Last night I had the opportunity to try LEcole for the very first time. My dining companion and I opted for the four course Prix- Fixe, a table by the window and were in for a real treat.
I ordered a bottle of Gruner Veltliner that was full of flavor, brilliant aromas and very satisfying.
We started with the Country Pate and the Warm Sausage and Herbed Potato Salad. The Pate was wonderfully fresh and rich, made with Foie Gras, Truffles and Pistachios. Several cornichons and a mixture of finely sliced apple and endive accompanied the Pate. Dish was simple but well done and we both enjoyed it. The Warm Potato Salad came well dressed and well seasoned with lots of fresh herbs. Overall, the Potato Salas was very pleasant and an extremely comforting classic dish.
For our next course we chose the Pan-Roasted Cod and the Crispy American Black Sea Bass. The Cod dish was served with Cannelloni Beans, Mushrooms and a Lemon Olive Oil Sauce. The Cod was wonderfully fresh and perfectly cooked. The sides however left much to be desired I thought. Cannelloni Beans were very flavorful with chunks of ham throughout but were extremely mushy. Olive Oil sauce had a vibrant yellow color but was flavorless and didnt add anything to the dish. But, the perfectly executed piece of Cod and the size alone were enough for me to enjoy the dish nonetheless. The Black Sea Bass skin was very crispy and the meat was very flavorful throughout. The portion size of the fish was enormous and again the sides werent stellar but didnt necessarily detract from the overall satisfaction of the course.
We split the Salad/Cheese Course and were able to sample both. The Mixed Greens Salad came with a piece of fresh Goat Cheese atop a round of toast. Salad was perfectly dressed, very simple but very well done and a nice change of pace during the meal. Then came the cheese course. Three very lovely cheeses, a cows milk, one sheep and one from goats milk. All three were excellent and very different from each other. We enjoyed this course immensely and the thought the assortment of cheese was fantastic.
Then comes dessert and with Jacques Torres as Dean of Pastry Arts for the French Culinary its no doubt why this course really delivered and was a high point of the meal. We had the Crème Brule Le Cirque Style and the Caramelized Clementine and Kumquat Tart with Carmel Ice Cream. Both desserts were truly wonderful but the Crème Brule stole the show, custard so rich but not overly dense and a great crispy top, really well done.
The restaurant at the French Culinary Institute, LEcole was a high-quality meal full of very fresh and wonderful ingredients, served but students who are very well trained at their respective positions and a real gem in New York.