[NYC - Bryant Park] Aureole - Restaurant Week Winter 2018

This is the second Winter 2018 NYC Restaurant Week post.
We went to Aureole for Friday night dinner. The location is great, it's right between Bryant Park and Times Square. Even with that location, the restaurant was peaceful and didn't feel too stressful.

Make sure to snag your reservation at OpenTable.
Prix-fixe 3-course:
Lunch $29 | Dinner $42
Some restaurants have supplemental menus and items.

This is the menu for Winter 2018. There are selections for vegetarians, for carnivores, and for pescatarians.

The restaurant has an extensive wine list and a sommelier is on hand to provide you with recommendations based on which menu items you are selecting.

This is the LIBERTY ROOM, not the Dining Room. The dining room has a JACKET REQUIRED dress code, but the Liberty Room is more casual (especially so since it was Restaurant Week, I'm assuming).

This is the full dinner menu. The table next to us ordered off of the full menu...honestly, they made the right decision. We went with the Restaurant Week menu, but we kind of felt like they had mass produced the food ahead of time because the food came out suspiciously quickly after ordering, unlike the wonderful experience we had at Nougatine.

Here, it really did seem like most people were ordering the Restaurant Week prix-fixe menu, whereas at Nougatine, it seemed pretty split between the regular and special menu.

Apologies in advance for the strange lighting...there were a lot of flashing billboard signs, so the colors were all a bit off.

First Course:

Started off with the Kale and Crab Salad. This was actually really good. The kale was not quite as firm as I would have expected it to be if it were made to order, which is when my suspicion started...additionally, it these two dishes came out about 90 seconds after ordering. The crab was real crab meat and it was dressed, but not overly dressed.

This is the Cavatelli Pasta. It was actually quite citrusy, so depending on your tastes, you may love or hate it. The pine nuts were nice and added a good texture. The noodles were not overcooked, so they weren't mushy, but they were a little softer than I prefer. There's also barely any squid on the pasta...maybe two or three small pieces.

Main Course:
This is the 48-hour braised veal cheeks. The meat was SO tender. The polenta was great and the parsnips were not too crunchy and not too mushy. The outside of the veal was crisp, which was also nice and brought out some of the additional flavors. The one thing was a little off for us was that it was a bit salty. The portion is medium-sized I'd say...there were two pieces of meat.

This is the Seared Salmon. The skin was SO CRISPY. It was great. It was a little too fishy for my taste, but maybe I didn't eat the perfect bite. It was a little on the cooler side of warm, though. The celeriac mash was nice and was a good contrast to the somewhat salty flavor of the crispy salmon skin.

We randomly got a "service" of petit fours that no one around us got, which was unexpected.

This is the Winter Tangerine Cake. I would say this was the best of the two desserts. The desserts were nowhere near the ones we had at Nougatine...you can kind of tell...they just made one big thing and then cut off pieces with each diner...whereas at Nougatine everything was individual portions...

That being said, this was nice and fruity and citrusy. The cranberry was nice, too, a nice tart flavor with the moist citrus cake.

This was not our favorite. Neither of us are chocolate fans to begin with, but this was SO DENSE and so chocolate-y. The mint was also very, VERY overpowering...like you could taste it over the flavor of the very chocolatey cake that's how strong it was. It would have been nicer if it were less minty and a little fluffier, in my opinion, like if it had the flavor of the Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, for example. I can't even emphasize how dense it was...maybe imagine if you only had the chocolate sandwich parts of an ice cream sandwich and then you squeezed it all together until there wasn't any air left. Maybe like that. It was covered in a chocolate shell.

This was a miss for us.

These were the petit fours they provided us. Honestly, these were the best dessert. We really have no idea why we were served this because seriously no other table was given one. But, if you somehow get these, make sure to try them. We got two of each - one was an almond, one was chocolate, and one was jam-filled and pistachio (I think(?)). So good seriously.

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