Rude: The new approach to customer service at Le Cirque


I was invited to a Canadian special event at Le Cirque (151 East 58th Street, NYC) and really wanted to go. The restaurant opened last year, and I had still not been inside since it is an expense account watering hole with price-fixed dinners starting at $98.00 per person. Le Cirque continues to be among the more desirable dining/drinking spots in Manhattan even though New York Magazine gave the restaurant (in its current location) a mixed review.

Rudeness Trumps
Mostly I was disappointed! The space blocked off for the special event – was small and bow-shaped, making it almost impossible to “work the room.” While booze was plentiful, the hors d’oeuvres’ were tiny and any hint of taste or flavor was an after-thought.

An even larger negative was the hostility of the personnel, from the wait-staff servicing the party to the managers. One supervisor tossed me into a group of drinkers at the bar because he was in a hurry, and I was walking too slowly, and Mario, another manager, threw me against a pile of garments in the coat room. He too was in a rush and could not take the moment to ask me to step aside. After all, I was “just a guest” and he was a “manager.” What a gentleman he was; push the woman out of the way and get on with it!

Toilet Shortage
The worst part of the evening, however, was the staffs’ total disregard for the disabled. There are very few toilets at Le Cirque, and they are used interchangeably by the girls and boys. It is the job of the “toilet manager” to designate the appropriate toilet as guests form a “pee-queue.”
Finally, I was next online and eagerly looked forward to getting my assignment. I was terribly disappointed when directed to the WC for disabled guests. “Take it or leave it,” said the “toilet manager.”

A 20-something behind me – with the moral compass of a slug – quickly seized the moment, brushed me aside – and ran for the restroom! “If you don’t want it – get out of my way..I’ll take it.”

S and M
Le Cirque may be a hub for people who don’t know that the country is in a depression – and feel privileged to be pushed and shoved and otherwise abused by the staff…maybe they have a secret wish for a public display of sadomasochism…for me this was a once and only visit.