Address:

33 West New York St., Aurora, IL 60506

Phone: (630) 375-0426

Open:

Wed-Thu: 5pm-11pm (kitchen closes 9pm)

Fri-Sat: 5pm-2am (kitchen closes 10pm)

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES REVIEW

Chef Amaury has right touch

in new incarnation

BY THOMAS WITOM

Dining Dec 5, 2010 8:12AM

 

Restaurant Type: American

 

Amaury Rosado’s culinary skills caught the eye of food critics and built a strong following when he began serving dinner Friday and Saturday nights in mid-2008 at Chef Amaury’s Epicurean Affair, a tiny strip-mall space on the outskirts of Aurora.

 

In recent weeks, Rosado has moved his pots and pans to roomier, more visible digs in downtown Aurora. The space he opened earlier in the year as 33 West Trattoria, which served Italian-inspired fare, is now officially known as Chef Amaury at 33 West.

 

The attractive main dining room, with plenty of exposed brickwork and fresh flowers on each table, seats 50 plus another 20 in the adjoining bar area -- more than its previous location. Besides serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday, it’s also open for lunch on Wednesday through Friday.

 

Though one or two Italian dishes remain, the compact menu, which changes frequently, now has a predominantly contemporary American spin. Entrees range from $17 for a wild mushroom risotto to $35 for a 10-ounce waygu beef strip steak.

 

A diner’s best bet, however, is the $65 five-course fixed-price dinner. During the current economic crunch, that’s likely to put such a meal in the special-occasion category. But it’s worth the splurge considering the top quality, creative dishes and faultless service.

 

During our visit, dinner started with a tasty salad of arugula, poached pear and spiced walnuts dressed in a pear vinaigrette. A frozen disk of buttermilk and blue cheese ice cream provided extra oomph. Similarly, crunchy bits of chorizo added interest to the soup course, a velvety puree of baby Hubbard squash sweetened with saba apple must and topped with a drizzle of chive oil.

 

Next came a scaled-down serving (about 3 ounces) of wild Alaskan salmon with a supporting cast of fennel, beets, orange, herbs and coconut.

 

The fourth course offered a choice of either duck or steak. We opted for the former, which featured tender breast meat served with leg confit over a squash puree and deliciously accented by maple-sherry sauce and brussels sprouts. My dining companion was enthusiastic about the tender New York strip from Strube Ranch in Texas that was served in a red wine reduction with truffled fingerling potatoes and green beans.

 

Dessert concluded the meal with a bang. The two we tried, goat cheese cake and Venezuelan bittersweet chocolate molten cake, both satisfied. Also available were a darjeeling tea and semisweet chocolate creme brulee and a deconstructed caramel apple.

 

As Rosado table-hops, it’s obvious that the amiable, accommodating chef takes a personal interest in pleasing his guests. When we inquired about the made-in-house squash-, blue cheese-, apple- and hazelnut-stuffed ravioli, Rosado generously included a taste portion with our seafood course. Later, he brought around a sample of a 2007 Meursault wine from the Cote de Beaune region of Burgundy.

 

To complement its food, Chef Amaury at 33 West offers a fine selection of beers and wines, including a number of half-bottles.

 

Thomas Witom is a local free-lance writer.