[Pink Pig Time Machine by Wilfrid: June 22, 2009]
No, not that kind of circus. Sirio's midtown fantasia, Le Cirque 2000, housed in the old Villard Mansion wing of the Palace Hotel. But first things first.
An early June Saturday saw me trailing around the galleries again, taking in a bewildering variety of shows in Chelsea. Andy Warhol's "Shadows" - a mural of silhouettes; Joseph Beuys, drawings and big stacks of felt at the Dia Center; a series of Goth-S&M photogravures by Tracey Moffatt called "Laudanum'"; the rather doomy "Gloria in Memoria" by Thomas Schütte, all death and Hitler.
I should think that would work up an appetite, but just in case I dropped by Center Park's Summerstage for a performance by Tommy James and the Shondells - about which I remember absolutely nothing - followed by a short set from Ronnie Spector. Funny thing, a diary: if you'd asked me if I'd ever seen Tommy James live, I'd have said no. Apparently I did.
And apparently I then had dinner at Marichu, the Basque-Spanish outpost near the United Nations - now defunct. I do remember that, actually, even though the meal was quite average. A seasonal salad of white asparagus, followed by hake in parsley sauce with a few shrimp and mussels, and leche fritas for dessert. A bizarre wine choice, given the food: Teófilo Reyes 1996, a sturdy red from the Ribera del Duero.
As one might expect, Sunday ten years ago saw the Puerto Rican parade, and I watched some of it, the novelty having not yet worn thin. And then off to the Soho Playhouse for an off-Broadway production of Killer Joe starring Michelle Williams, who must have been very young then. Which is probably why the stage lights went off when she removed her clothes.
And so to Le Cirque, and my first exposure to the legendary restaurant, twenty-five years old in 1999, and relatively recently installed in the lovely 1882 Villard rooms. That main dining room is one of my favorite spaces in New York, and for Le Cirque 2000 Adam Tihany had introduced bold, festive crimson-and-yellow splashes against the staid (landmarked) panelling.
Casoulette of young vegetables came with a black truffle garnish. Magret de canard was much enhanced by a confit and foie-stuffed cabbage. Dessert was called "banana top hat", and there were petits fours and all the trappings of classic luxury. Charmes-Chambertin 1991 with the duck, and a 1956 vintage Bas-Armagnac to finish things right.
Next week: Yankee Stadium, and yes - a real circus.