For Birthday Dinner Part 2, the Boyfriend’s parents decided to take me to L’ecole, the restaurant where the students of The International Culinary Center’s culinary arts program practice their craft. L’ecole offers two prix fixe menus at $39.50 every night. Before 7pm, you can choose between the Chef’s Menu and the Student’s Menu but after 7pm, you only get the Student’s Menu. There isn’t that big of a difference between the two – just a couple of dish differences.
We arrived at 8pm for our 8:15pm reservation so they ushered us towards the bar. Our table was ready but they didn’t want to seat us until the exact time, which I thought was a bit rude. I ordered a cocktail at the crowded bar – it’s rather tiny. I opted for the “Berried Treasure”, which features blackberries and grapes. I thought it was rather good – not too strong.
After we sat down at our table, we were offered still water or complimentary sparkling water. They carbonate their own water on site so it wasn’t anything special. Our water came back periodically throughout the night to replace our water bottle and refill our water glasses.
They give you the option of having their handmade pasta of the day as an appetizer so that’s the one I went with. Their pasta of the day was a Carbonara with linguine. The linguine was cooked perfectly al dente. The cream was just perfect and there was enough porchetta to make the dish just a little bit salty. I was quite satisfied with my appetizer.
The boyfriend ordered the Oxtail Spring Roll, which comes with winter cabbage slaw and is topped with a port wine reduction. The oxtail spring roll was delicious. The skin of the spring roll was thin and crispy. The oxtail itself was tender and flavorful. My only complaint was the winter cabbage slaw – too much slaw and not enough spring roll to eat together.
For my entrée, I decided to go for the Crispy Poussin, which is a $7.00 supplement to the prix fixe price. Poussin is basically a young chicken that’s cooked at about 28 days old. I could definitely tell that it was a young chicken because it had a tiny drumstick. The chicken was quite tender but it was a little bit too salty. The string beans and potato mousseline that accompanied the poussin was amazing. The potato was super smooth and buttery. The string beans were cooked just the way I like them – soft and easy to chew.
For dessert, I ordered the Pumpkin Soufflé with Eggnog Sauce. The soufflé was delicious. There was a strong pumpkin flavor but nothing too overpowering. The eggnog sauce, however, was the star of the dish. The eggnog wasn’t too strong and even the boyfriend, who hates eggnog, said it was very good.
I also tried the Flourless Banana cake and the Caramelized Chocolate Pear Cake. Both were quite good but definitely not as good as the pumpkin soufflé in my opinion. The flourless banana cake has a peanut butter cream on the side, which I didn’t really like. The cake itself was quite good. The chocolate pear cake had a warm pear inside the cake, which I thought was nice. It came with a tiny scoop of bourbon ice cream, which had a nice alcohol flavor but nothing too much.
Our entire dinner took about two hours, which I thought was a bit too long for a three-course meal. I’m all for having time for conversation during dinner but when you’re sitting there with no food for an extended period of time, it’s not so fun anymore. There is only so much bread one can eat in between courses. Food arrival was slow but the service was attentive. Overall it was a pretty good dinner. I think I’d like to come back for the Chef’s Menu but probably not in the near future.
Quick Tip: Make sure you make reservations a few weeks in advance if you want a table during prime eating hours.