A classy dish on HBO

The Baltimore Sun

Give HBO four stars for its classy, spicy and very satisfying documentary about the once legendary New York eatery, Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven.

The filmmakers have structured it as an operatic drama with a capital D. Viewers follow the four-star French restaurant as it flourishes in the 1970s and '80s under owner Sirio Maccioni - up through its closing in 2004, and reopening two years later.

Watch as the owner, his wife and three sons engage in family combat worthy of Wagner as they struggle to find a new style for a new century. Trying to settle on a dress code all but tears the family apart. And we haven't even gotten to the menu.

No less than Henry Kissinger has advice for Maccioni on the best, new midtown site. No less than a Roman Catholic cardinal comes to bless the reopened restaurant - twice.

Tiny gems like A Table in Heaven - it only runs about an hour and 15 minutes - play a huge role in giving HBO its celebrated patina as a cable network. It has not been heavily promoted, but this documentary is good enough to play in a theater - and here it is, the small and perfect gift you maybe didn't get this holiday season. You deserve. Enjoy. (8 p.m., HBO) ****

Late-night guests Singer Al Green visits Conan O'Brien. Musician Ray Davies appears with Craig Ferguson.

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