By Walter Rutledge
Paul Taylor’s groundbreaking masterwork Aureole celebrates it’s fiftieth anniversary this season and to mark this milestone renowned Chef Charlie Palmer has created a special menu that will be offered at his Aureole Restaurant throughout the month of March. Earlier this week Taylor dancer Michelle Fleet, Public Relations Director Lisa Labrado and myself decided to experience the Aureole menu. The great food, incredible ambience and beautiful and insightful company made the evening a true dining delight.
Located at 135 West 42 Street is on the ground level of the Bank of American Tower at the corner of Sixth Avenue the restaurant has three distinct areas for dining, the Bar Room, formal Dining Room and a Private Dining Room. The Bar Room has an open and airy contemporary feeling. The high ceiling and dark mahogany wood are complimented by subdued lighting from illuminated camphor glass columns and a circular chandelier that cast a warm golden glow throughout the room. Above on the second tier is a curve glass wall, which displays Aureole’s extensive and impressive wine mezzanine.
A wall of textured mirrored glass separates the Bar Room from the Dining Room. In the Dining Room the lower ceiling and deep wood walls create a much more intimate dining experience. Before our meal we were treated to Scottish Langoustine- a perfect ball of lobster with Basque pepper, and potato gnocchi in a sauce bouillabaisse. What a treat it was just enough to stimulate the palette.
My first course was the Celeriac Soup. The dish arrived with black tumpet mushrooms surrounding a just right sized circular piece of octopus. With dramatic flare our server Mark added the cream stock tableside. The flaky octopus orb had a light almost smokey quality and the combination of favors was balanced and complimentary.
For the main course I ordered the House of Joy Pork Tenderloin. It was perfectly prepared and was served with a white bean puree, mustard greens and quince. A natural au jus was drizzled on top. The small medallions were so succulent and tender they didn’t need a knife to cut them. Sheri, the sommelier, suggested a chardonnay from Burgundy- Chassagne Montrachet, which was a full-bodied white wine and added to the entire experience.
For dessert Lisa and I had the Dance of Death a rich chocolate feuillette served with a peanut butter cream and huckleberries. The cake had a waffle-like crust, which provided an unexpected crunch, while the light peanut butter cream and huckleberries added just the right zest to this chocolate wonder.
Michelle tried the Roasted Mango Tango with a coconut dacquoise and pineapple sorbet. The roasted mango was sweet with a daring hint of peppery spice. The combination of warm and cool, and sweet and spicy was the perfect way to end the meal.
Mark surprised us with the Pineapple Baked Alaska, which we graciously shared. The pin box size treat was surrounded by coconut, mango and passion fruit. Again the gentle and subtle combination of favors and textures was gastronomically intoxicating.
The three-course meal is an epicure’s delight. The impeccable service, understated elegance, and attention culinary detail brought back memories of the Edwardian Room at the Plaza. There are two ways to create a special night out; Paul Taylor prix-fixe menu at Aureole or a complete evening of pre- theater dining combined with a performance of The Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Aureole Prix Fixe Menu is served in the Bar Room from 5 to10pm and is $55 per person, for reservations call 212-319-1660 and request the Paul Taylor menu. Aureole Dinner and Show Package, which includes orchestra seat (a $100 value), is $125 per person and can be purchased by calling 646-214-5830. Both will conclude on April 1 at the end of the company’s season on at the David H. Koch Theater, in Lincoln Center.
Aureole’s Paul Taylor Dance Menu
In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Paul Taylor’s Masterpiece Aureole
Market Greens Chaos– Beets, Radishes, Pumpkin Seeds, Apple Vinaigrette
Fluke Crudo Quintet– Mandarin, Grapefruit, Chives
Celeriac Soup– Black Tumpet Mushrooms, Octopus
Scottish Salmon– Quinoa, Pomegranate, Crème Fraiche
House of Joy Pork Tenderloin–White Bean Puree, Mustard Greens, Quince
Alan Cumming’s Roasted Cauliflower– Fennel, Capers, Marcona Almonds, Bergamot
Dance of Death- Chocolate Feuillette Peanuts Butter Cream, Huckleberry
Roasted Mango Tango- Coconut Dacquoise, Pineapple Sorbet
In Photo 1&2) Bar Room 3) Wine Mezzanine 4) Dining Room
All Photographs courtesy Charlie Palmer Group