People are asking if the real Mauro Maccioni (son of Sirio) is leaving comments on my Le Cirque post. Friends around me right now say, without question, that it is “definitely him.” (Their reason is: “Why would someone pretend to be the son of Sirio? If they were going to pretend they’d pretend to be Sirio himself. It’s too specific.”)
Here’s what Mauro has to say about my post:
I’m sorry that people may feel this way when they come into our family restaurant. I’m almost in tears listening to people mock us in this piece. My take is that although we are not at the very top of our game since the restaurant just opened, our reputation proceeds us and we are prejudged even before you step into our home. Alot of effort, compassion and pride have gone into this project and I am at a loss for words. i’m sorry people resent us so much and label us like this. People like me do read blogs and I am very human. You don’t know me so how dare you pass so much judgement and resent towards us.
Sincerely, Mauro Maccioni
He later writes:
“I will have to brush off you mean spirited review and press on. You know how many our family has endured from unfounded resentful people. I have a very human family and 13month old daughter that needs me to make Le Cirque a wonderful place. You talk about being offended to the core. You offended me to the core cause you really just don’t know us. Come back a few times, like the regulars (who are all not the snobs you think they are) and maybe we’ll get to know you and you could become the ‘regular’ that you so seem to so much despise. Take the chip off your shoulder Mr. Amateur gourmet!”
I’ll respond simply that I didn’t write the review with a chip on my shoulder, although I was reticent to eat there because of all the flack the restaurant has received in the past. After eating at Le Cirque, I have to say that the flack, form my vantage, is well-deserved. I like a restaurant that treats its guests equally. Smart restauranteurs know how to give V.I.Ps special treatment without making the non-V.I.P.s feel slighted. Mario Batali, apparently, informs his chefs when a V.I.P’s in the room and they send out the food faster and, perhaps even, with more care. But that’s a back-of-the-house policy, it’s not a front-of-the-house policy.
Our front-of-the-house treatment was poor. To put it bluntly: Sirio was mean to my mom. He dismissed her and didn’t engage her the way a welcoming host might. Compare that to the way you are welcomed at Jean-Georges, where the smiles are bountiful, or even something more low-key, like Prune. Feeling welcome in a restaurant is essential for the rest of the experience to land. Imagine eating a 4-star meal at the home of your worst enemy. The food might be excellent, but you’ll be itching to get out there as soon as possible. That’s how I felt eating at Le Cirque: I was itching to get out of there as soon as I could. I popped out of my seat when dessert was over.
I’m sorry if my review seemed harsh, Mr. Maccioni, but my experience was intensely negative. Let’s just agree that your family’s restaurant is not for me and that I am, most certainly, not welcome there.