Monday, January 05, 2009

Dinner of Winners - Le Cirque

We dined at Le Cirque.

(I've always wanted to be the sort of person who gets to write a sentence like that)

I am not restaurant critic. I am not the most knowledgeable person on the topic of food. But there are some restaurants with a reputation so lofty, they are like entering a cathedral for food. Le Cirque has that sort of cache.

The first thing I noticed when we entered was... the monkeys. I think monkeys are funny. All the monkeys at Le Cirque are there to entertain you. I giggled all night.

A monkey playing the drum while another monkey rides an elephant wears a ghost costume. Okay, I don't get it. But its funny!
Monkeys playing cards!

The big top ceiling of the restaurant.

Our table overlooked the 8 acre lake with dancing fountains of the Bellagio. Every fifteen minutes another blast of light and water. Amazing show, but for some reason I felt like I needed to go the bathroom every fifteen minutes.

Enough about the decor. The food, the food, the food!

From the minute we sat down and say the square charger with a monkey juggling food, I knew this was to be an event worth recording. But to keep my profile as a tourista on the low down, I tried my best to take photos without a flash (those tourists are so annoying! - so that should explain some of the "lesser" quality of a few of the photos).

We decided immediately that we would have the chef's tasting menu. In conjunction with that decision, we also agreed we would not be buying a new car this year. As my mother used to say, "It's all about choices."

Pre-dinner "amuse bouche"
British Columbia Oyster with caviar.
I scooped my caviar off and gave Lyle my oyster. Hey, that sounded dirty in print...)
I forgot to take a photo of this part of the meal, so I have "borrowed" this photo from a blog called "Crazy White Girl with a Keyboard" who also recently dined at Le Cirque and loved it.

1st Course
Salade de Homard
"Le Cirque" Lobster Salad Black Truffle Dressing
The salad that is corralled inside the cucumber slice was delicious. Each and every item cut to the same exact size so that the flavors from one item to the other were seamless. We were debating what was in the salad so we had to ask. We got two out of four ingredients correct. It consisted of green beans, asparagus, avocado and cucumber. Oh yeah, and large chunk of LOBSTER.

2nd Course
Foie Gras Sauté
Sautéed Foie Gras, Asian pear, Blackberries & Micro greens
I got to show off my big man skills on this one, "Excuse me is this Hudson Valley Foie Gras or French?" knowing full well that they always grill the Hudson Valley domestic foie gras. Wow, I am food specialist! Oh the pear, the Asian pear, was a fantastic accompaniment to this dish.

3rd Course
Risotto du Marché
Risotto in Harmony with the Season
In this case, tomato caper.
Lyle could not finish his.
I finished mine.

And his.

I have no regrets.

4th Course
Filet de Loup de Mer
Paupiette of Sea-Bass, Crispy Potatoes, Braised Leeks, Pinot Noir Reduction
This is a signature dish of the restaurant. The fish is wrapped in the thinly sliced potatoes that are nearly paper-like in texture. We saw some episode of "Top Chef" where the contestants had to do something with this dish. Our serving of this was magnificent.

5th Course
Coeur de Filet de Boeuf
Beef Tenderloin, Wild Mushrooms, Cocoa Nibs, Pea Mousseline, Potato "Souffle"
The dust you see down the right side of the photo is the cocoa nibs. We were instructed to drag our meat across the dust for a new taste sensation. We did as we were told. I was happy I obliged. A hint of chocolate. Not a taste. Not really identifiable. Just somewhere in your head your mind said, "Hey, was that chocolate?" and then it was gone. (the taste, not my mind.)

6th course
Palate cleanser of papaya sorbet with wild berries in a sugar bowl.
No, not the sugar bowl that comes with the creamer, a bowl made out of sugar. As in the song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, "Talk about your childhood wishes, you can even eat the dishes..." so I did.

7th course, Dessert (and to our delight, we each got a different one!)
Strawberry cream puff with coconut sorbet and whipped cream
Oh look, just above, you can see the petite fours have arrived as well!

7th course, Dessert, too
Chocolate souffle with creme anglais and whipped cream

I cant even begin to describe the desserts. My mind had run out of superlatives. I told Lyle it was one of those meals where you keep waiting for the next course to disappoint you and it just NEVER DID. Each course was thrilling, complex, delicious and made me happy. Just sit back, look at the monkeys and laugh happy. I didn't care how much we were spending anymore, I never wanted to own that new Honda anyway.


jason said...

They make everything better.

And wow...Impressive!

I felt the need to sit up straight and use my best table manners just to read this.

Christine said...

I loved your descriptions and the photos. Almost like being there, without the calories or the bill to follow.
Okay, I have to ask...what did you both wear to this fab dinner?

Sherri said...

Wow! Yes on the monkeys, no on the shell fish (I'm allergic). But it's PRETTY!

I'll live vicariously through you. I am going to Las Vegas in February, but once we get there, I think we can afford 1 show and 1 medium level dinner before having to mortgage the cats. I won't see anything like THAT.

kelly (crazy white girl with a keyboard) said...

I thought that amuse photo looked familiar... ;-)

I cannot wait to return to Le Cirque! Great write up.

Peter said...

The 'ghost' costume on the elephant, maybe he's got elephant disease... [like Elephant Man]

Rachel said...

All fabulous, of course, but I'm with Christina. What did you WEAR!?!?!?

Frontier Psychiatrist said...

1. Did you try to steal the plates? I would have.

2. "Hey, was that chocolate?" is what I wonder hopefully when eating anything.

3. 7th course, Dessert, too. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I never in my life saw anyone photographing food at a dinner table. It would be so funny... I must try to do it sometime just to see people's reactions.

I'm in love with your sweet naïf american manners.