Someone below asked me to post about my birthday with the parents at Aureole, so here goes. Actually, I am surprised that there haven't been any recent posts about it, maybe no one goes there any more or takes it for granted, or it gets lost in the shuffle of all the other great places. But I digress...
Usually I am more of a downtown person, but I felt like a big uptown do for ol' 24- and Aureole really fits the bill here. Lovely room (we sat upstairs) is elegant but calm and warm. The decor doesn't distract from the food. We decided on the tasting menu and wine pairings- veg for Mom and me, and Dad opted for the meat so we could try all the dishes. It turned out that a lot of them were the same or similar, eg. the risotto on the meat menu had a slice to duck prosciutto on top.
We started with champers and an amuse of roasted banana squash soup, which was an amazing start- really yum. The first course was a salad of beets and ginger, the meat one with some smoked salmon on top (which added a lot to the dish). The second course was our co-favorite, porcini risotto with pears and honey. So rich, such amazing flavors! Next, the ricotta pudding was mercifully bland (in a good way), almost a palate-cleanser after that risotto. The fourth dish was my personal fave, an heirloom potato tart (are there such things?) with pomegranate seeds and something that tasted like bacon (though obviously it wasnt). There are no words. The last dish was a beggars purse of quince with arugula and chestnut. I thought this was a really creative one. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I find that often the veg tasting menus are forced to be more creative and this really rose to the challenge. I tried my Dads venison and it was wonderfully cinnamony and surprisingly mild. We then had a palate cleanser of apple sorbet with mirin. The desserts were lovely- I had the pineapple cannoli with coconut-kaffir lime gelato. Insane. After that, petit fours. I was about to fall on the floor. The best BEST part- the beautifully wrapped slices of banana hazelnut coffee cake to take home and eat for breakfast. Come ON!
Im sorry I cant say more about the wine. I like to drink wine but I dont keep tabs, though I should. Dad is a major wine guy and he was impressed if that says anything. I can say that there were some that I didnt prefer at first, but turned out to be expertly chosen as pairings for the food.
Service was impeccable and not snobby in any way. Of course, they seem to run a tight ship. My only complaint is that the bathroom is down two flights of stairs- quite a trip after a couple of glasses of wine. The meal took from 8 to 11:30, and cost over $500 (Im not sure how much after tip and all that- I was being treated) for three. A blowout, but totally worth it for a special occasion.