The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Desserts?

The press release says, "Heralded as the year's most highly anticipated restaurant opening, owner Sirio Maccioni will once again welcome friends and guests at his renowned Le Cirque when the restaurant opens its doors on May 30, 2006 at its new home within the prestigious One Beacon Court in New York City." "Le Cirque has always been a place where the worlds of food, fashion, art and culture converge," said Maccioni, who has wined and dined high society in New York for nearly half a century."

With the advent of the reopening of this prestigious restaurant I must recount a very memorable dining experience at Le Cirque 2000 and if there were pictures, they would be posted here. Jacques Torres, the pastry chef at Le Cirque at that time and star of two public broadcasting series Dessert Circus had extended a tour of the pastry kitchen at Le Cirque when I had visited his TV set months earlier.

So with my Fancy Food Show posse of two women friends, we rode into Le Cirque for luncheon and the pastry kitchen tour. Jacques Torres' girlfriend Kris Kruid said once at the restaurant just walk back into the kitchen. We weren't comfortable with that so we announced we had an invitation and were escorted back past the enclosed kitchen table, the magazine photographer at work, passed the open kitchen stirring with chefs galore to the far hinterlands of the kitchen. Jacques, the handsome and charming Frenchman that he is gave us a wonderful welcome. This was a spotless, specially cooled room with everything a pastry chef would dream of having. We saw parts to desserts, like Lego toys that would be assembled later into great structures. Jacques suggested that we have our lunch and he would send a "Dee~Zert Saompling" (trying to get the French accent in there) to our table. Off we went to dine!

Luncheon was kicked off by a glass of Champagne. We started with appetizers and in-between the appetizer course and entree a complimentary lobster risotto from the chef was placed before us. Entrees came and went and everything was wonderful! We were quite full though dessert was on our mind.

One of my two companions suggested we order Jacques trademark Stove dessert. I suggested we wait and see what the "Dee~Zert Saompling" might be. As the same said companion was off powdering her nose, seven, count them seven full-sized assorted desserts were sent to our table. All breathtaking in their artistic glory and assembled yearning to reach the sky, their arrival to our table created a silence in the dining room ~ all eyes were focused on our circus of desserts.

Upon returning to the table, my companion looked like Lot's wife, she turned white as salt and frozen in her tracks at the vision of the seven confectionary creations overloading our table.

Today's trends with desserts and dining out, a dessert is ordered with 2 to 4 forks and everyone shares the dessert. The ratio had changed that afternoon, 2 1/3 desserts for each of us. Good foodies that we were we would just rotate the plates amongst us and sample everyone. We put a serious dent in all 7 desserts, something I don't think we are proud of but when would this ever happen again ~ we were living in the moment.

They cleared dessert plates from our table but why were they taking the centerpiece from the table? It seems we weren't finished. Jacques sent out his own centerpiece, on a mirrored base came a chocolate tree with confections hanging from it armatures and lining the base. It took about five minutes for us from staring at it to munching (only God knows where we got the room) as well as extracting the remaining delicacies from the tree into tissues and then into our purses.

The question I asked,"is there such a thing as too many desserts?" For that day, time and place the answer was "no, it was just the right amount!"
Le Cirque on Urbanspoon


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