In a city that boasts some of the most impressive restaurants in the world, creating an icon is no easy task. Thirty years ago, one contemporary restaurant tantalized city-dwellers from a townhouse in the Upper East Side. Today, now located in midtown’s Bank of America tower, that same restaurant continues to wow everyone from weekend travelers, to after-hours businessmen, to the same locals that have been coming for three decades. Aureole, the crown jewel in chef Charlie Palmer’s network of restaurants, is a triumph of New York fine dining, and with this milestone anniversary, Palmer is pulling out all the stops by featuring guest chefs, alumni from earlier years, with names you may recognize: Daniel Boulud, Michael White, Claudia Fleming, and Bryan Voltaggio, to name a few.
Two ticketed evening events will celebrate the milestone for the restaurant. The first, on October 19th, will be an evening of progressive American cuisine with some of these notable names in the kitchen. The six-course menu will be for $500, all inclusive, with the proceeds going toward the Culinary Institute of America. The second evening, November 1st, will feature a star-studded meal in conjunction with Michelin and, for the $2,000 price tag, will go toward supporting Citymeals on Wheels.
Over the years, Aureole became a incubator for the “next big thing” chefs in New York. The food was always superb and studying under this level of cooking would be an education to so many. “I am proud to say that Aureole became a “Mothership” for Culinary Institute of America students,” says Palmer. “No matter what you see on those cooking battle TV shows, the real culture of the kitchen is supremely collaborative. Many, many fine young cooks came to Aureole in order to practice and improve their skills within a professional environment—some stayed and are still working at Charlie Palmer locations around the country, and some went off to start restaurants of their own.”
For those who have yet to enjoy an evening at Aureole, it’s a must for any food fanatic in New York. While it’s quiet, Upper East Side beginnings delivered perhaps a cozier, neighborhood type of aesthetic, it’s midtown relocation allowed for the staff’s talents to shine at their brightest. According to Palmer, “Midtown’s energy sparked a new tempo for Aureole, and we built our ideal restaurant space complete with a dream kitchen, a temperature-controlled, enclosed glass wine mezzanine, cantilevered over the bar room, that stores up to 4,500 bottles in back-lit acrylic racks, and more diverse dining rooms, designed by Adam Tihany. Combined with our very talented kitchen and dining room staff. This Aureole was designed to last another 30 years.”
To Palmer, Aureole will always have a special place in his heart, “I now have 17 restaurants around the country, Aureole will always be uniquely meaningful for me. It was there, in that townhouse on East 61st Street, that I found my place in the world—blended my intuition and education, and balanced innovation with tradition.”