L’Ecole’s kitchen and dining room have been a premier culinary training ground since 1984 for French Culinary Institute students. Cooks in training, under the watchful eye of top chefs turned academics whip up five-course prix fixe dinners for only $42 between 8 to 9pm.
Your plate is their homework as these cooks in training craft French standards like bouillabaise, sweet breads, escargots with herb butter or panfried cod with yellow tomato coulis. You’ll also have your pick of more contemporary fare like seared bluefin tuna with ginger and coriander in a pepper crust. Best of all, L’Ecole offers the thrill of sampling a future master’s work. Eating here also means you are an integral part of their education. Chances are you’ll feel extra gratuitous since the students are hard at work in the kitchen. If so, give them some feedback on the “report card” provided at the end of the meal.
I find that asking for some expert pairing advice from their 21-page wine list will also put their budding skills to the test in a good way. Here is my favorite line up:
Appetizer: Chorizo Stuffed Calamari with Parsley Sauce
Fish Course: Arctic Char, Salmon and Scallops with Clam Consommé, Potato Terrine
Meat Course: Pan-Seared Venison with White Bean Ragout, Bacon, Caramelized Apples and Lemon Ginger Jus
Light Digestive Salad
Dessert: Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart with Coffee Ice Cream
Located at 462 Broadway (at Grand St) Subway: J, M, Z, N, Q, R, W, 6 to Canal St
photo courtesy of French Culinary Institute