Le Cirque in New York, New York has been renowned for more than thirty-five years. This New York treasure in the well-known Palace Hotel closed its doors in 2004, and then two years later the current incarnation was revealed at New York’s Bloomberg Tower. The founding Maccioni family experienced a number of trials and triumphs during the transition, these tales were featured in the HBO documentary Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven.
That documentary was my first introduction to the Maccioni family and the history of their prominent restaurants, Le Cirque and Osteria Del Circo. Previously, I only knew Bellagio had two restaurants with the same name. Last year, my husband and I dined at Osteria Del Circo during Restaurant Week. After that splendid meal, I knew I had to try Le Cirque.
When it came time to celebrate my thirtieth birthday, I felt there was no better way to usher out my twenties than a fine meal at Le Cirque. Not only is it one of New York’s most famed institutions, but it is also one of Las Vegas’ select restaurants to earn a Michelin Star; I knew we were in for a treat.
We dined at 6 o’clock to take advantage of the Pre-Theatre menu, which is available 5:30-6:30pm. It’s a three-course prix-fixe menu that offers a few of their signature dishes at the reduced price of $68. The traditional three-course meal runs $98 per person. A dégustation menu is also an option; it is a significant splurge at $125. Additionally, a sommelier wine pairing is available for each menu upon request.
From the moment passed through the restaurant doors, we were warmly greeted and addressed by name. They didn’t miss a beat in making me feel special on my birthday. Service was attentive throughout the entire meal. It was greatly appreciated.
The whimsical design by Adam D. Tihany is carried throughout the restaurant down to every last detail; curious monkeys adorn the china. Elegance hardly comes to mind at the mere mention of the circus or monkeys, but Tihany achieved it with Le Cirque. It’s a lovely blend of refined cheeriness. The playful elegance does not end with the décor, it can also be seen in the beautifully executed dishes prepared by executive chef, David Werly, and his staff.
We first witnessed this in the amuse bouche, which was tuna, foam and caviar with fried lotus root. The presentation was fun and the flavors worked together in harmony. Next we enjoyed our risotto and escargots. The risotto was prepared with scallops, bacon, morel mushrooms, peas and sundried tomato. It was fabulous. The escargots in garlic herb butter with croutons and tomato confit were very good, but also very rich.
Our entrees followed. There was a paupiette of sea bass wrapped in crispy potato with braised leeks, and Pinot Noir reduction. And glazed duck breast with pink praline & cocoa nibs, served with Poire William and apricot & huckleberry coulis. Both were scrumptious. A side of sweet potato duck confit accompanied my duck breast. I love each on their own, but together? I wasn’t terribly fond of the duo.
Lastly, we moved onto dessert. The chocolate sphere with white chocolate ice cream, hazelnut caramel crunch chocolate sauce was chosen, as was the Framboise, a raspberry milk shake with Mascarpone crème, and crunchy Feuilletine. The sphere was presented frozen solid, then warm chocolate sauce was drizzled over top causing it to melt. It was wonderful! The Framboise was refreshing, slightly tart and delicious. Although each was different, both served as an ideal end to a stellar meal.
It is a joy to have this treasure right here in our own backyard. We are fortunate that we do not need to travel to New York to experience this gem. Le Cirque serves dinner 5:30-10:00pm, Tuesday – Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.