September 29, 2006 1:28 AM | By Adam Roberts | 36 Comments

Sorry From Sirio

My mom got home today (to our house in Boca Raton, FL) and found a FedEx package at the door. She took it inside and opened it and inside was a copy of Sirio Maccioni's autobiography and this letter (click the picture for a bigger version):


I suppose Sirio (or his team) tracked down my family using the credit card information from that night's check. (I think it's a tiny drop creepy, but not in a Jennifer Jason Leigh sense.) The letter itself is a very kind gesture and I do think it speaks to Sirio's (and Le Cirque's) professionalism that they've followed through with such care. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable going back, even if the meal is free (though that is a big incentive). If we do go you'll certainly read about it here. [Here's the link to the original review.]


It would be VERY interesting to go back and see how wonderfully you all get treated by them this time around, even if in the back of your mind you think they're doing it just to "save face" with the blogging community. Even though it was not your best evening out, he certainly did not have to go to the trouble ("tiny drop creepy" or not) to send a peace offering. Definitely keep us posted.... :)

It would be nice if you'd link to the blog entry about the original experience at Le Cirque, so that those of us who are new to your blog, and curious, could start at the beginning. I tooled around briefly and couldn't find it, but don't have the time or energy to go digging in your archives. At any rate, best wishes.

That is very respectable of Sirio to go through the trouble of tracking your mom down. They may not make the best first impression to new guests, but this was certainly an effort I would not have expected. Unfortunately, except for your blogging, this would not have occured in most cases.


There are two posts in the history of this conversation.

Wow, it's true - the pen is mightier than the sword! Adam, if you had never posted your family's experience at Le Cirque on this blog, Sirio would have never followed-up with that letter. Not to make your head big or anything, but you should be proud that your post ultimately forced them to admit that they made mistakes. Still, if I were you, I wouldn't go back.

Adam, you are my hero.

Can we get some quotes from your mom? Did she feel vindicated?

wow, talk about the power of the blog!

despite your bad experience, i have to say that they get a small check mark in my book. after all, life is all about making strides for the better, right? it's good to know le cirque tries to correct its mistakes.

while this does describe the power of a well written blog, I wouldn't be so cynical as to suggest a blog is the only way for the general customer to get a response from a restaurant. The problem is that we are unlikely to write a letter of dissatisfaction if we have a crummy meal experience. Most good restaurants will do something to make amends if the letter is sincere and the problem is real. good restaurants take all complaints seriously.

I don't think it speaks to the professionalism of Sirio, or of Le Cirque so much as to the PR whoreness of them. As many of the other comments have said, it is not because you had a bad experience that they're writing to you, it's because you have a well-regarded blog.

I'm sure that Le Cirque can provide an amazing dining experience to a certain class of clientele, but it seems that your original review was spot-on. This is just another example of Le Cirque catering to only their "important" customers (i.e. those rich enough, or those popular enough).

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when Papa Sirio gave little Mauro his dressing-down for those whiny responses. This is certainly how it SHOULD be done. And if you do go back, you'll get the big raspberries this time -- but I know you'll still be thinking of the little people, those with their face pressed up against the glass. What I'd like to know is what about your dad? Sirio offers a meal to you and mom, but dad also shared in the less-than-stellar experience. Doesn't he deserve some retribution?

I'm not sure that's legal, tracking you down through credit card information.

you should go back - in disguise...hehehe

That is totally creepy! The fact that he attempted to give specific reasons for your family's "bad" table and the fact that he couldn't chat is lame. It is also beyond awkward that he refers to complaints from your blog post without being forthright enough in the letter to clearly refer to it. He should be embarrassed for such stalking.

Sirio said sorry-o!

Too bad he didn't send the book to you.

I bet it'd come in handy as a pretty good doorstop during your move.

It is somewhat creepy how he got your parents' address, but I hope that you go to dinner. Sirio seems to have made a pretty solid effort to try and redeem himself and Le Cirque. Maybe he will even try and be nicer to us common folks.

There is nothing wrong or illegal about tracking the names and addresses of people who use credit cards -- merchants do it all the time to see who is eating/shopping there, and to understand their demographics. When you use your credit card in a place like this, you are basically giving them this information.

And I'm sure that your parents and their credit cards will be as welcome at LeCirque as they ever were. Next time you go, don't give Sirio such a hard time, and leave the phone camera in your pocket. Very few people, celebrities or otherwise, want their picture taken (even accidentally) when they are eating.

They're gonna pee in your food. :P

Ooooh! Am I the only one who's gonna call ungracious to hold someone who sends an apology up for more humiliation after two previous questionable-to-bitter posts? A simple "wasn't that kind?" seems more appropriate than using words like "creepy" and making a point of saying you're ambivalent about accepting a free meal and the apology.

If you're gonna call a restaurant on the carpet for not being gracious, I think you have to stop to think about being gracious yourself. It's time to put one table you didn't like to bed. It's getting old and (think about it!) nasty.

The letter was addressed to Mr.and Mrs.Roberts, and then later included their son for another visit.Dad wasnt shunned at all...

You have to admit i bet you did that blog in hopes that you would get a free meal. A lot of people do that in NYC. Now you can go back for free and write something nice about them.

Oh boo hoo....

Now what makes you think that people who think they deserve only THE BEST tables, and who publish lists of all the look-at-me places they've been, and who stop people they don't even know to demand that they have their pictures taken with them, and who call ahead to say an important food writer will be having dinner expect to get (or wangle) free meals?

Call ahead to say an important food writer will be having dinner?! I've never done that! Though once when I was 16 I a called a crisis hotline and told them I accidentally chopped my sister's hand off. It was on speaker phone in front of a room full of friends. They were cracking up but I always felt guilty about it.

But your mom did as you well know and wrote about.

She did? Once we went to Bobby Flay's restaurant and he was there and she told the hostess a famous food blogger was eating there, but that was more a silly thing, not a regular thing. It didn't get us a free meal. He came over to our table and posed for a picture. So what? I didn't write my Le Cirque review hoping for a free meal at all; I just genuinely didn't like it. If I didn't have a food blog and someone just asked me what I thought of Le Cirque, I would've said everything I said in my post. I'm surprised that people feel so strongly about all this---it's not like I took down a beloved small time restaurant that's known for its generosity and fun-loving spirit. I had a very strong reaction to my meal there--the table and the treatment were all peripheral--it was the place itself, and the way I felt eating there, that really turned me off. If this upsets you or you don't agree with it, I think that's totally fair. But personal attacks that don't address my initial post on the merits are lame and doubly so when written anonymously. It makes me understand why the big time bloggers don't allow comments.

I think you should reward someone for doing the right thing no matter how misguided their motivations may be. Maybe that is how one learns and fixes their business and behaviours long-term.

Ignore all the nasty grumblers, Adam. Your initial review was fair and thorough and your continuing reservations are more than deserved given that restaurant's history and Mario's behavior on your blog.

It's Adam's blog, people. He can post whatever he wants, in any manner he wants. If you don't like it, stop reading it.

Didn't he say that he thought the letter was a "very kind gesture" and that he admired Sirio's professionalism in sending it? It seems to me that he DID acknowledge that Sirio did the right thing.

I find that creepy, actually, with a faint whiff of stalker thrown in!

Who the hell cares?

Around our house we call that place Le Jerk...for obvious reasons.

I would never waste my money on a meal there-- and to get judged, too? Too many good meals to eat and too little time for that much 'tude....

The letter seems like too little, too late...

Dude, Go!
It's a free fancy meal, you get to compare it to your former meal, make your own conclusions about what the higher level of treatment will bring you, and you also get to be nice and give someone a second chance. In the spirit of the new year, accept an apology, no matter how lame. (That's what my mom tells me around this time.)

This article is very interesting and so timely considering this hoity toity restaurant discussion.
The Counter As Alter



Try to go on a weeknight so they won't be so busy.

I'm going to say the same thing I said here:

You acted like rubes, you got a poor table and good service and you whined about it. That's nice.

That and your post reeked with confirmation bias.

The secret to any place like LC is to act like you've been there before. Instead of acting like an "amateur."

kudos to Siro for going out of his way despite an utterly unfair review.

(Btw, it's true enough that the food isn't that good...but that's hardly the point of the place.)

hey :)
its very reasonable point of view.
Nice post.
realy good post

thank you ;)

The fact that he attempted to give specific reasons for your family's "bad" table and the fact that he couldn't chat is lame. It is also beyond awkward that he refers to complaints from your blog post without being forthright enough in the letter to clearly refer to it.

Sign Up for the Amateur Gourmet Email Newsletter:

Follow Me: