Monday, October 17, 2011

Le Cirque - Review

Le Cirque
151 E 58th St, New York 10022
Btwn Lexington & 3rd Ave
Phone: (212) 644-0202

Men's eating club round 3 - Porthos pick for the next round of eating was the famous Le Cirque restaurant. This place has been around since 1974 and served the rich and famous for a long time. And here we are. For some odd reason, Le Cirque has never been on my list of go to restaurants. Regardless of the previous reasons, I'm glad I went this night as we got to eat at the chef's table in the kitchen. They're producing some solid food here and it was such a spectacular time hanging with the fellas. Killer meal and way too many laughs. Gracias to Mr. Risotto for the excellent pix.

Our Menu
Oyster *
Solid kushi oyster spiked with some herb (maybe taragon?). Nice and bright pop.

Oysters ***
Mushroom Broth
This was pretty ridiculous - first time I've had an oyster prepared this way. Oyster was gently poached in the mushroom broth and had an almost japanese fried oyster flavor. So friggin delicious - rich and unctuous. And, the oyster was still tender and only barely cooked through.

Marinated Big Eye Tuna (est. 2008) *
avocado tapenade, celemtines, and sesame tuille
Nice and delicate. Everyone's had tuna and avocado salad before, but this was done so precisely. The avocado added the nice creaminess while the clementines opened up the palate.

Torchon of Foie Gras *
cherries, balsamic, and pistachio
We've all had foie gras many a time, but I've never had it with pistachio and balsamic - molto italiano and it works out quite well. The torched figs were pretty damn tasty.

Wild Burgundy Escargot **
gruyere gnocchi, pickled garlic scapes, and bottarga
I love escargot and I get pretty irritated when bistros eff this up. This was perfectly done - great flavor, incredibly tender, and uber garlicky. Also nice touch with the gruyere gnocchi which was more like the french gougeres - light and fluffy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Pasta Primavera *
Everyone's had pasta primavera (spring in Italian) before, but this is where the dish originated. Pretty damn fun - never had vegetables this perfectly cooked in a primavera, not mushy/soggy and still retaining their individual flavor. My only wish is that the texture was slightly looser, but this is where this dish was originated so what do i know?

Diver Scallops “Black Tie” (est. 1986) **
spinach, turnips and truffles
A dish created by Daniel Boulud when he was running the kitchen here. Kinda like a beef wellington with the rich sauce and puff pastry. Definitely a softball pitch/crowd pleaser of a dish. What's not to like when you have truffles, scallops, puff pastry and a huge fond de veau sauce. Even the turnips were friggin awesome.

Long Island Duck Breast **
balinese pepper, pluots, mignonette jus
I've had a ton of duck dishes, but never with these flavorings. Duck is generally served with a super rich or a cloyingly sweet sauce. This instead was served with a nice bright mignonette sauce with some lavender going on. The pluots were a big time wtf delicious.

Duo of Wagyu Beef (est. 2011) **
short rib strudel, rib eye, foie gras sabayon
Foie gras sauce and super rich wagyu sirloin. Friggin fantastic although this was definitely borderline overload of richness of food at this point.

I didn't try all the desserts since after all that food and three bottles of wine I was in food/wine coma. The ones that I tried did kick massive ars.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (N/A) – Solid food with great balance - nice pop to the dishes. A nice lightness to the entire meal.
  • Service (A) – Owners/chefs stop by and food comes out at a great pace. Sommelier stopped by multiple times to make sure our glasses were never empty and the waiters were definitely on top of their game.
  • Atmosphere (A+) – Eating in the kitchen is a food geek's dream and it was a pretty awesome experience - definitely a dinner and a show. The kitchen runs like a well oiled machine with people focused and moving extremely fast and nimble. Only a few Gordon Ramsay type blowups, but it was probably a 5/10 in terms of how bad it could be.
  • Price (N/A) – $125 for the tasting menu, but we got a massive hookup since we had the inside connection.
Closing Comments
Definitely a once in a lifetime experience and thanks to the kitchen team for a great

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