December 6, 2004 | Ask Gael
Is there a dining imperative on your list?

        Only a few weeks remain to say adieu to Le Cirque 2000 before it expires forever with a black-tie New Year’s Eve bang ($500). “Either we are a genius or we are completely crazy,” Sirio conceded back in 1997, as he juggled a reservations pile-up and the delayed launch of his vehemently reviled, sternly defended, neon-gilded sumptuary in a landmark suite at the New York Palace Hotel. “It’s like putting a Ferrari into a palazzo,” architect Adam Tihany kept saying. Today, the Technicolor plush still looks brave, if past-tense. It’s noon; top chef Pierre Schaedelin isn’t in yet, but he’s got the kitchen humming. The menu is a little French, a little Italian, a little vintage, with such fusion ramblings as spaetzle, “Chinese Alsacienne” style. The two of us are sharing Le Cirque classics from various eras: fine onion soup, delicate ravioli of wild greens in a lively tomato sauce, and remarkably tender lobster salad in truffled vinaigrette. My skate, amazing for its freshness and careful cooking, sits in a lemony brown butter with an overkill of capers. Stop by soon to catch Sirio, defiantly refusing to shuffle off to well-earned retirement, obsessing over his next hurrah. Get your name in the book for Le Cirque-to-be-continued.

455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street. 212 303 7788


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