At Aurora, the key word is “drama.” You step into the small, curtained vestibule of this new Dallas restaurant. The hostess ceremoniously verifies your reservation (“Omigod,” you think. “What if they don’t have my name?”). Then she flings open the draperies to reveal a jewel box of a dining room. A different play is presented every night on this stage: Chef Avner Samuel writes and directs; nattily attired cooks perform in the gleaming open kitchen; a supporting cast of eagle-eyed waiters patrols the tables. Prologue: complimentary Evian or San Pellegrino—I like the script already. Act I: a brilliant amuse-bouche of truffled egg custard topped by maple syrup-scented Chantilly cream cleverly presented in a brown egg shell—I see a tour de force in the offing. Act II: an appetizer of braised halibut cheek sided by niçoise-olive tapenade, a bundle of crisp haricots verts, and a darling hard-cooked quail egg—the plot thickens. Intermission: blood-peach sorbet garnished with pomegranate seeds—definitely thumbs-up. Act III: filets of braised Dover sole wrapped around perfectly cooked diver scallops with white-truffle butter sauce and whipped purple potatoes—I’m applauding wildly. Epilogue: rice pudding brûlée studded with—so help me—tiny bits of crystallized truffle and garnished with matchsticks of candied orange. Bravo! Aurora is in for a long run.
From the November 2003 Issue Subscribe
Food & Drink