I just returned from a late, delicious lunch at Aureole. I work in the area, and having previously sampled Asiate (forgettable, except for the view) and Jean Georges (awe-inspiring), I've been anxious to see what Aureole has to offer.
I ordered the summer lunch tasting menu. The first course was a ricotta tarlet with balsamic glazed strawberries served on a small bed of arugula. This dish was probably the highlight of the entire experience for me, which is a shame since it came right at the beginning. Normally I hate the taste of arugula, but the balsamic was so delicious, I didn't even notice. The strawberry was surprisingly complimentary to the other flavors in the dish.
Next came the herb braised striped bass and butter lettuce. I'm not the biggest fan of seafood, but I'm glad I took a mental leap and tried this. The bass was tender and smooth, and the small pieces of shrimp and melon provided a little extra oomph.
The duo of lamb with summer ratatouille was served next, and though I ate everything, I was a bit underwhelmed. The entire dish was swimming in some sort of sauce - the menu on the website describes it as "basil infused jus," but I didn't detect any particular basil flavor. In addition to this sauce on the plate, the lamb was topped with a sort of thick sauce/paste that completely overpowered everything else in the dish. It may have been olive? At any rate, I was unable to taste the natural flavor of the lamb over this topping. There was also a small piece of spicy sausage on the plate that tasted like the sort of delicious chorizo that you might eat in South America; however, this too suffered from the presence of the mystery plate sauce.
Finally, a delicious creme brulee extravaganza arrived for dessert. A chocolate brulee was served with a fruit sorbet on top (very refreshing and rich at once), another brulee was served plain (though it was anything but!), and the final brulee was plain or vanilla topped with beet foam.
I'm glad I've tried Aureole, but it's not quite as awesome as I expected. Next time I will have to try the sorbet/frozen custard tasting. The presentation of this dessert was dynamite, with the small spheres served racked up like pool balls.