Though it has moved from its East Side townhouse and chef Charlie Palmer is long gone, Aureole still has much of its old authority as one of the preeminent exemplars of the so-called New American Cooking. Now that everybody does it, Aureole has responded by becoming more global and eclectic -- after all, it began with originality and originality drives it still. The room, it has to be said, is unmistakably sterile and corporate. Go anyway.
New space, new chef, still great.. Although the restaurant's name was synonymous with a certain kind of cooking in its old east side townhouse location, this is not your father's Aureole. In new digs near Bryant Park--spacious, airy, well-lit and modern digs at that--the food is more exciting and ambitious than it's been for many years. Chef Chris Lee, alongside executive chef Charlie Palmer, is working on multiple flavor fronts at once: A typical entrée might have five or six or even seven different ingredients, all working in complex harmony. This is global food with an American orientation, with cornbread as likely to appear as foie gras and yuzu. Sometimes the ambitious mashups falter, but this is some of the most exciting cooking going on in New York.
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