While Charlie Palmer’s Four Diamond culinary gem at Mandalay Bay is almost 10 years old, Aureole has not lost its luster. In fact, the restaurant is a treat for anyone interested in a great food and wine experience. This is the restuarant that boasts “wine angels” aka beautiful young girls dressed in black who find the wine you ordered by flying up and down the glass enclosed wine vault on circus wires. The stark looking wine vault is very modern and perfectly positioned for all to see. Quiet a show on a busy night – but for me that is just eye candy. The real star of the wine show is the cool electronic wine list. I arrived early for my dinner meeting and asked to see the wine list in advance. I was thrilled when the server handed me an electronic tablet featuring more than 2500 wines. Here’s how it works: First you select by the bottle or by the glass lists. Then, you have a choice of searching that list by wine type (red, white, sparkling etc) or by country, region an even vintage. Once you have narrowed down the list, you highlight possible options that interest you and send them to the “my list” page of the book. This space simply holds the names of the wines that are up for consideration while your peruse the rest of the list. For a wine geek – it was heaven. Plus, I was thrilled to find wines that were under $100 a bottle. In fact, there were several selections in the $40-$80 price range – a joy to find in an upscale restaurant in Vegas. The menu had two options; a 7-course degustation menu for $95 per person or a 3-course prix-fixe menu for $75. We all opted for the prix-fixe. I had a wonderful tomato carpaccio with house-made mozzarella and an intensely flavored basil sorbet. Main course options included 10-12 interesting preparations of fish, fowl and meat. I ordered the duo of filet mignon and flank steak. In a word -awesome. For red, we ordered a bottle of 2000 Zanna Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Reserve. Intense secondary aromas of cherry tobacco, sundried tomato and terra cotta pot filled the nose with just enough dark fruit to make it pair nicely with most dishes on the table. The dessert menu was fantastic and included something for everyone. The second page of the list featured a wide variety of dessert wines and brandies. I ordered a PX but the house was out causing the server to quickly apologise and offer a glass of Maderia on the house. And that (combined with a great food and an interactive wine list) is why I would gladly return to Aureole on my next visit. I’ll say it again, Aureole is a culinary gem in the desert.
Culinary Gambling in Vegas: Aureole
About the Author: Marianne Frantz
A Certified Wine Educator, Marianne holds a Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) of London, and has also earned the Advanced Sommelier qualification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. After successfully participating in an educational competition sponsored by the Wines of Australia in the spring of 2008, Marianne became an educational Ambassador for Wine Australia USA. She is also a Certified Spanish Wine Educator.