Las Vegas Magazine Profiles Aureole
Location: Aureole, Las Vegas
Palmer's cuisine always in season
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By Grace Bascos
When calling cuisine "progressive American," it seems important that the fare of a restaurant should evolve with current dining trends and tastes. Charlie Palmer's Aureole at Mandalay Bay has always been at the forefront of seasonal cooking and ingredients, and its new menu reflects the desire for great food in manageable, sharing portions.
The wine tower within Aureole has always been its focal point. Forty-two feet of glass and steel filled with more than 3,500 selections of wine is a spectacle at the front of the restaurant, especially when beautiful, black-clad wine angels effortlessly float about the tower to collect the various vintages. And the wine list is amazing. All of Aureole's available bottles are listed on a handheld computer tablet that allows guests to find and choose from rare, boutique and vintage wines with a user-friendly program. More romantic evenings require a table in Swan Court, overlooking an intimate pond with four snow white swans leisurely lapping the pool.
The newest addition of small plates allows guests to try more items in smaller portions. Ahi tuna sits inside a thin shell of potato cannelloni, the spiciness of the tuna cooled by an avocado cream. Flat pieces of scallop ceviche are dressed with a perfectly acidic serrano vinaigrette. Crunchy onion strings atop the dish add texture to the bite. House-smoked salmon is creatively plated in a Chinese soup spoon and topped with a verdant avocado-lime sorbet. Sliders may be ubiquitous on menus these days, but Aureole's version is great nosh, served with smoky chipotle aioli and crisp bacon.
Aureole serves an a la carte menu as well as three- and seven-course seasonal tasting menus and a new tasting menu for theatergoers seeing The Lion King at Mandalay Bay. Excellent choices include a hearty Mediterrean sea bass as an entrée, served with a tangy artichoke-tomato escabèche. Filet of Dover sole is enhanced with smoky bacon and a rich tarragon brown butter. It was at Aureole that we got to taste our first morel mushrooms of the season, meaty specimens in a buttery ragout with fresh English peas and fluffy gnocchi.
Pastry chef Megan Romano's creations are always the perfect way to end the meal, from her signature chocolate Linzer torte to the carefully crafted petit fours.
Aureole is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Mandalay Bay this year. Its longevity can be attributed to its efforts to stay as progressive as possible, while remaining true to a commitment to a spectacular dining experience.