French >L'Ecole, The Restaurant of The International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, New York, NY | Directions 1001340.721019 -74.000507
Mon-Fri 12:30pm-2pm, 5:30pm-9pm
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Chinatown
When our guests look at our menu, they marvel at the bounty and creativity of its items. But what they find even more amazing is each delicious dish is being prepared by some of tomorrow's most-promising chefs: our own students.
During the last two levels of our Culinary Arts Program, students cook for restaurant patrons under the supervision of our chef-instructors. The seasonal menu changes every six weeks, as classes advance to the next level, and are designed to ensure that students use the core techniques they've learned at The French Culinary Institute. The cuisine is contemporary French, rooted in the basics and spiced with other ethnic influences.
Sad, Disappointing Experience – After an enjoyable lunch we booked our son's 21st birthday 1 month in advance (per their reservation guidelines) in the separate private dining room. Being polite we called to say that we were running 20 minutes for the second and last seating. We were assured that our room would not be given away. Upon arrival with a 96 year old great grandmother and 2 grandmothers in their 80s we were greeted with "oh there were some really nice visitors from the UK who really wanted that table and we figured you wouldn't mind" Mind?
That's why I called at 9:01 AM 30 days in advance. Restaurant was messy, carpets dirty, extremely noisy, food plentiful but mediocre and then the staff harangued my husband on the way out for the small tip which we explained in a notation. I responded that they ruined my son's once in a lifetime 21st birthday (how I regret not going to 21) and that they should get their big tip from the party that got the table that we reserved a month in advance who were
still there when we departed. Ugh, Ugh triple ugh; so many terrific restaurants in NYC; this is not one of them and it isn't inexpensive either.
Service was top notch – We were very impressed with the Restaurant Week menu. There was so much to choose from. I had the warm asparagus salad with soft boiled egg and pancetta crumbs (I wish I had more bread to soak up the yoke!), grilled hanger steak with vidalia onion rings and creamed corn (more like soup, we needed spoons to eat it), and fresh strawberry tart and creme fraiche ice cream (which nearly melted away by the time I got it).
My friend had the seasonal salad with watermelon radishes, shimeji mushrooms, pickled cherry tomatoes with sherry shallot vinaigrette, hanger steak, and green tea opera cake with red currant sorbet (the cake was a small sliver and was too dry).
The portions weren't large but we were satiated. Excellent service.
Many times was nice, once not – Well prepared, not expensive, good taste.
Went back 3rd time in december 2010 and nothig were right. Every dish had own problem. Probably new group of students. Way to much salt, too much dripping in oil-fat, way to much sharp dressing, pinenuts were tasting old. Even wine not good. Could not eat anything. Room manager was considering.
A brunch that did not live up to expectations – My highly anticipated brunch experience at L’ecole was underwhelming, to my disappointment. I had high hopes for the establishment, although it must be noted that the $19.50 2-course prix fixe brunch menu is not part of The French Culinary Institute’s curriculum. Students volunteer their time and work under the supervision of professional chefs.
The course started off with the bread basket; an assortment of delicious and freshly baked muffins, gourmet pastries and crackers. I could eat these all day! The bloody Mary was one of the best I’d ever had – fresh and with excellent presentation! However, it was the food that disappointed:
For appetizers, the Steak Tartar with quail egg didn’t taste very fresh and had a darker red color to it. The Cumin Roasted Butternut Squash and Almond Soup was tasty but a little too creamy and heavy. The Butter Poached Shrimp was the biggest disappointment – it was cold and a little ‘hardened’ for my taste. For entrees, my dining companions had the Croque Madame and the L’Ecole Burger, which were pretty good but the flavorful Duck Confit was probably the best dish for lunch, although no better than the duck at Balthazar. After a slew of yummy brunch cocktails such as the Ruby Blossom and Easy like Sunday Mimosa, we had no room for dessert.
Overall, brunch was just mediocre although we enjoyed sitting at the bar and chatting up the friendly bartender. I would give it a second chance and come back for the 5-course dinner that is prepared by FCI’s students.
Great food at a great price – Darn. I thought I'd found a secret but there are already more than 50 reviews. Without repeating all the nice -- and true -- things that have been written about the food, let me praise this place for something else.
I had an 8:30 reservation on a Saturday night and walked in to find no table ready for 20 minutes. This happens at a lot of restaurants, and most of them act like my time is no big deal. L'Ecole, on the other hand, comped my party to a round of drinks after just 10 minutes.
By the time we were ready to order at about 9:15, the kitchen was already out of two things we had wanted. Again, this is pretty common when dining late, but L'Ecole went the extra step to make amends by comping us another round of drinks.
I realize that running a restaurant is a very complex task, but too many restaurants make no effort to compensate customers for their inevitable mistakes. I was delighted to find one that did, and did so cheerfully.
Precision dining – It was cold and snowy when L'Ecole became our oasis for friendliness and warmth. The hostess seated us swiftly without circumstance followed by the waitress for our drink orders and to describe the specials. Our organization, Math for America, was particularly keen to hold our holiday luncheon at the French Culinary Institute because of the stellar reputation for quality food and to observe students who are being trained by the best. We believe that to teach math you must know math so we wanted to see a parallel culinary world in action. We were not disappointed and found the waitress friendly and knowledgeable while the food, especially the roasted octopus and smoked salmon, delectable. For entrees,the monkfish, striped bass and braised ribs were excellent. The cost, quality and experience for NYC dining is unrivaled. On a snowy day, or a sunny one, we will count on L' Ecole being our fine dining oasis in Manhattan.
perfect french cuisine – this place knows what's important - the focus is on the food. simple but perfect french food. food was delicious.i had the tomato goat cheese and the crusted lamb chops with ratatouille. this is a great place to bring the parents to but it's cheap enough that it can also be a more regular part of your diet.
FANTASTIC.. – FANTASTIC.
It's tucked away and not screaming for attention (but still busy as can be, so you know they must be doing something right).
It's casual and unpretentious, but very still very classy and oh-so-French.
It's delicious. The food was so well-prepared, with flavors that were not too heavy or overdone.
The portions were just about the right size.
Our servers was perfect and did their job flawlessly with great timing.
I sometimes hesitate to give 5 stars based on just one-time experiences, but the fact that I cannot wait to go back for more says enough for me.
Useless. Spend the extra money and go anywhere else! – We went here with a group of 5 after a special event here, and had heard the price for a 5-course dinner was really good. I must say, the menu was nice enough, and the manager was really friendly when we arrived, and had wonderful ideas for complimentary wines.
However, after the experience I have two words: BUMBLING MESS! One of the meat courses was SUPPOSED to be medium-rare, and came out completely cooked through: well done. Even a child can cook a steak - it's not difficult. Another was supposed to be medium, came out well done. All the main plates were cleaned, the undercooked steak was left untouched and obvious on the table, and noone serviced the table for an HOUR. Honestly, noone said the waiters were useless amateurs - I thought it was a culinary school. They should think to hire useful waiting staff. The manager then came with a ridiculous apology and said they could replace it - but this was 1/2 an hour after the plates were taken; one hour after they arrived. Useless.
The food they actually managed to get right was average, but I understand that they're students. I understand you cannot expect Jamie Oliver at such a place, but the culinary school in my home city has x10 better food, and my boss often takes important clients there for work dinners. So it can be done.
Also, the service throughout the night was exceptionally slow. Not liked a packed diner slow - ignored slow. The meat course took over an hour to arrive after the fish. Not happy. And no apologies, no "we'll be right with you". Just ignored.
So after our ridiculous, wasted experience, with no useful solution offered by staff there, I say spend the extra $50 and go somewhere nice. It really isn't worth bothering here - the $42 can even be much better spent in McDonalds.
Good! – I ate dinner here and somehow didn't leave very full after 3 courses. I guess they serve French instead of American portions. I started with the bay scallop ceviche with caviar (deliciously salty). Then I ordered the Hanger Steak With Red Wine. The steak was soooooooo gooooood. something in that sauce was addicting. For dessert I had the passion fruit baked alaska wasn't so good. boohoo.
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