Zagat Buzz - Restaurant Week Reviewed: Aureole
Location: Aureole, New York
In our final installment of Restaurant Week reviews we look at stalwart Aureole, which is currently under transition, with new chef Christophe Bellanca taking over for Christopher Lee. Does it show? Read on.
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The Deets: The three-course deal is available solely for lunch, with reservations being somewhat hard to get despite the large space. The first and second courses offer three options, with dessert coming in at two. With the entire menu being reworked, it's hard to assert that any of the choices may become regular dishes.
What to Order: The fluke provides a taste of the Aureole we're familiar with, showcasing fresh ingredients and a clean, New American approach. The frisee and mache make for a heartier salad, with the addition of poached quail eggs and goat cheese cromesquis creating a comforting while elevated starter dish. For mains, the seared branzino and pork cheeks certainly displayed effort (as opposed to a cop out chicken option) and were both filling choices. Our guest suggested that perhaps a more prominent appearance of sides would have been welcome, as there was a dominance of protein with little to accompany it. (
Perhaps we're gluttons, but we always think it's better to have more meat than filler.) As for dessert, Jennifer Yee's offerings, an apple duo and a triple chocolate napoleon, hit the mark, with the napoleon being the favorite (the apple cake came a bit dry).
Waiter Watch: Service was pleasant and attentive throughout the meal, despite the restaurant being crowded. One note we might provide though is that guests coming here should allow for a leisurely lunch. Not that it was too slow, but you certainly won't be rushed out the door.
But Is It a Deal? Yes. Though the restaurant usually has a prix fixe for lunch, by going for Restaurant Week, one saves $7. Also, given the new chef, the current three-course menu offers a hint at what's to come and allows patrons to sample chef Bellanca's cuisine without making as much of a monetary commitment.
The Upshot: The three-course lunch dishes here provide selections that seem in line with Aureole's familiar New American slant, while providing a preview of changes to come. More than anything, it also means you're among the first to sample the chef's new cuisine, to be the formative guinea pigs. And who doesn't want those bragging rights?
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