I had my first meal at Le Cirque 3.0. I say first, because I’m fairly certain I will return. Before we go any further, remember that I do not review restaurants. It seems unfair for many reasons, detailed here. For this specific diner, it would be particularly inappropriate to review when I was a guest at "friends and family" on Saturday night. Translation: I ate for free and had very attentive service and smiles. This is not a review, but a sharing of a few thoughts.
Sitting at one of the banquettes along the wall I wondered…which are the power tables? Where’s Siberia? Marco and Mauro Maccioni once told me about a regular at Le Cirque 1.0 who always wanted the table in the front by the door. To her it was prime real estate, to them it was drafty. Seems one diner's Siberia is another's table of choice. It may take some time to establish the habits of the new dining room, to see who sits where. Or maybe it’s the whole place. It’s only 100 seats – and everybody wants to go. Could be wall-to-wall VIP. Sources say the media was in full attendance at the opening lunch today, so I'm sure someone will give us a road map soon.
Chef Pierre Schaedelin has put together a menu that walks the line between modern and classic with a very light touch. It’s not jarring. There is flow and harmony. You can see the care and work put into handling the ingredients and getting them to the plate. Everything seems precisely trimmed, shaped, cut and cooked, without appearing overly fussy or stuffy. My favorite dishes from the appetizer category, a study in tomato, and a study in English peas. Lovely.
Pierre is a cook. He works on the line everyday. He has no interest in dancing in the dining room or endorsing a line of super-toques. Even though he’s relatively young, Pierre is old school. I like that. How many chefs are at the pass during service in this town?