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Elegant Dining: Aureole New York

Chef Charlie Palmer’s Aureole New York was a huge hit with us when we dined there in October of 2011. The place was gorgeous, the staff attentive, and the food delicious. After spending a week in New York, the first place I chose to write about is Aureole. Yes, that’s how much I loved the place.

View of the Dining Room at Aureole New York.

View of the Dining Room at Aureole New York. Sorry for the dark, blurry pic. The actual room looks much nicer.

This beautiful, cosmopolitan restaurant is located on the first floor of what is known as an environmentally advanced skyscraper, the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. As we stepped into the building, lovely hostesses in black welcomed us and led us past the Bar Room into the Dining Room. We were greeted by the staff and promptly seated.

Pre-Theater Treat

We made reservations a month in advance, and went on a weekday. I wanted to try out their Dinner Pre-theater. It was reasonably priced and served from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM, a 3 Course Prix Fixe at USD$55 per person. When the headwaiter or maitre d’ or manager (?)– he would came back every now and then while we ate to ask us how the food was and if we needed anything– handed us the menu he asked if we had a show scheduled for the night.

Me: “Yes, the New York Phil[harmonic Orchestra].”
Him: “So you’d want to be there by 7 PM then?”
Me: “Yes.”
Him: “Would you like to consider our Pre-theater menu?”

Or something to that effect. He knew immediately that we couldn’t dilly-dally with dinner, and that the New York Phil performed at 7:30 PM.

The Pre-theater Dinner at Aureole New York

The 3-Course Pre-theater Dinner at Aureole New York. Not shown are the bread and wine.

After placing our orders, we asked him to recommend wine from their extensive wine list. He asked us our preferences and I told him I liked sweet white wine. The glass he recommended was superb, deliciously sweet yet light-bodied and aromatic. For the first course my husband ordered the Ruby Red Shrimp, which he found tasty; I had the Fall Market Salad, and loved how the half-dozen fruits and vegetables combined to a delightfully fresh taste. For the main course I had the scrumptious Free Range Chicken while my husband ordered the Olive Oil Poached Scottish Salmon. Savory. Dessert consisted of decadent Chocolate Tart Souffle. Our only complaint? The portions were huge! For us coming from Japan, that is. I believe such sizes are considered fairly average in America.

Another Design Hit by Tihany

Each dish was aesthetically pleasing, quite the perfect high-end American cuisine. And even better? I loved the interior design! To be very honest, more than the food I wanted to experience the sleek, oh-so-chic-New-York decor. Who wouldn’t love dinner at a classy restaurant before a classical music concert? Here Aureole New York certainly did not disappoint. The restaurant’s sophisticated, luxurious interiors were designed by premier hospitality designer Adam Tihany of Tihany Design. Lighting design is by Focus Lighting, utilizing dimmable white LEDs. Mark Hess of Hess Design Works created Aureole’s logo as well as menu design.

Views of the Dining Room at Aureole New York

Views of the Dining Room at Aureole New York.

The photos from my little compact camera cannot do justice to the elegance of the place. Orb lamps encased in long, paper-like boxes lined the ceiling, casting the wood-paneled walls in warm tones of brown and beige. The carpet in bole had a swirling pattern of burgundy and floral white. An abundance of fresh flowers and greens filled the room. Sofa-style seats upholstered in mocha held silky throw pillows, harmonizing with the leather chairs in dark chocolate brown. Across the room, a specially commissioned black and white photographic art installation by Bram Tihany decorated the walls. Crisp white linen and a vase of fresh flowers (yellow-and-orange, for that autumn look, of course) were laid on each table.

View of the Bar Room at Aureole New York

View of the Bar Room at Aureole New York.

While waiting for our food I watched as more and more diners came in. Couples like us were seated against the wall, while groups of four sat in the middle. The dress code was business casual but it seemed all the men were in dark suits (coming to dinner from work?) and the ladies were in skirts or dresses. I totally loved the ambiance. It was more quiet here than the adjoining bar. Speaking of which, we only got a glimpse of the Bar Room. I actually had a tough time making a choice between the Dining Room and the Bar Room. For the record, the Bar Room was a lot more lively, in fact, it was packed. One nice thing about the bar area was that you get views of the city, certainly a plus for tourists. The same style lighting fixtures were mounted on the bar’s ceiling, but this time they were in a semi-circular embrace. Overflowing with people as it was, the bar still had a chic ambiance, buzzing with energy from guests talking about their day’s adventures. Definitely the go-to bar for a casual yet stylish dinner with friends or business associates. The Dining Room was more for dates like ours, and quiet dinners to celebrate special occasions.

Even the bathroom was elegant and sleek, with dark wooden panels and black granite. By the time we left an hour later the adjoining Bar Room was full capacity, bustling with chatting diners. It looked as if all the seats were already taken. The Dining Room, too, was almost full.

Aureole New York at One Bryant Park.

Aureole New York at One Bryant Park.

The Verdict: A Winner

I loved it at Aureole New York. The food was lovely and served relatively quickly, the wine was so good my husband meant to ask what it was again (We forgot!) so we could buy a bottle for home consumption. Everything was just in time for us to finish in an hour and ride the subway to the Lincoln Center for the concert. Before we left, the headwaiter/maitre d’/manager, doing his rounds of seeing that all is well at each table, presented us with complimentary baked goodies carrying the restaurant brand. Two small orange and chocolate cakes, “for the lady, perhaps for breakfast”, he said. I did eat the cakes a day later, and they were so moist and delectable I wanted to go back there and buy me some more. Nothing to win me over completely like luscious pastry!

Would I recommend Aureole New York? Absolutely, yes! I would love to go back there again. I would like to try the Dinner Tasting, as well as the Late Night Menu. Also sit at the bar and have a cocktail while people-watching the pedestrians going about their business outside. I loved the interiors: the dark wood and brushed tones of gold and silver throughout, the semi-cylindrical glass wine mezzanine (not shown here, but viewable from the street or bar room), the creative lighting fully integrated into the architecture, and the abundance of fresh flowers in seasonal colors. Best of all, the staff was attentive and helpful. Indeed, a place to be for the best of upscale American cuisine.

What’s your favorite restaurant for a pre-theater dinner in NYC?

External Links

Aureole New York – official website.
Tihany Design – interior architecture for Aureole New York.
Focus Lighting – lighting design for Aureole New York.
Hess Design Works – graphics design for Aureole New York.

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9 comments

  1. どの料理も美味しそうですね。盛り付けも素晴しい!!

    • コメントありがとうございます。お料理も美味しかったし、インテリアも店内の雰囲気も◎でした。コンサートなどに行く前にお勧めです。

  2. place looks fab! would love to try it out someday.

    • Hey Krissie! Yes, it was a gorgeous place. Do try it out one day. Sorry for the blurry pics. The place looks much nicer than what one would surmise from these pics. I wish I could steady my hands more!

  3. HanaSuz /

    Yes, indeed, another beauty by Tihany. My favorite restaurant in NYC is also designed by Tihany, the Daniel New York. You really should check this out too when you go there again.

    • Hi Hana! Thanks for the suggestion. I looked up the Daniel’s website just now and oh my, it looks so ultra chic! I’ll definitely put it in my “Gotta Go” list for NYC! Don’t you just love Tihany’s interiors?

  4. Fred Cecilia Fangonon /

    Lovely, Bevs!!! I can show these to your ma — dad

  5. So was your main criteria for choosing your dining place the interior designer? ;-)

    • Hahaha! Seriously, yes. Hahaha! You know, one time I was raving about the interiors of a particular restaurant in Tokyo, and then I was interrupted with the question, “What about the food?” and I replied offhandedly “It was fine”. I suppose I’ll never be popular with the foodies. :)

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