Elaine and Scott Harris
Charlie Palmer creates recipes that use local artisanal products from small farms to create world class cuisine. He has spent years elevating what diners think of as American cuisine in many of his restaurants.
This is also true of his new executive chef Arnaund Masset, who is now at the helm of Palmer’s famed Aureole in Las Vegas. “I feel lucky to continue to be inspired by the diverse team of young chefs who work my restaurant,” noted Chef Palmer. With that in mind, we were fortunate to be able to share a meal prepared by chef Palmer and his newly hired executive chef, Arnaund Masset. Chef Arnaund is a Parisian classically trained chef with 15 years of experience, including time at many Las Vegas properties including Alize and the MGM. He is no stranger to haute cuisine and the demands of high volume fine dining. Chef Palmer is a perfectionist but leaves room to explore the creativity and inspiration of his young staff. Keeping pace with the ever-changing restaurant world takes an experienced and dedicated team.
Another member to come into the Aureole landscape is executive pastry chef Nicole Erle. Chef Erle is a seasoned executive pastry chef, spending several years at Wolfgang Puck’s CUT and Spago and as pastry chef at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon. Master chef Charlie Palmer has high expectations transmitting his fine dining legacy. With chef Masset and chef Erle, two ambitious culinarians, his ideals will continue to grow and flourish.
With the two new highly experienced and artistic chefs at the forefront, we were elated as we sampled sublime dishes all under the watchful gaze of chef Palmer. One of the most innovated dishes was the foie gras torchon, with foie gras “coffee ice cream” complemented with a toasted berry brioche. The rich, creamy foie was given an enlightened boast by adding a bit of whimsy with a coffee ice cream accent and a crunch of the berry brioche. A great way to begin the meal, but it could have been used as a fini, especially when paired with the Royal Tokaji, Red Label 5 Puttonyos, Tokaj Hungary 2008.
The following course of cedar planked ora king salmon was finely embedded with the scent of cedar that highlighted the moisture and firmness of this beautiful fish. The rich and buttery salmon was flaky, firm and fragrant. We were astounded at the perfect pairing of Olivier Leflaive, Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy, France 2011 and the loveliest ora king salmon.
The courses were extravagant and lovely, but we would not have expected otherwise. Courses of braised short rib gras ravioli with wild mushrooms and parmesan emulsion with shiitake crisp, and the galantine of jidori chicken with the prosciutto, king crab, Brussels sprout leaves, and mushroom herb jus, showcased the wonders of culinary creativity which indeed enthralled everyone at our table.
All courses were paired with superb wines from the skillfully hands of our Sommelier, who made sure our glasses were overflowing with the great wines from the famed Aureole wine tower. The wine tower is notably recognized as the place where lovely “Wine Angels,” ascend to the heights, while picking the perfect bottle for your dining experience. Whether an Angel or the Sommelier, having the “right “wine is a must when dining at Aureole. Having procured Wine Spectators Grand award since 2000, Aureole has consistently garnered the attention of wine enthusiasts and oenophiles.
We were satiated beyond comfort, but how could we deny the desserts from one of the most skilled executive pastry chefs on the Las Vegas culinary horizon? Come what may, we indulged in the elegantly prepared tropical rum baba with vanilla custard and lemongrass sherbet, and the pumpkin spice cake with milk chocolate mousse.
Having a meal like this may be on your bucket list, or indicative of a very special occasion, but whatever the reason, chef Charlie Palmer is a master of making dishes sing with freshness and finesse. When visiting Las Vegas, Aureole should be included into your plans — between the superb food and flying “Wine Angels,” you will have memories for a lifetime.