NYC, NY 10013
L’Ecole is a student-run restaurant located at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. This restaurant offers fine dining at a reduced price and is a great way for people on a limited budget to experience fine dining. What I liked most about this restaurant is that you are participating in the education of a culinary student by eating there. While diners sit out front in the dining room, there are students out back in the kitchen, gaining valuable experience while working as part of a kitchen brigade.
I ordered the Prix Fixe lunch, which included 3 courses: an appetizer, a main course, and a desert. This was reasonably priced at $28. For my first course I ordered the escargot with Asian pear, gruyere cream and a red-wine bacon reduction. I was a little hesitant to order this because I had never eaten escargot before. Boy was I in for a treat!
This dish was served very simply and the escargot were cooked perfectly. They were tender to the bite and the sauce complimented the flavor of the escargot nicely. This was my favorite dish of the entire meal and I would order this again. Yum!
As a surprise my waiter also brought me a second appetizer, the Country pate with fois gras and truffles. I had been slighltly fixated on this dish because I had never eaten truffles (other than truffle oil) or fois gras before. What a thrill when it showed up at the table.
This dish appealed to the country girl in me and the best way I can sum it up, is to describe this as “Spam” for classy folks. This dish was also good, but it was served cold and for some reason I had it in my head that this would be a dish served slightly warm. It was still good nonetheless.
At some point a server approached my table and presented me with a little goodie, a puff topped with cranberry goat cheese and a thin slice of chive. Yum!!! Oh and let’s not forget the sliced baguette with butter!
Next up was the main course. I opted for the pan-seared rabbit loin, rabbit-chorizo terrine, and potato-fennel cakes. The rabbit loin was tender and the terrine was wrapped in bacon. Really, can you ever go wrong with bacon? I don’t think so. I ate most of this dish,but honestly I was really starting to get full and I still had desert to tackle.
For desert I ordered the pumpkin souffle with eggnog sauce. Boy was I surprised when the waiter showed up at the table with the entire desert menu for me to try. He brought the pumpkin souffle, chocolate coconut cake, and a lovely little muffin with a handmade brittle and jam. Really everything was to-die-for, but the pumkin souffle has a special place in my heart and is something I may try to recreate in my own kitchen for the holiday.
This was hands down, the best meal I had during my trip to NYC and not just because my 3-course meal, turned into a nearly 10-course meal. It also had nothing to do with the fact that after the meal my waiter let me know the entire meal was “on the house”.
For me, this meal was the best because it was memorable. My mouth still waters when I think about the texture of the escargot and the way each bite of the pumpkin souffle set off this fabulous holiday party inside my mouth. Every meal should be memorable like this one. L’Ecole will definitely be a regular stop for me whenever I am in the city. The food was affordable, flavorful, and prepared by people who are passionate about food. I will carry this meal with me for many years to come. Check this place out!