My husband recently had a birthday. We had a celebratory meal at Aureole inside Mandalay Bay. Charlie Palmer opened this location a decade ago, and it has been pleasing diners ever since. Aureole has been awarded a Michelin Star the past two years. The restaurant has been made famous because of its four-story wine tower. Aureole’s “Wine Angels” have been featured on dozens of food and travel television specials.
It’s been on our must-do list for years. No clear reason why we just got to it now. I suppose it took the restaurant.com $50 dining certificate to give us that push we needed. For those of you unfamiliar, restaurant.com offers dining certificates to restaurants nationwide. Las Vegas, alone, has over 150 options. Some require minimum purchase so be sure to read the fine print, but it really is a great way to save. Also, by joining the email list you will be notified of sales; certificates are often available for as little as two bucks when 80% discount promotions are applied. After you’ve made your purchase you simply print certificates, bring them along, and turn them over to your server, and then the amount of the certificate will be deducted from your bill. It’s very easy.
We dined at Aureole on a Saturday evening. Upon arrival we were able to secure a table in Swan Court, which is a quaint room off the main dining floor with intimate seating overlooking the lagoon.
We were given a few tasting options, but we chose to take advantage of seasonal treats by selecting the Parallel Tasting Menu ($95 per person). Before we got started, we were welcomed with an amuse bouche tasting of smoked salmon mousse in a cucumber, crab eggroll, and croque monsieur. Each was wonderful and left us wanting more.
A tray of breads were offered, we selected French and pretzel. The French baguette was airy and buttery, absolutely scrumptious.
The first course was foie gras au torchon and duck prosciutto and plum tarte tatin. It turns out foie gras is a bit too rich for my liking. I liked it best with bites of the plum tarte tatin, the sweetness helped cut the richness. The prosciutto was smoky and bold. I absolutely loved it. My husband agreed.
Second course was black cod and diver scallop brandade lyonnaise. The cod was wonderfully tender, and beneath the fish were tasty chanterelles. The scallop was a perfect blend of salty sweetness. The brandade lyonnaise was delight with savory onions and salted cod. Oddly enough my favorite part of this dish was the huckleberries that dressed the scallop. I’ve never had huckleberries before, I loved them. The amount of flavor packed into each little berry amazed me.
The third course was braised lamb shoulder and a lamb chop propped on polenta and served with eggplant stuffed with peppers, braised lamb shoulder and kalamata olives. The stuffed eggplant was superb; I was a bit surprised since I’ve never liked kalamata olives. Fortunately, its flavor wasn’t distinctive. The braised shoulder was beautifully done, but the chop was the star. It was easily the juiciest most flavorful piece of meat I’ve sunk my teeth into lately, if not ever. It was wonderfully delicious.
The fourth and final course was tropical fruit salad, a scoop of what tasted like orange sherbet and cream – think push-up or dreamsicle. There was also a chocolate gingerbread tarte, which was my least favorite, but still delicious. The others were light and refreshing. We also received a complimentary selection of sorbets. The watermelon and strawberry were our favorites.
We were delighted by the fabulous meal. Service was excellent throughout the evening, as well. Aureole is definitely a top notch dining experience. It’s no wonder why the restaurant has received such worthy accolades. It was a fine choice for our special occasion.