33 West New York St., Aurora, IL 60506
Phone: (630) 375-0426
Wed-Thu: 5pm-11pm (kitchen closes 9pm)
Fri-Sat: 5pm-2am (kitchen closes 10pm)
NAPERVILLE SUN REVIEW
Chef Amaury’s Blends High-end Fare with Midwestern Approachability
Susan Frick Carlman |The Naperville Sun Reporter
There won’t be a tuxedo-clad maitre d’ waiting for you when you step inside Chef Amaury’s Epicurean Affair. The person greeting you might be the dishwasher, or a bus person or the head chef. It could be all three, in one body.
“This restaurant is unique. We really don’t have a front-of-house staff,” said Amaury Rosado, 44, who owns the place and runs it with his small and tight-knit staff. “We do tablecloths and candlelight and it’s really nice here, (but) you see the owner, you see the chef, they say ‘hi’ to you, we greet you, we try to meet everybody.”
And unlike some upscale eateries, Rosado’s place works hard to demystify upscale food.
“People (going to some of the highest-end area restaurants) don’t feel comfortable,” he said. “They’ll hear, ‘This is cow’s tongue braised in red wine,’ and they’re supposed to like that. If you don’t like that, then you’re a hick. That’s not right ... and that’s why we don’t do stuff that exotic. We do lamb, we do duck, we do different things here, but I try not to go over the top, because people are not going to be that accepting of that. That’s why I’m careful about what I put on my menu.”
He puts something different on the menu every week, running one of the area’s only exclusively prix fixe establishments.
That means the specials are all that’s available, so explanations are always in order.
“I go through the menu with everybody that comes through the door,” Rosado said. “I go over the menu, then I run back there, prepare the food with my staff, and we all serve the food.”
The dishes are eclectic, spotlighting such regionally sourced goods as Yorkville greens, cultured Vermont butter, Midwest fiddlehead ferns, black walnuts and wild ram – sometimes paired with Caribbean elements or foie gras.
“We’re basically New American,” Rosado said. “When people ask, we say we’re French with Caribbean, with American. And that’s New American.”
That’s not to say there isn’t a steak to be had in the place. The venerable beef entree is standard on both the five-course tasting menu and the three-course dinner menu, Rosado said.
“We always have a steak, because this is the Midwest. You have to have a steak,” he said. “So we have New York strip on the regular menu, and then on the tasting menu we have a prime filet mignon. That’s why people get the five-course, because they know they’re going to get a steak. When people go to a restaurant, especially in this area, the first thing they’ll order is steak. I’m a steak guy myself, so I understand that.”
The restaurant recently was granted a beer and wine license, but patrons also are welcome to bring their own wine. A $10 corkage fee is collected for opening and pouring the wine.
Rosado acknowledges that pricey prix fixe meals aren’t everyone’s routine restaurant fare of choice, but he’s pleased with the way things have progressed, largely by word-of-mouth, at his unusual eatery in west Aurora.
“The people that come here are foodies. They’re major foodies,” he said. “They’re people that love good food. They’ve been to Charlie Trotter’s, they’ve been to really good restaurants, and what sets us apart is we’re not froufy like those places are.”