The bright blue circus ring is hung with gold stars; sculptures of monkeys swing near the striped pole; a clown peeps down from over the kitchen door; and a trapeze sails above the bar - Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls of All Ages, Osteria Del Circo (Circus Tavern) has opened in Manhattan and the atmosphere is electric!
This sophisticated big top is the creation of restaurateur, Sirio Maccioni, proprietor of Le Cirque; his wife Egidiana, who is the supervising chef; and their sons Mario, Marco, and Mauro, who are the ringmasters, hosts, and owners of Circo.
Designed by Adam Tihany to be as exciting as a European carnival tent, the colorful decor of Circo (pronounced "Cheer-co") is innovative, whimsical, and vibrant. But, unlike a circus tent, the restaurant is comfortable; the fabrics luxurious, and the custom-designed Italian chairs deep and seductive.
Yet walk through the door.of this inviting room and you will know immediately, that no matter how playful the decor, the menu is decidedly serious. Draw a deep breath and the intoxicating fragrance of fresh herbs, roasting meat, and robust sauces immediately whets your appetite. Then sit down in one of those comfortable chairs and have a plate of flash seared beef carpaccio with an aromatic herb crust, aruguia salad in "Limoncella" dressing and shaved parmigiano. Or, grilled rare yellow fin tuna with cannellini beans, sweet red onions and basil-infused extra virgin olive oil. Or, maybe gnocchi di patate with shrimp and black truffle ragu and oven roasted tomatoes. Or, how about Fiorentina sliced T-bone steak served with cannelini beans; seasonal mushrooms and oven baked tomatoes?
Such dishes,a blend of Mrs. Maccioni's traditional home cooking and an array of superb ingredients, are prepared with consummate skill by Chef de Cuisine Alessandro Giuntoli and suggest the sumptuous feast Osteria del Circo,will bring.to the table.
Combine such food with the Maccioni charm - "We will continue with Papa Sirio's heritage of hospitality", says Mauro Mario, and Marco -- and you have a restaurant that promises to be exceptional.