My Lunch at Le Cirque

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On the streets of Milan.

My Lunch at Le Cirque

Two of my favorite holiday-season-in-New-York restaurant traditions are dining at 21 Club to the caroling sounds of the Salvation Army Band and enjoying a calorie-laden lunch at Le Cirque. Today I indulged in the latter. The Christmas tree in the Bloomberg building courtyard, from which one enters the restaurant, was all aglow, as was the slightly smaller but equally festive one inside the bar area. Christmas spirit was in full effect. Ivanka Trump was there (apparently for the second day in a row) dining with mom Ivana, whose hair was as impressively bouffant as ever. Sirio Maccioni, the venerable owner, sat at the bar slurping soup and kissing the regulars hello. And I finally got the chance to ask Mario Maccioni, one of Sirio’s three handsome sons, the question I’ve long wondered about Le Cirque: Does Ruth Reichl dine there today, nearly 15 years after her now legendary side-by-side reviews of the restaurant in The New York Times—one written from the perspective of a VIP restaurant critic, and one from the critic in a disguise that rendered her unrecognizable. “Yes, Ruth comes often now,” Mario cheerfully told me today. “She was just here yesterday. We are all friendly now—her, my father, me. Back then,” he pauses here, rolling his eyes back to that past review, “well, not so much. But now we are all friends!”