My dad visited me in New York for the first time this past Thanksgiving weekend, and I was so excited for him to see where I live and work…to explore the city together…to eat. Come on, you guys must have expected that from me by now.
I was so so so excited to pick a place to eat Thanksgiving dinner at with my dad. I’m a planner, so of course I had a whole list of options and was going back and forth comparing their menus, Yelp ratings, and overall New York “popularity.” Just so you know, if you ever want to eat Thanksgiving in New York you need to book a month in advance to get a decent mealtime (aka not eat at 10 pm). Most of the restaurants open for Thanksgiving normally start taking reservations a month in advance anyways, so basically as soon as you can, you should.
I finally settled on Le Cirque, which is somewhat of a New York City landmark. Le Cirque, which means “the circus,” was opened by Sirio Maccioni in 1974. It was originally at the Mayfair Hotel, moved to a larger space in the Palace Hotel in 1997, and then moved to the Bloomberg Building in 2006, which is where it’s located now. The building is really part of the magic and splendor of the restaurant. It takes up a whole block and is this beautiful glass building shaped and curved like a horseshoe, with a paved driveway/court in the center. I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed this gorgeous building in Midtown East before coming here for dinner.
The interior of the restaurant also has a matching elegance, and you can see circus motifs throughout like monkeys and circus tents (the main dining area has a “big top” lamp shade hanging from the ceiling!). I’ve heard that there’s a required dress code in the restaurant, meaning jackets are required for men, but I can’t seem to verify that any way. You’ll probably want to dress up anyways because it’s just that kind of place. The kind of place where you feel like you might rub shoulders with some elite New Yorkers. In fact, when we ate there, a teenager girl at at a table next to us was giddy with excitement because she saw and took a picture with a celebrity also dining there. Unfortunately, I have no idea who she was talking about, but the girl was gushing that she couldn’t wait to make it her profile picture. Must’ve been good!
Because we went on Thanksgiving, we chose our meal from a special prix fixe menu. Even with limited choices, I still had a hard time picking just one starter, entree, and dessert. Why must I always want all the things? Thankfully, my dad happened to want all my second choices so I got quite the sampling. For our appetizers, my dad ordered the foie gras “maison” while I got the blue crab “simplissime.” This was the first time I’ve tried foie gras, and for how rich the dish is, they give you a fair amount. My pick was very much like a crab bisque but with lusciously creamy potatoes at the bottom of the bowl. Again, this was something I had never had before, and it was delicious.
For our entrees, my dad had venison, which was served with agnolotis and gorgonzola cremificato, and I had the filet mignon, which came with wild mushrooms and swiss chard. Yeah, yeah. I know. We didn’t get turkey on Thanksgiving. But how could we pass up such fancy dishes? Besides, we had plenty of traditional holiday fare with the sides that came with our meal. They gave us roasted chestnuts, brussel sprouts, sweet potato puree, cranberries, and ham. Wow, right? Was not expecting HAM as a side dish! And to me, roasted chestnuts were just things people ate in old novels. I can now say that they are tasty in real life too. Needless to say, we had plenty of things to make us completely stuffed.
Le Cirque is supposed to have some of the best creme brûlée, but we had to get our Thanksgiving comfort desserts–pumpkin pie and pecan pie. The pumpkin pie had maple syrup chantilly and creme anglaise, and the pecan pie had a chocolate crust with bourbon foam. Could tooootally taste that bourbon.
On a regular day at the restaurant, you can get four courses for $98, with an extra $75 for a classic wine pairing. Of course, you can also order individual dishes of the menu as you so please. Another nice touch at Le Cirque is that you can often find Sirio himself sitting at the front of the restaurant, greeting customers. We saw him when we were there!
I probably wouldn’t have ever eaten here if it wasn’t for my dad (thanks dad!), and it was tons of fun dressing up and having a fancy evening out. I mean if this is your life every day, more props to you, but if not, it’s a nice place to live it up in luxury.
Foie gras “maison,” blue crab “simplissime,” venison, filet mignon, pumpkin pie, pecan pie
151 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022