled Portuguese sardines with black olives and smoked paprika. Dig a bit deeper into the menu an you'll find pastrami pork belly sliders with Russian dressing ($15) and a Peeky Toe crab cake with Granny Smith apple and horse radish drassing ($18).
I found myself sitting near the bar taking in the scene and ordering an Aereole grilled burger. It's a healthy-sized burger topped with apple wood smoked bacon, melted white chedder and a pickled ramp dressing ($19), served with a large wedge of iceberg lettuce on the side. The burger arrived perfectly rare tucked neatly in its white and black sesame seed bun. A side of crispy shoestring potatoes ($5) were crisp and in a tub large enough for two. You can also order the Papas Fritas ($9) mixed with aged Manchego cheese and chorizo sausage. And with the money you saved splurge on an Aureole cocktail pungent with passion fruit or a nice glass of wine.
If you're looking for a formal dining experience, head to the main dining room for a more romantic meal. The restaurant offers a three-course meal for $85 which includes starters like a Diver Sea Scallop "Sandwich" with seared foie gras, and spiced pumpkin ravioli. Main courses run the gamut from wild European turbot with Jerusalem artichoke and swiss chard to a Yellow Fin Tuna "Wellington" in a red wine reduction. Desserts includes a concorde grape soup, ricotta cheesecake, and caramel panna cotta served with warm banana bread.
Auerole is also great spot for dinner before a night of theater. The prix fixe pre-theater menu (served between 5-6pm) is a great deal at $55 offering entrees like Scottish salmon, pecan-crusted L.I. Pekin duck and a grilled ribeye.
As you can see there are several ways to enjoy the new Aureole, and New York is better for it.