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Mar 11, 2008 04:06 PM

French Culinary Institute

Looking for prefix lunch in April. Been to Perry Street and Jo Jo. Also considering David Burke and Donnatella. Any thoughts on the cu?linary school ? Any other suggestions appreciated.

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  1. I had lunch at L'Ecole once and it was great. I cannot remember exactly what my first 2 courses were--I want to say it was some sort of salad and an omelette--but I'll never forget the dessert--a chocolate and coconut tart. I saw God after just one bite. (After 2 bites, I BECAME God.)

    1. Wouldn't recommend it. I went for dinner and thought service was awful and food was really mediocre. I'd go to Fleur de Sel, Bouley, or Jean Georges instead. Others I've wanted to try for lunch are Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lucia

        I second Lucia. L'Ecole's service was terrible and the food was nothing I'd go back for. They must have been teaching the students about citrus that day, since all six dishes that my friend and I ate had dominant citrus notes. Not that there's anything wrong with citrus, but the meal as a whole was uninventive.

      2. I've been there twice for dinner and both times everything was impeccable. Seeing all the bad reviews on Chow makes me wonder if they drugged me.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nokitsch

          Because it's part of a learning institution, experiences are going to vary. I've had some very good meals and some terrible ones (food and service). I was thinking of booking the place for my wedding at one point (because Lee Anne Wong would give a cooking demonstration for an extra fee and the fees were really reasonable). However, after a bad dinner I realized that I couldn't chance it on something like a wedding.

          If you're looking for a bargain, l'Ecole definitely fits the bill. However, you have to go into it realizing that it's a crapshoot.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Maybe this is on the L'Ecole website, but I understand that if you eat dinner before, I think, 7pm, the instructors are cooking the food, then after that, the students are cooking. This could explain why you get an extra course after 7pm. It could also explain some of the variability you experienced.

            1. re: E Eto

              Actually, at lunch time its 100% student-cooked; the earlier dinner menu is cooked by a professional staff (not the same as the instructors) that is there every night; the later dinner menu is by the students. I think this is a result of the prep time, since night classes don't start till 5:45pm. I could imagine that the lunch might be better/more consistent since there's more prep time till service (morning class starts at 9am)