MARILYN HAGERTY: Le Cirque serves up unforgettable haricot verts as well as dessert“You didn’t! You mean you ate at Le Cirque?’’ That’s what my friend Tammy Howard said when she picked me up at the airport after my whirlwind tour of New York City.
“You didn’t! You mean you ate at Le Cirque?’’
That’s what my friend Tammy Howard said when she picked me up at the airport after my whirlwind tour of New York City.
As she whisked me home, I was telling Tammy of the week that was in The Big Apple. The “Today” show. The limousines. The television and radio interviews. Ashley Garland of HarperCollins Publishers leaves no stone unturned in publicizing the Anthony Bourdain book called “Grand Forks” with 110 of the reviews I have written for the weekly Eatbeat column in the Grand Forks Herald.
The book came out this week and is available locally and online.
After the “Today” show Tuesday we did four more television and radio interviews. We moved on to six interviews Wednesday. One of them is with National Public Radio and planned for bright and early this morning.
And my thoughts keep running back to the two hours when I was taped Tuesday by “Inside Edition,” reviewing a lunch visit to Le Cirque. It is that celebrated restaurant at 151 E. 58th St. where presidents and most famous people have eaten. A place where Jacqueline Kennedy used to go for diversion. A place many people look on as too expensive, too posh, too stuffy. A place many others consider the epitome of dining out. A place acclaimed as one of the top 40 restaurants in the United States.
And I was there! I was being interviewed over lunch by Paul Boyd of “Inside Edition.”
I surveyed the menu nervously, trying to order something sophisticated and something at the same time appealing. Thus I chose a Le Cirque lobster salad with avocado, haricot verts, creme fraiche and caviar – even though I wasn’t sure what haricot verts are. (Turns out that is French for string or thin green beans, and I was pleased.)
The food was beautiful. It was served with decorum by professional waiters who scrape the crumbs from the white table cloth and stand at attention by the table.
Dessert was the crowning glory to this lunch at Le Cirque. We had Crème Brulee “Le Cirque” and “Le Cirque” Stove Cake. They were memorable presentations. The crème brulee was like velvet topped just right with burnt sugar. The stove cake appeared in the form of a little chocolate stove with two tiny chocolate pots on top. You open the chocolate drawer where the cake awaits. And you pour the chocolate from the pots on top.
The main dining room of La Cirque is gold and red and the ceiling is high. The sea of tables stretch throughout. And there is a side room with a bar and dining that is more reasonable.
It seems when you go to La Cirque, you aren’t counting pennies or buying coffee for the senior rate at McDonalds.
This is an almost majestic feeling restaurant. Customers are greeted and often embraced by the owner, Sirio Maccioni. He operates the restaurant with his wife, Egidiana, and three sons, Mario, Marco and Mauri.
I read somewhere that a restaurant such as Le Cirque with its dress code is passé in these times. Still, there are people who enjoy the experience of elegant, fine dining. And Le Cirque does it as well as could be done. The restaurant has recently published a beautiful book showing in pictures and words what it is all about.
Here are some of the upcoming events planned in conjunction with the release “Grand Forks: A history of American dining in 128 reviews.”
• Ferguson Books and Media will hold a talk, question and answer period and book signing with Marilyn Hagerty at 7 p.m. Thursday at 3750 32nd Ave. S.
• A radio appearance by Marilyn Hagerty on the KLUP “Home and Lifestyle show” out of San Antonio.
• A talk and book signing are scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at University of North Dakota Bookstore, 755 Hamline St.
• An interview by National Public Radio for its program “Weekend Edition,” to be broadcast Sunday on Prairie Public Broadcasting in North Dakota and Minnesota Public Radio.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 772-1055.