The Return of the Maestro: Le Cirque Does It Again!

In one of the more snarky, mean-spirited, and self-indulgent restaurant reviews of the last year, a perfectly ordinary critic, who will remain nameless despite his extraordinary power, was playing way over his head when he went after the new Le Cirque and its owner, Sirio Maccioni. And as for his observation that Maccioni plays favorites with regulars…well, hello? Don’t we all naturally extend a kiss-kiss, a hearty handshake, a slap on the back, or the best seat in the house to those we know as opposed to those we don’t? (Not to mention those who keep us in business.) Why shouldn’t regulars have an easier time getting a table—this is, after all, a busi- ness, not a charity. And as for whining about A tables versus B tables? Get over it! Now that I’ve cleared my throat, let me adjust my napkin and unfurl the sterling: Le Cirque gives us hope that opulence and graciousness, haute cook- ing, and European savoir faire have not entirely disappeared from these mean streets. Here, Maccioni’s son Marco has been trying to get his father to trim back the excesses—"Did you know," the ebullient heir apparent asked us, "that you can order chicken seven different ways? That Dad has more than sixty dishes available on this menu?"—but the well-seasoned labors of chef Pierre Schaedelin, served amid Adam Tihany’s clever design inside Cesar Pelli’s glam sky- scraper, seem much appreciated by the happy, well-fed audience. Toques off. 151 E. 58th St.; 212-644-0202