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Is Le Cirque overrated?

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Went to Le Cirque last night for the first time to celebrate, and had the worst meal for $100 per person. It tasted as if the lid for the salt had fallen off while seasoning several dishes (soup, the leeks for the cod dish), and everything else was mediocre (the shrimp, the lamb). No wonder why the restaurant was so empty! Maybe the chef is out on vacation? I don't know what their issue was, but for a meal that cost over $100pp, the quality of the food was unacceptable. Don't waste your money going to Le Cirque, go elsewhere, unless you're in the mood to consume a lifetime's worth of sodium in one sitting!

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  1. Well i'm with you, i thought it was overrated. While I didn't think it was nearly as bad as ur experience, it was completely unmemorable and i'm not trying to go back anytime soon

    1. Wow. I consider myself to be a pretty jaded diner, yet I was delighted with the food (esp. the escargot) at Le Cirque. We've had a few lunches and are looking forward to trying their "menu d'economie" sometime soon at dinnertime.

      The personnel are delightful, efficient and gracious. I've never had a bad meal there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shaogo

        I'm sure you've had splendid experiences there in the past, or else it wouldn't be such a hyped restaurant. However, my experience at the place recently was terrible, I thought a warning was needed for those that might be contemplating a visit. When was the last time you dined there?

      2. Le Cirque has lost much of its relevance in the NYC fine dining scene for years now, and I feel that it largely lives off its past reputation in the 1990's. Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, Daniel etc. are all vastly superior at Le Cirque's price point, and if anything the gap has widened even further in recent years as Le Bernardin and JG have continually upped their food standards (in no small part because of intense competition from Per Se and the now-defunct Alain Ducasse at the Essex House). To be fair, regulars/VIPs get much better meals at Le Cirque than the average diner as it is infamous for its hierarchical dining and service, but why would you bother? A similarly VIP'ed meal at any of the current NYT 4* or Michelin 3* restaurants would completely humble the VIP Le Cirque experience in comparison.

        That said, I wouldn't say it's extremely overrated, at least by the critics. Recent reviews have been somewhat mixed at best.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Crys

            Sad, given it's still a family operation. Never been there, but recently saw an interview with the parent owners, and their sons. Was very intrigued. They also run the Italian counterpart, Circo, off 6th in the 50s. Sad to hear this. Was curious to try them at some point.

        1. Le Cirque has a history of treating VIPs and regulars like foie gras, while the hoi polloi are chopped liver. Ruth Reichl famous review bore that out.