From tightrope walkers to acrobats on the flying trapeze, the circus is all about precision. Midtown’s famed Le Cirque is no different in regard to exactitude, although its impressive headliners emerge from a tightly run kitchen instead of being shot from a cannon. Behind the scenes, the chefs bring together seasonal ingredients to shape specialties such as lamb chops with vegetable fricassee and Scottish salmon with squash and ratatouille-crustacean sauce. During private dinners at the Chef’s Table, groups enjoy exclusive glimpses at the preparation of each course while sipping glasses of Cristal.
In setting up the dining room, owner Sirio Maccioni—a big name in the restaurant business since the 1960s—and his designers plucked a bit of magic from traditional French circuses. A large, tent-like ceiling fixture stretches high above the round room like a canopy, and elegant sculptures of monkeys and elephants can be found among fresh floral arrangements and white tablecloths. Le Cirque Café, the casual-yet-elegant bistro next door, treats diners to the same hallmark service, vibrant atmosphere, and flavorful cuisine, albeit in a more convivial setting. Adam D. Tihany designed the sleek and cozy confines, anchored by colorful carpeting and playful orange lighting fixtures. A cascade of wine selections complements the prix fixe menu, which teems with constantly rotating seasonal dishes, from crispy duck confit to beef tartare au Couteau.