Charlie Palmer—chef, restaurateur, frequent Today Show guest and owner of a dozen restaurants nationwide—isn't afraid of a challenge, but his ambitious new endeavor must take nerves of steel in this economy: After two decades in a townhouse on the Upper East Side, he's relocated his popular restaurant Aureole to a flashy new home in the Bank of America tower at One Bryant Park. Unabashedly elegant, the new Aureole hearkens back to a more ebullient era, when opening a fine dining restaurant with a proven track record wasn't quite so fraught with terror. There's been a ton of money sunk into this baby, evident in the oak-clad columns, brushed zinc bar, walnut table tops, leather chairs, the wine mezzanine, and the five custom-made chandeliers. And the downstairs kitchen is massive.

There's an a la carte menu in the bar room, and a three-course prix fixe for $84 in the more upscale dining room, which exudes a dramatically different atmosphere from the bar, though no door separates the two areas. Where the dining room, with its thick carpets and flattering lighting, is peaceful and subdued, the bar is, as you might expect, more shiny and festive. Chef Christopher Lee's "Progressive American" menu includes such options as "Canadian Lobster Tail vs. Berkshire Pork Belly" (with Summer Squash, Porcini Mushrooms, Cape Goose Berries, Jura Wine, Almond Emulsion), a Diver Sea Scallop Sandwich (with Seared Foie Gras, Sugar Snap Peas, Passion Fruit, Chives), and a 21 Day Aged Beef Rib Eye (with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Green Asparagus, Potato Purée, Tarragon Mustard Beef Jus.)

During our recent visit as a guest of Palmer, a bartender poured one of Aureole's specialty cocktails (a vibrant Blackberry Manhattan with Michter's Straight Rye, Ruby port, muddled blackberries, and fresh lemon juice) while expressing hope that the bar would fill up at lunch due to its proximity to the walking corpse that is Conde Nast. Based on the tasty dishes we sampled, it seems plausible that the not-outrageously priced bar room could attract its fair share of media survivors and tourists. The Broiled Portugal Sardines—flown in twice a week from Portugal—were fresh, boneless, and beyond succulent; the Fluke Sashimi (Edamame, Yuzu Eggplant Puree, Shallot Ginger Dressing) was also outstanding. Lunch service begins today, with seasonal dining coming soon in a pedestrian walkway connecting the 42nd and 43rd Street sides of the building. See the full dinner and bar menu below.

$84 Dinner Prix Fixe

First Course

Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare

Daikon Radish, Nori Toast Points, Aji Amarillo, Miso Sake Dressing

Artichoke Ravioli

Louisiana Crayfish, Black Olive Oil, Andouille Sausage, White Wine Caper Sauce

Diver Sea Scallop “Sandwich”

Seared Foie Gras, Sugar Snap Peas, Passion Fruit, Chives

Japanese Madai Snapper Ceviche

Summer Melons, Hearts of Peach Palm, Cucumber, Avocado, Prosciutto

Crispy Soft Shell Blue Crab

Belgium Endive, Granny Smith Apple, Smoked Paprika, “Sauce Rémoulade”

Local Heirloom Tomatoes

Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Cheese Gelato, Haricot Vert, Petite Lettuces, Pine Nut Crumble

Sauté Foie Gras
Maine Blueberries, Smoked Corn Bread, Pickled Jalapenos, Macadamia Nuts

Chilled Sweet Yellow Corn Soup

American Caviar, Vidalia Onions, Lemon Citrus, Ancho Chile Oil

Main Course

Crispy Black Sea Bass

French White Asparagus, Smoked Yellow Tomato, Endive, Watermelon Basil Vinaigrette

West Coast Halibut “Bouillabaisse”

Fruit de Mer, Baby Vegetables, Garlic Potatoes, Preserved Lemon, Saffron Shellfish Broth

Olive Oil Poach Alaskan King Salmon

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Quinoa, Watercress, Fava Beans, Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Canadian Lobster Tail vs. Berkshire Pork Belly

Summer Squash, Porcini Mushrooms, Cape Goose Berries, Jura Wine, Almond Emulsion

North Carolina Poulet Rouge

Sweet Yellow Corn, Escarole, Black Garlic, Breakfast Radish, Lemon Pepper Chicken Jus

Veal Tenderloin and Sweetbreads

Wild Asparagus, Charred Onion, Georgia Peaches, Pickled Ramps, Lovage Veal Jus

21 Day Aged Beef Rib Eye

Chanterelle Mushrooms, Green Asparagus, Potato Purée, Tarragon Mustard Beef Jus

Australian Rack of Lamb

English Peas & Carrots, Cipollini Onion, Medjool Date, Almond, Vadouvan Devonshire Cream

Bar Room a la carte menu

First Course

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho $15

Canadian Lobster / Avocado / Baby Basils

Foie Gras Torchon $23

Wild Strawberries / Anise Hyssop / Pistachio / Brioche

Diver Sea Scallop “Sandwich” $17

Sugar Snap Peas / Passion Fruit / Chives

(Foie Gras Supplement $5.00)

Crispy Soft Shell Blue Crab $16

Belgium Endive / Granny Smith Apple / Sauce Rémoulade

Pasta Garganelli $11

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes / Fresh Mozzarella / Pine Nuts / Prosciutto

Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare $17

Daikon Radish / Nori Toast Points / Miso Sake Dressing

“House Made” Charcuterie $22

Onion Marmalade / Pickle Vegetables / Country Bread

Farmed Baby Green Salad $9

Blue Cheese / Summer Vegetables / White Balsamic Dressing

Main Course

“Aureole” Grilled Burger $22

Smoked Bacon, White Cheddar, Onion Rings, Pickled Ramp Dressing

Wild Striped Bass $34

White Asparagus / Smoked Yellow Tomato / Watermelon

Free Range Chicken $29

Escarole / Buttered Corn / Radish / Lemon Pepper Chicken Jus

Scottish Organic Salmon $28

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes / Fava Beans / Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Whole Roasted Branzini $31

Artichokes / Capers / Black Olive / Piquillo Peppers / Anchovies

Berkshire Pork Chop $32
Porcini Mushrooms / Squash / Peaches / Picked Ramp Pork Jus

West Coast Halibut $33

Creamed Corn / Potato Gnocchi / Sugar Snap Peas / Basil Pesto

NY Strip Loin $38

Green Asparagus / Potato Purée / Tarragon Mustard Beef Jus