Last night Hubby Tony and I went to the Presentation Room Restaurant at L’École Culinaire, a local culinary school.
The school has been around for almost a decade, but we'd never been there before. A couple of weeks ago I saw a Groupon for the restaurant and quickly snagged it. The food at The Presentation Room is prepared by almost-ready-to-graduate students under the guidance of professional chefs. I was excited to think we'd not only be helping to further their education, but we'd get a good meal out of it too!
During the week the restaurant is reservation-only. When Hubby Tony called they suggested we wear business casual dress. It's been a long time since I've gotten dressed up to go out to dinner on a weeknight, but it added to the fun. We got there early and had to wait five minutes to be seated. The Presentation Room is very small, with about ten tables situated at the end of a long room. There was a 'bar' station (with a small selection of beers and wines) at the other end next to the door to the kitchen area. Our waitress brought us water and asked if we were ready to order.
There were about a dozen small plates available. Our Groupon allowed us to choose four, and we picked chicken empanadas, flat iron steak encrusted with mushrooms on a bed of mashed potatoes, salmon with a teriyaki-type sauce and roasted fingerling potato chunks, and asparagus in a vineigrette with red and yellow tomatoes and feta cheese.
Like other small plate restaurants I've been to, at this one the plates came out one at a time. "Small" was a misnomer; each portion was enough to share. I was so hungry I didn't think to take any pictures, but the food was beautifully presented. Tony found the steak too rare for his taste, and sent back his portion. When the plate came out again there held a fresh piece of meat cooked to the exact same degree of doneness, but he decided to eat it anyway. Everything else was perfect.
Service was just acceptable (we didn't get our water glasses refilled until the last plate had been taken away), but we realized we were dealing with students. What they lacked in professionalism they made up for in friendliness There was no desserts listed on the menu; when we inquired the waitress went back to the kitchen to see what they had. Based on the available choices we decided to pass.
Settling our bill was much harder than it usually is when we use Groupons. The waitress was completely unfamiliar with the process and referred us to the front desk clerk, who insisted she needed to have a paper coupon instead of the phone app I always use. Finally the chef (who I'm guessing was an instructor) came out and showed both of them how to do it.
Five years ago today: New Thing #281--Swab The Deck