If you don’t believe it possible that any single establishment could embody the look, attitude, andÂ (un)consciousness of an era, look no further than Le Cirque. In the go-go 1980’s Sirio Maccioni’s restaurant at the Mayfair Hotel wasÂ where the elite came to meet and eat. On any given evening you might find the Nancy’s (Reagan, Sinatra, and Kissinger, if you have to ask) cheek by jowl on a red leather banquette alongside European royalty, assorted movie stars, Jackie O, and an editor or two from Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair furiously scribbling it all down. It wasn’t, however, solely about the intermingling of the power elite – it was also about the food.Â David Bouley, Terrance Brennan, Jacques Torres, Sottha Khun, Bill Telepan, and Geoffrey Zakarian all spent quality time in the kitchen at Le Cirque. And itÂ shouldÂ be remembered that underÂ Daniel BouludÂ the restaurant ascended to four-star status, repeatedlyÂ regaled by the New York Times. Few people would argue that asÂ theÂ 20th century drew to an optimistic close Le Cirque epitomizedÂ not onlyÂ everything a restaurant should be but also everything a city could be.Â Today – despite the bonfire ofÂ manyÂ an interim vanity – much of what made it great remains. For one there’s the impeccable white-jacketed service fronted by the most hospitable hosts in town. You are welcomed like an old friend – more to the point, an important friend – into one of the more elegant dining rooms in the city. The ceilings mightÂ soar double or triple-height but the mood is nevertheless cozy and intimÃ©e at a banquette overlooking the room. Le Cirque may have lost some of its buzzworthiness and fallen out of favor with the Page Six set but the air remains rarefied. IfÂ anything, the diminished spotlight only serves to focus the attention squarely where it belongs: on the food, which I’m happy to say succeeds from the first amuse to the final petit four. In between, aÂ half-dozen meaty Blue Point oysters on the half shell are causeÂ for celebration. So, too, a restrained rectangle of foie gras with quince jelly. The fish is impeccable: both turbot a la plancha atop olive oil crushed potatoes and john dory in a rich bouillabaisseÂ broth make for satisfying main courses. And I dare you to find a desert to trump the ethereal Floating Island. UnderÂ theÂ toque of Executive Chef Olivier Reginensi there remains a handful of oldies but goodies like lobster risotto, diver scallops with black truffle in puff pastry, baked Alaska and Chateaubriand for two, but for the most part Le Cirque has gracefully found its feet in the 21st century,Â moving beyond thoseÂ flashy holdovers from another era – society swans included.