Went to both Le Cirque and Town recently for lunch.
Le Cirque -- of course the decor was over-the top, and at 12:30 we were the only table there, and we did get very good service. We had the prix-fixe menu, which, at $44, is not a bad deal. We ended up spending a lot more than that, because we ordered a bottle of San Pellegrino that they kept pouring, and pouring. The meal began with a bresaeola of beef with roasted tomatoes and ricotta. Very good, beautifully presented, not spectacular. I then had duck confit which, again, was very good, but not spectacular, and came with some particularly bland potatoes. Desserts were very good, especially a chocolate banana confection with chocolate ice cream, which was far superior to something similar I had had at Aureole. With coffee we were served an amazing tray of miniature pastries and cookies. Overall the meal was perfectly adequate and much as I expected, but nothing to dazzle. I didn't feel ripped off, because again, that was what I expected.
A recent lunch at Town was really excellent. I have been having a lot of mid-town lunches recently (Tao, Le Cirque, Rue 57, Bice, Artusi) and this was by far the best I have had. The room was beautifully decorated and very modern -- the atmosphere was very quiet and "adult." The service was less polished than the ambience, but it was very good nonetheless. I began with English pea soup, which was light and sweet and served with delicious little bits of crispy fried prosciutto. One of my companions had a delicious tuna carpaccio, which was tender and melty, and had a tangy but not overpowering mustard dressing. For main courses I had a soft shell crab/crab roesti which was wonderful sauteed soft shell crabs with excellent flavor and richness. The roesti was a bit of a mystery -- like a potato pancake but also like noodles, and the crab was not a dominant note. The whole thing had a fruity sauce lightly sprinkled on the plate. My companions both had chicken -- I didn't try it, but they reported it was very tender the "filet mignon of chicken."
Desserts were also amazing. I had the chocolate beignets with frozen cafe brulot. The cafe brulot was an ice cream bombe that tasted of chocolate and coffee and cinnamon. The beignets were served in a little side basket and were just pastry pockets filled with melted dark chocolate. An unusual and delicious dessert. The caramel ice cream was very intense, and the nectarine tart was very good, but a little sweet. All in all, as I said, the lunch was excellent and I would go back in a heartbeat.
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