Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Mar 12, 2010 06:57 AM

Is Le Cirque Really Worth it or Should My Money Be Spent Elsewhere?

Looking to go to dinner with my mother (not a very adventurous eater) and my girlfriend. My girlfriend and I have already been to Le Bernardin, Daniel, Jean Georges, and Bouley. We loved Bouley, Daniel, and Jean Georges (probably best out the ones just mentioned) but were disappointed with the tasting menu at Le Bernardin. With that said, one of my favorite meals in the city has to be Degustation. Anyways...

Looking for a new tasting menu to try next weekend. Is Le Cirque worth it or am I just going there because of the HBO special? Anywhere else i should try, perhaps Adour?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I LOVE La Grenouille and always highly, highly recommend it. (Like you, I love JG as well and am not a fan of Le Bernardin.) La Grenouille is the epitome of French - excellent quality and service. Only catch is I don't think they offer a tasting menu. They do have a 3-course dinner (with amuse bouche) for $95 per person, though.

    That said, I have been to Le Cirque during Restaurant Week and was VERY impressed. Usually food during Restaurant Week is average at best, but Le Cirque really had a unique menu. Their pork belly was to die for!!

    I wrote about my experience here, if you're interested:

    1 Reply
    1. re: nycfinedining

      I also went to Le Cirque during Restaurant Week and while it was very good for Restaurant Week, it didn't make me want to come back for a full tasting menu.

    2. Le Cirque is a grand, special occasion restaurant, and if you liked Daniel you'll probably enjoy it.

      If you really want to head for the best food, consider the tasting menus at Eleven Madison Park - also a grand setting - and Corton - a less fussy space.

      1. We've never been to Le Cirque, so I can't make any comparisons. That said...

        We had a superb tasting dinner at Adour last year. Service was very cordial and faultless, and the room has understated elegance.

        Photos of our tasting dinner at Adour can be viewed here:

        We came back a few months later and had another wonderful dinner -- the 3-course prix fixe. Photos here:

        Eleven Madison Park is our favorite NYC restaurant so, of course, I agree with Wilfrid's recommendation. There are two tasting menus: the 6-course Seasonal and the 11-course Gourmand.

        Photos of our most recent Gourmand dinner can be viewed here:

        1. i went on thanksgiving this yr and thought it was fine but not amazing. but on thanksgiving they had a seperate menu that was different from their regular, so i dont even know if i should even be suggesting anything. but all i remember was that the scallops were great while everything else was just good and i expect better at a classy place like that.
          i personally i liked le bernadin better than le cirque but i wasnt amazed by the food at le bernadin either (but i wasnt disappointed, sorry about your experience) I did remember the langostine curry and escolar at le bernadin though, these dishes were earth shattering to me lol, while everything else was just good and not amazing.
          ive only been to these places once so im far from an expert, but why dont u try aquavit? ive only been there twice but i enjoyed both my experiences there more than le cirque and le bernadin. it's near le cirque too.
          BTW if u end up going to le cirque a jacket is required

          1. We had a wonderful time here. Have dined ad Le Bernadin, Jean Georges and Bouley. This place is just a lovely, without the attidude/rudeness from service as I've experienced from the restaurants above. Why five-stars for me? Well, the food, extremely friendly service, ambience, dress casual to formal... Here's our last experience (18DEC2010).

            Annual Christmas Holiday Visit to NYC, my sister takes her 9-year old daughter and our mother to NYC for shopping, dining weekend. This year I joined them for dinner, as I was visiting friends that weekend. They always pick a nice Hotel (St. Regis, The Plaza, Waldorf Astoria, The London...) and a nice restaurant(s) to dine. My sister decided to make reservations at Le Cirque.. She had been there before and again, a week prior. Her experience, "Great ambience, excellent extremely friendly service, very well prepared food."

            So, Le Cirque is a great space, contemporary, yet elegant, formal, yet not uptight,

            I ordered the Chef's Fall Tasting Menu + cavier and eggs (ala carte):


            Foie Gras Torchon
            poached quince and almonds

            Australian King Prawns
            spaghetti squash, curry, lime, ginger

            Wild Burgundy Escargot
            Gruyere gnocchi, pickeled yellow foots, and bottarga

            Hazelnut Smoked Salmon Fillet
            butternut spuash and hazelnuts

            Rack of Lamb
            eggplant and sheep's milk ricotta

            Selection of artisanal Cheese

            Chocolate Soufflé


            My mother odered the Fall Tasting menu as well.

            My sister ordered *from the Seasonal Menu:

            $92 per person

            *Nantucket Bay Scallops Crudo

            Granny Smith gelee and mustard seeds


            *Barramundi Filet
            pumpkin chutney and almond milk

            *Blackened Mangalista Pork Filet
            apple mostarda and polenta croutons


            * Chef's Complimentary.... will tell you about that below.

            And my 9-year old niece ordered ala carte.

            Foie Gras Torchon
            poached quince and almonds

            Lobster Risotto

            Rack of Lamb
            eggplant and sheep's milk ricotta


            All I have to say is that everything was absolutely excellent! My expectations were exceeded 10-fold. I was expecting really well prepared food, snooty service, total pretense. We received, overthetop friendly service, excellent food (prep, presentation, taste). Marco (currently owner/partner with other brother), one of the Son's of the original owner Sirio, came to our table, as he recognized my sister from her prior visits, Introduced himself to the rest of us, and chatted with us until the waiter came to our table, he the returned to our table toward the end of dinner, to ask how we were doing, whether we were enjoying our dinner, and ever so kindly asked my neice what she was going to order for dessert, she replied that she was not sure because she was overwhelmed with the selection. So Marco, put out his hand and offered to give my niece a personal tour of the Kitchen to meet the Pastry chef and Chef / kitchen staff. How great was that! When they came back, they were followed by 3 waiters with plates of or ordered desserts as well as a couple "complimentary" desserts which were compliments from Marco:

            Crème Brûlée "Le Cirque"

            Floating Island "Le Cirque" old-fashioned style island over light vanilla cream

            Chocolate Soufflé traditional chocolate soufflé with vanilla gelato

            Creamy Chocolate Tart salted caramel and peanut butter ice cream

            a sampling of petit macorons and variety of other small bite sized pastry.

            What a great experience, Marco, then presented my niece with a gift bag with a DVD of the documentary (HBO) of the History of Le Cirque and a signed Christmas Card with a personal message and his signature. 4-stars for the food and service +1 for Marco going out of the way to make our experience (my 9year old nieces) a wonderful one!

            Jean Georges
            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            Le Cirque
            151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

            235 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

            1 Reply
            1. re: SpdRcr069

              I'm really surprised by your glowing review of Le Cirque. I've dined twice at the NYC location, and while the food is very good, I've always found the service to be very robotic and abrupt (sort of what I would expect at a neighborhood coffee shop during rush hour). I do like Le Cirque in Las Vegas much better. I've had dinner there three times, and have always found the service to be among the nicest. Maybe the NYC crew should fly out to Las Vegas and learn better service (or fly the Las Vegas team into NYC to teach servce). What a shame since Le Cirque has the potential to be a great restaurant.

              Le Cirque
              151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022