Quality food and friendly, eager service is guaranteed in the kitchen at the International Culinary Center. The charm lies in knowing the students themselves are cooking for you, but the 3-course Prix Fixe at $44 makes it a steal in the city.
L'Ecole will always be a safe bet for a meal, yet it is not a meal that will satisfy the epicure in many. It's quickly apparent that passing or failing here comes from the adequate execution of a dish, and not necessarily in the development of a surprising and innovative palette.
Many dishes come across perfunctory and formulaic, particularly the Asparagus Custard which seems to have dominated the plates of many this past summer. While the dish is presented with elegance and structure, the off-putting creaminess of the custard dramatically overpowers any attempt at texture with the too few asparagus tips and soggy salad-brand croutons. It's a dish that seems like a good idea on paper, but loses the feel of passion and expertise in its attempt to execute trickier techniques.
There is promise in the fact that the menu and the chefs change seasonally with many weekly specials. The Grilled Halibut with béarnaise sauce, charred onions, and roasted fingerling potatoes in a creamy lemon vinaigrette is almost perfectly prepared, though the dish lacks a certain inspiration at the end of the last bite. But for the price and overall quality, L'Ecole is certainly an intriguing and enjoyable dinner destination with an eternal sweetness brought to the diner, knowing they're helping to educate a collection of students who may one day open a far better restaurant.