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L'ECOLE: BRUTALLY HONEST QUESTION

k
kernel Feb 28, 2010 02:27 PM

We live in the Sheepshead area of Brooklyn and we are steady customers at a local diner. Sometimes we'll go to the kosher deli or for Turkish or Chinese food. Our 32nd anniversary will soon be upon us and a good friend suggested we splurge and go to a favorite of his- L'Ecole. I am ready to splurge but I want to know if for the amount we'll be spending-food + glasses of house wine could be better spent elsewhere. Open to any cuisines. Thanks!

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    simetrias Feb 28, 2010 02:41 PM

    Well, you have to define "splurge." L'Ecole is a fine restaurant, and the dinner is prix fixe (it was $35 last I looked) and is certainly a good deal. I don't know if it's worth coming in from Sheepshead Bay for. But the really "splurgey" places will cost you at least twice as much.

    -----
    L'Ecole
    462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013

    2 Replies
    1. re: simetrias
      k
      kernel Feb 28, 2010 03:00 PM

      Dinner is $42 pp and this is what I'd be able to spend

      1. re: kernel
        CantStopEating Feb 28, 2010 03:05 PM

        I think L'Ecole is a good value for what you pay. I've also found the service to be really good. They're definitely looking to please and impress.

        www.inbundles.com

    2. p
      Pookipichu Feb 28, 2010 04:26 PM

      L'Ecole is a fantastic value. The food (including their great bread and desserts) is excellent, as is the service. The experience is welcoming and unpretentious There really are no drawbacks, and depending on which day you go, there is a chef's special of the day which is $35.

      There is probably no better value for the combination of ambiance, food and service. If not for the wealth of great cuisine in NYC, I would eat at L'Ecole more often. I had an amazing fresh uni and seared scallop dish there that was simply fantastic. It was paired with a coconut, lemongrass and basil cocktail (mine was virgin).

      -----
      L'Ecole
      462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pookipichu
        penthouse pup Feb 28, 2010 04:39 PM

        Please be aware that there are variables: the staff are literally students, as are (I believe), the people cooking. The food and service may be excellent...or...well... someone serving or cooking doesn't get an "A." If you keep that in mind, you'll have a good time. Just remember, these are people trying their best to become professionals in the food/service industry, and not every chef or server is able to do their jobs equally well.

        1. re: penthouse pup
          E Eto Mar 1, 2010 06:44 AM

          I don't know this for a fact, but if you go there early, the instructors are the ones who do the cooking. Later in the evening, the students are on the line. This might explain why you get an extra course in the later hours, to make up for any inconsistencies. I've had good enough experiences at L'Ecole. Even got a table visit from Jacques Pepin, who instructs there.

      2. g
        gutsofsteel Mar 1, 2010 05:54 AM

        The problem with L'Ecole is that it's extremely inconsistent. Remember that it's staffed by students and the turnover is frequent. Sometimes it's terrific, sometimes it's mediocre. For a special occasion like this I would choose something more reliable.

        Why not consider Al Di La in Park Slope?

        1. ChefJune Mar 1, 2010 10:00 AM

          I wonder how many of the criticisms of L'Ecole are from folks who have actually dined there? The restaurant is staffed by students who are doing their internship. They are near to graduation. And the Exec Chef, who oversees all the kitchen goings on is one of the professors. The professors are all veteran chefs of world famous kitchens.

          I've dined there many times, and have never been disappointed in either the food or the service. I think it's a terrific value. That said, however, I'm not sure I would call it a "romantic" restaurant, if that's what the OP is looking for.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune
            kukubura Mar 1, 2010 10:11 AM

            We ate there once (for my birthday) probably 8 years ago, so certainly everyone who was interning there then is long gone, but I have very fond memories of it. At the very least on that night it was well worth it.

            1. re: ChefJune
              u
              uwsister Mar 1, 2010 12:55 PM

              Had a disappointing brunch there (hollandaise tasted off, among other small things) and haven't been back since, may try again for dinner since the value is great IF the food is ON. I think it's worth a try, though I don't know if it's appropriate for this occasion.

              OP, so $40 plus tip, tax, and beverage?

            2. teresa Mar 1, 2010 10:15 AM

              I've been to L'Ecole and the food was very good. However, it took about 3 hours to have the meal. The service was pretty slow. I'm not sure it'd be a place I'd go on a birthday.

              1 Reply
              1. re: teresa
                l
                laughlynne Mar 1, 2010 02:02 PM

                I went only once, and had a wonderful experience. For the price (which isn't too bad of a splurge, considering it will get you just an app and entree at many other places), it's a five course meal, which they stretch out over a couple of hours- it really feels luxurious, especially with the amuse bouches and all. Of the tencourses that my boyfriend and I each had (five each), only two were inferior.

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