Le Cirque – Romantic, French Cuisine

Making sure that we squeezed every last drop out of restaurant week, last night the bff and I took ourselves off to ‘Le Cirque’ for what was a very elegant (and mouthwatering) evening. The bff happens to hail from Australia and, not surprisingly, enjoys food almost as much as i do. We have a long foodie history together, but more recently we found ourselves to be companions on a 3-month European holiday that entailed chowing down on absolutely every delectable treat we could get our hands on (but not before photographing it profusely)! One year later and the bff has joined me in New York for a 7 day vacation and excuse to revisit our European eating habits, but this time in New York.

We made our reservation at Le Cirque for 8:45, the earliest time available and were dropped out the front by our cabbie, beneath the uniquely shaped Bloomberg building. As we entered the restaurant reception we were met by a very smartly dressed gentleman (in full suit and tie), who greeted us warmly and then exclaimed our table would be ready shortly.

The surroundings are very glamorous – richly colored carpet, high ceilings and a cellar built within a ginormous, glass, circular room that reached to the roof. As we entered the dining room we passed under heavily draped velvet curtains that are drawn back to reveal the restaurant. Our table was set with silverware, fresh flowers and plates with beautiful “Le Cirque” printing. Our server greeted us with a bread basket of multi-grain, sourdough and herb-olive sourdough rolls and an oval butter dish.

As we sat with our bread and butter, we waited for his return… and some menus.

I’m not sure if it’s just me and i’m not familiar with the service of such fanciful restaurants, but i found it strange that we weren’t presented with both a food and wine menu when we were seated and instead had to inquire for both. However, having said that, that is my only qualm of the evening – everything else ran smoothly and deliciously! When we did received the wine menu, it happened to be a huge folder with most bottles in the hundreds to thousands of dollars range… we opted for an Italian wine $35 (the cheapest on the menu) which luckily turned out to be a yummy drop; light with apple and grassy notes – perfect to accompany the fish dishes we would order.

For our first course we ordered the herb ravioli with escargot. The raviolis were tiny and delicate and served in a chicken broth with currents, pinenuts and capers –a perfect combination of sweet, salty and then the added nutty texture.

Our second course was Fluke with summer vegetables. Overall this dish didn’t jump as much – the fish had a nice barbequed, smoky flavour from the grill, but needed more seasoning. I felt it was missing a layer, maybe some diced Sicilian olives, or some preserved lemon – I’m not to sure, but it wasn’t “Le Cirque” level for me.

Finally dessert… the signature Crème Brulee and a chocolate torte with praline ice cream and brittle perched on top. The base was almost cake-like in texture, while the chocolate filling was dark and rich flavor and complemented by the cold, buttery-toffee ice cream.

The crème brulee was excellent – smooth, eggy and a crisp toffee surface. When you finished the dish (and licked it clean) the recipe could be found written into the bottom of the ramekin.

Overall the meal was tasty, and a steal for $35 a head, but would I come back for the full menu? Hmm, not unless I was being taken!

… So tell me Dear Reader, what is the strangest restaurant service habit you’ve ever encountered?

Le Cirque

151 E58 St

New York, NY
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