Celebrity Chef Charlie Palmer has been a restaurateur and Chef owner for decades. His empire is vast and renowned for world class cuisine, fine wines and even hotels. Recently, Chef Charlie Palmer upgraded Aureole in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay resort. Upgraded, is a very mild term, re-imagined was more of what Chef Palmer had in mind with the up-scale changes in décor and menu.
Bringing on a very talented and highly skilled Executive Chef was on the forefront of Chef Palmer’s agenda and he did just that with Chef John Church at the helm. This seasoned Chef is well known for his creative dishes and imaginative ingredient combinations through his many years in Las Vegas that have garnered him the reputation of leading with the best most sustainable ingredients.
We walked through the new Aureole with Chef Palmer as he pointed out many of the cosmetic changes to his Las Vegas landmark restaurant. Looking upward, the famous wine angels were soaring high in the wine tower with new digs of their own. The color palette has become more vibrant with various shades of purple, undulating organic tree shaped light fixtures and eye-catching silver wall embellishments. Each design element is an emphasis on fluidity that carries into a more natural and relaxed dining environment.
As we walked to our table Chef Palmer explained, “The new changes at Aureole have moved from a classic table experience to a much more modern tasting experience designed for the way people want to enjoy their evening.” Oenophiles need not worry since Aureole will continue with its reputation as having one of the finest wine selections in the world thanks to Wine Director Harley Carbery. Upon entering Aureole’s revamped visually stunning dining area, guests can peruse the extensive display of wines by the glasses that are available for the nightly dinner service.
Taking our seats, we quickly saw Chef John Church innovative influence as our eyes danced across the menu. Executive Chef John Church’s menu features three natural foundations of food: Root, Surf, and Ranch. Each section features eight dishes and in order from lighter fare to more bold flavors. The idea that Chef Palmer and Chef Church are featuring is an emphasis on sharing, tasting, enjoying great wine and conversation.
Starting off with the Root section, enjoy HUMMUS, BABA GANOUSH, and TZATZIKI on herb garlic flatbread. For a more robust experience, the ROOT VEGETABLE CASSOULET is a perfect combination of heirloom beans and basil pistou. From the Ranch selection try the TURKEY, HAM & SWISS MEATBALLS with rich gruyere and jamón Ibérico topped with a creamy peppercorn sauce as a lovely second dish to explore. For the carnivores, cut into a medium rare 4 X SEARED 16 OZ BONE-IN RIBEYE seasoned with sea salt, soy, mirin, and uni. If you love the sea, visit the Surf section and you won’t be disappointed. The Classic “CALIFORNIA” CRAB ROLL with avocado, and puffed rice is a great start. Follow the roll with a flavorful LION FISH CEVICHE with coconut, ginger, ají amarillo and a touch of tempura shiso leaves. For a bigger appetite, don’t pass up the VETA LA PALMA SEA BASS with chimichurri.
It’s always a pleasure to meet up with Chef Charlie Palmer when he is in town as he continues to create cuisine in an atmosphere that embellishes great memories. We will be in often to explore Chef John Church’s continually changing and imaginative dishes.
Story and Photos by Elaine and Scott Harris of Cuisineist