Restaurant Week 2010. Walking into Aureole their famous wine tower is an impressive sight. However, when you’re seated in the dining area it almost becomes an afterthought because many seats are far removed from it. The whole time we were there we only saw a wine angel go up once — and only about 15 feet. Selecting a bottle is the real adventure. They give you a tablet computer to search for that perfect bottle by vineyard, region, or varietal. Selecting a bottle alerts the sommelier, who will promptly retrieve the tablet and answer any questions you might have.

Aureole was the first Restaurant Week stop for us this year and everyone in our party of four ordered off of the RW menu. The first course was either a Frisee salad or braised octopus and Main lobster salad. Both were ok, but hardly jaw-droppingly good. However, the poached egg in the first salad was perfect.

For the main entree all four of us went with the beef short rib and Togarashi dusted ahi tuna with a broccoli puree, sauteed porcini mushrooms, and hand rolled potato gnocchi. When the dishes were delivered only two of them had gnocchi, which seems to have been a pretty big oversight by the kitchen staff. They brought out a separate plate of it when we brought it to their attention. The short rib was fork tender and had a rich, savory taste. The puree and mushrooms were a great accompaniment but the tuna seemed odd and completely unnecessary (Charlie Palmer’s version of surf ‘n turf?).

Of the two desserts, the dark chocolate peanut butter bar was the runaway winner. The rich and creamy texture of the peanut butter was a tasty way to end the meal. The other dessert — the late summer peach brown butter tart — was forgettable. We should have just gotten another peanut butter bar instead.

Despite Aureole being a high-end restaurant the service was surprisingly laid back. Our servers and sommelier all displayed a little humor and personality that’s usually lacking in places like this. It was refreshing to not have to deal with waiters who act like they have a stick up their ass (take note, Sage).

In the end, the marketing ploy that is Restaurant Week worked. I got to sample a few dishes at a reasonable price and liked a couple of them enough that I want to go back to try more.

Finally, a note to ladies wearing short dresses or miniskirts. Take the elevator down instead of walking down the stairway. That stairway wraps around the wine tower and is right above the bar area. So, unless you want to give some of the guys down there a show, skip the stairs.


My wife and I stopped by for happy hour a while back. Their HH is from 5-7 and all small plates and drinks in the lounge area are half off.

Our order:
* Oysters come four to an order and are a little small but absolutely fresh and delicious.

* Sirloin sliders are three to an order. Each one had a thick, juicy beef patty on a sesame seed bun along with crispy bacon and a guacamole chipotle sauce to add a kick. These are some of the best sliders this side of the slider truck.

* I’m a sucker for anything with lobster, so I had to try their lobster corn dogs. Big mistake. These dogs were a big letdown. They’re basically three small, round fritters filled with a mixture that hardly tasted of lobster. I couldn’t really pinpoint what was in the mixture, just a mushy bland mess.

* The shrimp scampi had some tomatoes and greens in it and was pretty bland. Not enough garlic.

I’ll be back, but only for the oysters and sliders.

3 Stars

Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 632-7401

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