Chef Tom Valenti named executive chef at Le Cirque, Manhattan...

The New York Times is reporting that chef/restaurateur Tom Valenti has been hired as executive chef at Le Cirque. Is this really true? Seems like a quirky choice, though I did enjoy his former Ouest on Manhattan’s Upper West Side…What are Sirio and sons thinking?

What purpose would it serve to lie about this?

Have you had experience with Valenti over the years?

Why would I need to? You think it’s weird that Le Cirque has hired him - fair enough - but why would you think the NYT report is untrue?

You are taking me too literally. I was just surprised, that’s all…

My very pleasant experiences was when Le Cirque was still located at the NY Palace, a favorite destination of mine for weekending in the City. I have never been to the new location in the Bloomberg building but after seeing the HBO show about their opening and having experienced their level of dining in the past, I’m sure it lives up to my memories. Good luck to the new Chef.

Ah, ok. I thought you were doubting the story. Which confused me.

There’s even more to this story. According to the NY Post and other sources, Valenti will be teaming up with Amanda Freitag.

We’ve never been to Le Cirque. I could never convince Mr. RBI to go there after Ruth Reichl wrote her famous review. However, we have eaten Valenti’s food – just once. That was years ago when he was helming the kitchen at a restaurant on the UES whose name totally escapes me. I ordered his signature short ribs and found them disappointing.

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What do you mean, Roz. Freitag and Valenti will both be working at Le Cirque, or they are planning their own place?

I meant to link to the Post’s article. Yes, they will be working together at Le Cirque.

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Incredible! And I assume she will keep her retro diner in town, too?

The Empire Diner closed in December 2015. With Valenti’s restaurant also having closed, both will be giving all their attention to Le Cirque.

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I need to make a correction. Valenti’s signature was a lamb shank not short ribs.

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Le Cirque has filed for bankruptcy, but will continue operating in the Bloomberg building…


Via Eater, Chef Tom Valenti has resigned from Le Cirque.

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Wow, that was fast!

For the record, I enjoyed the meal (I think just one?) that I had at Ouest, but others in my party found the food too buttery, I think. This was years ago, though. I think I remember having good duck confit there. It didn’t seem like the pinnacle of deliciousness in New York, but I was happy; others thought it was overpriced, but this is the Upper West Side we’re talking about.

We enjoyed Ouest in its early years. Rustic, hearty cooking.
But, what is really going on at Le Cirque?

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
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