Dining with Sirio Maccioni
Long one of Manhattan’s most celebrated restaurateurs, Sirio Maccioni has wined and dined high society in New York for nearly half a century. In March of 1974, Maccioni opened Le Cirque in the Mayfair hotel. The first privately owned hotel restaurant in the city, it quickly became the hub of café society in New York.
In 1998 he opened Circo and Le Cirque in Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel. Then In 2009 Maccioni, along with his sons, opened their third Las Vegas restaurant, Sirio Ristorante at the city’s Aria Resort and Casino.
No stranger to accolades, Maccioni has received numerous honors including the coveted James Beard “Restaurant of the Year” award, the Impresario dell’ Anno (Entrepreneur of the Year) award at Affreschi Toscani, a festival in Tuscany, and being selected Father of the Year in 2002 by the National Father’s Day Committee.
We couldn’t pass up an invite to dine with Maccioni at Sirio, and when we sat down at our table, a few feet away, sitting in a chair poised like a king on his throne, there he was: the man, the legend, Sirio Maccioni, waiting with a smile and an outstretched hand of greeting. Sitting at the Chef’s Table overlooking the pristine kitchen, we began a culinary expedition of epic proportions.
After opening a lovely bottle of GAJA we began with our appetizer, carpaccio di manzo. This traditional tasty dish of thinly sliced raw beef, lemon oil dressing, fried capers and a shaving of Parmesan cheese was the perfect way to start. The suggested Vermintino, Rocca Di Frasselino, Sirio, Tuscany 2011 was a nice touch , picking up on the richness of the dish. Seeing a squash soup, we just had to indulge as we listened intently to Siro recount his culinary pedigree from hotel training programs in Paris and Hamburg, apprenticeships in Montecatini and Paris and a variety of positions at hotels and restaurants in Italy, France and Germany.
A bottle of Rosso, Rocca Di Frassinello, Sirio, Tuscany 2009 signaled the beginning of yet another delight from the kitchen. Of course, being at Sirio, our treat of pici Toscani al ragu di carni was a must. This mouthwatering hand rolled spaghetti with three meats ragu was a gastronomic delight.
Sirio kept us entertained with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor as carre d’agnello arrived at our table. A succulent roasted rack of lamb with creamy potato fennel gratin and garden vegetables was a perfect example of why Sirio and his world class restaurants have been at the top of their game for decades. The exemplary Chianti Classico, Castellare ,Tuscany 2011 married with the layers of flavors of the dish that will soon not be forgotten.
Gastronomically satisfied by signature dishes, classic wines and a renowned host, we settled back a little as Sirio engaged us in a lively conversation. When asked about retiring, he smiled, leaned back in his chair and said, “Me, retire? I am too busy to retire,” and we could not have been happier to hear that. Sirio has always been hands-on and has no plans to stop. He still has fiery passion even after all these years.
Our experience would not be complete without a panna cotta tricolore and house made Berry Cello 2013. Enjoying a cappuccino as Sirio singed his namesake book Sirio Maccioni made the evening one we will remember for a very long time.