The other day, Mom was in town for business, and so the two of us met up for an early dinner. The destination? The bar room at Aureole, a place I've been for drinks but never for a full meal. So here we were. Having a full meal. How did it go? Stay tuned!
The space itself is lovely-- high ceilings, fancy but not uptight. We had a table at the picture windows overlooking 42nd Street, a great place for people-watching if ever there were one.
To start, I asked if they did half-glasses of wine-- and to my surprise, they agreed to accommodate me! Hooray! So another addition to the Wine Century Club was tallied: a half-glass of Rousanne from California. It was tangy and actually surprisingly tasty and really with the food to come.
It went really well with the bread, which was another fantastic surprise. It looked like nothing special, but it was lightly toasted and just a bit better than normal (high-quality) white bread, especially with the rich butter. Yum, yum, yum.
For her entree, Mom went with the Herb Crusted Scottish Salmon, with Green Asparagus, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, and Warm White Gazpacho Sauce. The portion here was on the smaller side (especially for $32), but the fish earned a rave from my mom.
My choice was the Farmed Baby Greens Salad, with Buffalo Mozzarella, Summer Vegetables, and White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Paradoxically, this was a huge portion and a great value at $9. The lettuce was fresh and tasty, coated with a really flavorful dressing. The other vegetables were a bit fewer and farther between than the lettuce-- a green pea here, a piece of corn there, a cherry tomato half in between. The stars of the show were the tiny little buttered croutons, which added crunch and a bit of richness. Disappointingly, the buffalo mozzarella was in very short supply and wasn't the best mozz I've ever had, but it allowed me to save room for dessert.
And at dessert, we really splurged. Mom got the Dark Chocolate Torte with Ricotta Sorbet, Scotch Butterscotch, and Malt. Two small but powerful squares of incredibly rich chocolate cake paired beautifully with the light and creamy ricotta sorbet, an incredible flavor I could eat by the gallon. The caramel was both tasty and pretty. Overall, it was the perfect dessert for a chocoholic.
Oh, but of course, there were also complimentary churros for the table. These tiny sticks were deep fried and coated in cinnamon sugar, perfect foils for the little dish of chocolate sauce that I had to resist downing like a shot. A delicious, delicious shot.
Aureole, you surprised me. Your food was good-- really good-- particularly the desserts. And your service was friendly; your bar room comfortable. And I ended up getting a big salad, a huge dessert, some churros, and a half-glass of wine that was more like a full glass for only about $23. So for me at least, Aureole was an unexpectedly good value. For that, it earns a solid high four Offset Spatula rating. I'd like to come back and eat in the dining room; I suspect it would earn the upgrade to the coveted five OS level.
135 W. 42nd Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway