While friends and family are in town, this is the time of year for “nice” meals, a few extra splurges and indulgences that we pay the price for later (when the credit card bill comes and your favorite jeans don’t fit). The first of my holiday treats to self was having lunch with Angie and her mom, who is visiting from LA, at Le Cirque 151 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022.

While the $45 pre fix lunch is a deal in comparison to their dinner menu, there are many other $45 lunches in town that seem like better buys. Though it’s a beautiful space, the good but not superb food didn’t do enough to impress us, and any tasty highlights were usually over-shadowed by the unjustified snooty service.

orchids bread

Thank goodness for a plate of fresh breads because it took a while for the food to come. Ordering was a breeze (read sarcastically) after we asked our waiter for recommendations and he basically just read it to us. Thanks! I can read.

My Wild Burgundy Escargot was a generous size with lovely fried gnocchi. The parsley sauce had more color than flavor and a touch of acid would have brightened up the whole dish.

Wild Burgundy Escargot

The Brandade Fraiche was one of the highlights, including a runny poached egg, with a foam blanket that added mystery to each delicious bite. The sheets of truffle are a fitting holiday treat, and I could sop up a big bowl, if just given a few loaves of bread.

Brandade Fraiche

The Squab Tortelli was a nice light way to show off this game bird, with figs and herbed ricotta. It struck us as an oddly smaller portion that the other two though.

Squab Tortelli

Angela’s mom got the winning main course, lovely lamb chops, with a delicately crunchy coating.

Roasted Lamb Chops

It came with some vegetables, mostly perfect, except for the over-cooked Brussels sprouts. Then, I found a few pieces that looked like little snails so I asked our waiter what they were. He said salsify, and I said that it didn’t look like salsify. He claimed that they carved the salsify to look like that but when I got home, I looked it up, and it wasn’t salsify, it’s a root vegetable called crosnes. I don’t expect a waiter to know everything but when you don’t know, don’t just make up something, especially if you’re going to give me your answer with that snooty look and act like you can’t be bothered with us.

Vegetables crosnes

Angie’s cod, beautifully presented with Christmas colors, and wrapped in a thin sheet of potato, was very ordinary in flavor.

Paupiette of Black Cod

My Turbot, poached in coconut milk, was dry and pretty hard. Though the lemongrass and coconut milk accented by tomatoes and chanterelles, were lovely, I left most of the fish and didn’t even eat half of it.

Turbot Poached in Coconut Milk 2

The chocolate souffle is the one thing I could perhaps recommend going for. Sit at the bar and just indulge in the perfect rise of this very tall and airy souffle. (Hopefully the bartender will not look at you like you’re a bum.)

chocolate souffle

The meringues of the Floating Island were surprisingly soft. The pecan tart was fresh.

floating islandPecan tart

The petit fours were pretty standard, and they have decent cappuccino.

Yet, the most memorable part of the meal, is how snooty our waiter was. The service wasn’t even on par with most of their competitors. Service was slow and it was hard to get their attention. Utensils were not set very straight. Timing wasn’t great, and we didn’t feel like they wanted us there at all.

Don’t let them ruin your holiday. Take your family to one of our favorites!

petit fours cappuccino

posted by jessica at 06:05 PM Filed under French, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.