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The Payoff: Le Cirque

Yesterday, Frank Bruni awarded the expected three stars to Le Cirque. Even so, he made no attempt to conceal his disdain for the classic luxury that this restaurant has always represented:

At Le Cirque you will indeed eat too much food…at a sometimes ludicrous expense.

But that has long been the way of certain restaurants, which exist to be absurd, to speak not to our better angels but to our inner Trumps, making us feel pampered and reckless and even a little omnipotent, if only for two hours and three courses with a coda of petits fours.

And while I’m not calling for the spread of these establishments…, I’m charged with noting when one of them fulfills its chosen mission with classic panache. Le Cirque now does.

Has a NYT critic ever called a restaurant “absurd”, noting he’s not keen to see any more like it, while awarding three stars?

What’s absurd is that Frank Bruni would describe the restaurant in those terms, when all Le Cirque is doing is what it has always done, which in the past the Times has considered a three or four-star experience. The only thing that has changed is the critic.

Both Eater and New York Journal considered the trifecta a sure thing this week. We both win just $1 on our hypothetical bets.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $63.50   $79.67
Gain/Loss +1.00   +1.00
Total $64.50   $80.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 29–13   30–12

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