After two decades in its landmark turn-of-the-century brownstone off Madison Avenue, Charlie Palmer's flagship Aureole reopens at the spectacular Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. Following a series of private preview events, the restaurant opens softly to the public beginning the week of June 29 and through the summer months, offering a 15% discount on all menus until the grand opening benefit gala for Citymeals-on-Wheels, September 15, 2009.
"Aureole is my soul – my first restaurant," says Palmer. "We would only consider a move with a perfect partnership; One Bryant Park offers the ideal environment, and we are literally in on the ground floor. We didn't travel far from Madison Avenue, but our view of 42nd Street's evolving modern landscape sparked an entirely new tempo for us. We built our ideal restaurant space complete with dream kitchen, larger wine storage, and more diverse dining rooms. Combined with our very talented kitchen and dining room staff, this Aureole is designed to last another 20 years."
According to Jonathan Durst, Co-President of The Durst Organization, "Aureole's innovative cuisine and welcoming service will greatly enhance the cultural elements of the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, which includes the restored Henry Miller's Theater, an Urban Garden Room and a stunning public through-block. One Bryant Park is not only the most environmentally advanced skyscraper in the U.S., it's also fast becoming New York's most desirable address for work, dining and theater."
New York native Christopher Lee, Food & Wine's "Best New Chef 2006", will continue to serve as Executive Chef, assisted by Pastry Chef, Jennifer Yee and Sous Chefs Marcus Ware and Marcellus Coleman. Charles Pouchot will continue to lead as General Manager and is joined by new Maitre d' Jan Sedlak. The restaurant's impressive wine selection, housing over 15,000 bottles on premise and over 1,000 distinct selections, is the domain of Wine Director, Justin Lorenz.
Under the kitchen leadership of Chef Lee, the new Aureole will enable diners to experience the restaurant's acclaimed Progressive American cuisine at a variety of prices and dining environments. Lunch will be offered a la carte in both the Bar Room and Dining Room with an additional three-course prix fixe menu option in the Dining Room.
For dinner, the Bar Room and seasonal terrace seating on Anita's Way offer more casual a la carte menu selections, with dishes including Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Granny Smith Apple and Remoulade or West Coast Halibut with Sweet Yellow Corn, Potato Gnocchi and Basil Pesto. A Bar Snacks menu is available all day featuring items like Pork Belly Pastrami Sliders and Octopus a la Plancha.
An intimate, elegant Dining Room offers more avant garde menu selections with a prix fix three-course dinner menu and chef's 5 or 7 course tasting menu featuring items like the Diver Sea Scallop Sandwich with Seared Foie Gras to start and Veal Tenderloin and Sweetbreads with Wild Asparagus, Charred Onion, Georgia Peaches and Pickled Ramps as a main course. To finish, guests can select from a delectable list of desserts including a Dark Chocolate Torte with Ricotta Sorbet and Scotch Butterscotch or Caramel Panna Cotta with Warm Banana Bread and Candied Coconut complimented by a selection of house-made ice creams, sorbets and chocolates.
THE WINE & BEVERAGE PROGRAM
In typical Palmer fashion, the suspended bespoke wine mezzanine is the very heart of the new Aureole. Aureole's wine program includes over 15,000 bottles stored on premise, with 1,000 distinct selections. Whether ordered from the eWinebook, or by leafing through the traditional printed booklet, Aureole's extensive wine list includes rare, limited production wines from around the globe, alongside classic selections and over 100 wines priced under $100. Eight red, eight white, and five sparkling wines are offered by the glass. A signature cocktail list features seasonal drinks emphasizing fresh ingredients and unexpected flavor combinations, such as the fig-thyme martini.
DESIGN AND LOCATION
Over the last decade of expansion, Charlie Palmer has naturally gravitated to architecturally significant buildings, from Charlie Palmer Steak in the rebuilt United Brotherhood of Carpenters headquarters on Washington DC's National Mall, to Charlie Palmer at The Joule in Dallas, housed in a Twenties-era Gothic-revival structure listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Now Aureole at One Bryant Park joins other noteworthy buildings—such as the dramatically sloping travertine-and-glass W.R. Grace Building and the Beaux-Arts New York Public Library—facing the revitalized Bryant Park.
Designed by Adam D. Tihany, the sleek, contemporary Aureole is defined by terra-rich colors and dramatic but diffused lighting. Dining is staged in three venues: The Bar Room, Dining Room and Private Dining Room.
The smart, casual Bar Room (table service seating for 64, with an 18-seat bar) features a café au lait-color marble floor, high-gloss solid walnut table tops, and leather chairs in earthy hues. The back-lit etched glass bar has a brushed zinc surface, and surrounding the room are five finished oak-clad columns, featuring a strip of back-lit glass housed on each of the corners. Floor–to-ceiling 42nd Street windows are softened by translucent brown Roman shades.
Cantilevered over the Bar Room is a temperature-controlled, enclosed glass wine mezzanine, 40 feet in length and 10 feet wide. Supported by a steel structure with the glass gracefully curving over the bar area, the functional wine feature stores up to 3,500 bottles, on bays of back-lit acrylic units giving the enclosure a unique glow. Guests are led into the Dining Room by crossing beneath the wine mezzanine.
Walking beneath the wine mezzanine brings guests into the Dining Room (seating 54), where banquette and table seating in warm colors and luxurious textures recall Aureole's intimate townhouse past. Five linear chandeliers (each 12 feet long by 9 inches wide), constructed of golden acrylic tiles, give the room an elegant luster.
The neo-classic Private Dining Room (seating 60) is striking in its contrast of luminous night sky colors offset by a palette of silver finishes. Consistent with the fundamental idea of radiance, sculptural back-lit flame sconces wrap the room and a recessed ceiling cone – 13 feet in diameter and 7 feet deep – houses a custom chandelier constructed of silver acrylic tiles.
Featured throughout the space is the artwork of Bram Tihany, a specially commissioned collection of art photographs that represents a synthesis between conceptual elements of the restaurant's design history, culinary styling, and name. The "rebirth" of the iconic New York restaurant is represented by a colossal sculpture celebrating a toast to good health and new beginnings.
Seasonal terrace seating is available on "Anita's Way", a pedestrian walkway connecting the 42nd and 43rd Street sides of the building. Adjacent is the reconstructed Henry Miller's Theatre, the first new Broadway house built in more than a decade, located behind the preserved and restored neo-Georgian façade of the original 1918 theater.
Under the restaurant lies another Aureole, the sprawling kitchen. What started out as 3400 square feet of raw basement space was the domain of Palmer's kitchen designer, Mark Stech-Novak of Mark Stech-Novak Restaurant Consultation & Design in Oakland, California, who is a trained chef and the first American to hold a Diplôme de Technicien d'Œnologue (Oenology) from the University of Dijon.
Aureole's cuisine d'envoie (or finishing kitchen) is an L-shaped line, with three functionally designated areas: entrees, hot and cold appetizers. There is a pastry production area and dedicated service area, including a chilled ice cream and chocolate room, designed to hold confections at the precise temperature as well as to protect them from the flour dust in the baking area. The twenty-piece batterie is the first and largest installation of Viking Commercial in NYC, and Stech-Novak has been instrumental in helping guide the design of the new Viking Commercial range line from its initial conception to this first major installation in New York.
Lunch served Monday through Saturday from 12:00-2:30pm; Dinner served Sunday - Thursday from 5:00-10:30pm, and Friday - Saturday 5:00 - 11:00pm. Late night post-theatre menu available until Midnight, Monday - Saturday. Reservations accepted two months in advance by calling 212.319.1660. www.charliepalmer.com. One Bryant Park, 135 West 42nd Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway.
About the Charlie Palmer Group
The Charlie Palmer Group grew out of Aureole, American cuisine pioneer Charlie Palmer's landmark restaurant, originally located in a historic townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Today, Palmer's flagship Aureole is strategically located at the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. Other coast-to-coast locations encompass an expanding collection of award-winning restaurants—many in equally significant historical locations—innovative wine shops, and luxurious boutique hotels, each designed with distinctive personalities to provide unique experiences. These properties include: Aureole, Astra, and Métrazur (New York), Aureole at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Charlie Palmer Steak at The Four Seasons Hotel and catering at The Stirling Club (Las Vegas), Charlie Palmer Steak (Capitol Hill, Washington DC), Charlie Palmer Steak & Fin Fish, Briscola (Reno, Nevada) Dry Creek Kitchen at The Hotel Healdsburg & Hotel Healdsburg (Sonoma County, California), Charlie Palmer at The Joule (Dallas, Texas), Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza (Orange County, California) and Next Vintage wine shops (Dallas and Orange County).