Dish Gal's guide to getting the most out of life, one meal at a time...

Aura, part deux

Hello, dear reader. You may remember my glowing review of Aura when Z and I went during restaurant week. If no, it's definitely worth a read, if only to see what restaurant week should always be like.

In any case, a few weeks ago, I made a return visit to Aura, dining with a friend who works at the hotel. This time I ate feast-style, which is to say, I enjoyed way too many of their delicacies...

We started out with the kampachi crudo ($14), with pineapple-red jalepeno confit, vanilla bean, hazelnuts, basil, sea salt. This was one of the most unusual dishes I've ever had-- each bite was bursting with flavor and texture. Reminded me of the crazy stuff I had at Grezzo-- but better.

I chose as my appetizer the purple okinawa potato soup ($11), with smoked bay scallops, shitake mushrooms, lime, and cilantro. What an amazing soup-- smokey, creamy, and decadent. I could have this every night. Usually I don't even like scallops, because of the often tough texture and occasional bite of sand, but these were so soft, so tender.

For my entree, I decided to try something from their "steak house" portion of the menu-- the 14 oz. all natural sirloin ($34). It comes with your choice of sauces-- I went with the au poivre. However, this steak was so succulent you probably don't even need it-- my knife sliced through it with the greatest of ease. However, I'm definitely a sauce person, and I enjoyed dunking the soft steak into the peppery sauce, and then grabbing some of the creamy mashed potatoes and eating one big bite. Mmm!

Sometimes visiting a restaurant a second time makes you doubt your initial "wow" reaction when it's not as great as it was the first time. However, this was certainly not the case. My awe for Chef Rachel Klein's whimsical and inventive cuisine was only strengthened, as this Dish Gal was impressed by all the creativity in the flavors on the beautifully constructed menu.

I also noticed something new this time: a hopping bar scene. Tamo, the hotel bar, was packed with men in suits who had migrated down from the financial district, lured by delicious cocktails and a game room (which even had Wii!). Tamo also serves up Klein's cuisine, except in Dish Gal's price-range. I'd love to try the wild mushroom, baby arugula, asiago & ricotta pizza, or the sweet & spicy chicken lollipops (has anyone noticed all the "lollipops" springing up around Boston though? Is that the new watermelon and feta salad?).

In any case, it was a return visit I'll not soon forget!

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