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“A fun evening”

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L'Ecole at Scottsdale Culinary Institute
Price range: $12 - $50
Cuisines: American, French, Contemporary
Restaurant details
Arizona
Level 5 Contributor
98 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“A fun evening”
Reviewed August 7, 2008

I took my guy here for his birthday celebration. I was surprised to see how few people were there but it could have been because it's summer in AZ and the economy is a lttle tight. I've eaten here before, but not in the last year.
As always, the students are a delight and they work very hard.
The food was wonderful---I had the hot scallop & shrimp appetizer that was to die for, as well as a cheese plate as a cold appetizer and it was wonderful. My guy loved his spicy soup and salad. He ordered the steak--it was wonderful
There was one event that really surprised me--talking with our chef-waitress and discussing the entrees, she spoke of an entree that is shrimp noodle cake that was very asian and different --sounded wonderful, I love shrimp, so I ordered it. I was very surprised when it arrived and it was actually a big hunk of salmon and a small crispy pancake--type thing. Unfortunately, I do not like salmon and this was especially 'salmonny".
Now here's where this gets a little strange--if I was in any other Scottsdale restsurant, the head honcho would have been over talking to me about what I had ordered. it didn't happen. My plate was removed --almost untouched by me---no honcho noticed, or was notified or seemed to care.
I hate to think that this is how the students are being trained.
My guy had a wonderful chocolate mousse dessert, I had bananas foster---delicious. The wine selection is small, but we had a very satisfying bottle.
It was a good dining experience and it would have been a great dining experience if someone had showed us that they cared about the fact that I did not eat my entree.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“Chef Rice is just as yummy looking as the food is good. I loved working both the FOH and the BOH here and the menu is...”
Reviewed December 5, 2007

Chef Rice is just as yummy looking as the food is good. I loved working both the FOH and the BOH here and the menu is so unique.

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Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, California
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Fun, but with qualification”
Reviewed November 8, 2007

Our second time at L'Ecole within the last year, this time during a stay in Scottsdale while attending a conference (don't live in the area). The food is very good and, at $35 for a 4-course meal or $30 for 3-course, a real bargain considering the quality of preparation and presentation. The tables are separated well, with good linens and tableware being used, and in an attractive setting. However, I do have some qualifications to my recommendation:

(1) The featured red wine for the evening (not on the regular wine list) was a Sequoia Grove Cabernet. Although I was unfamiliar with the vintner, I ordered it and was pleased that it was a rather good wine. However, I was surprised that, when I received the bill, the wine was charged at $49. I was told that the price was at L'Ecole's cost. That's not an unusually high price for a good wine at a good restaurant but it was a bit more than I expected, when compared to L'Ecole's otherwise very moderate pricing, without having been advised in advance of the wine's cost. On my previous visit, I also chose one of the featured wines, which I enjoyed, and recall that the cost was a bargain at around $25. I don't recall whether, on the earlier visit, I was advised in advance of the price of the featured wines.

(2) The air conditioning is very efficient and there seem to be vents just about everywhere, creating strong drafts of cold air. The system cycles on and off but when it's on, it's on, and you get chilled rather quickly. Good idea for gentlemen to have a coat and ladies to have a long-sleeve sweater or some other warm garment, even if it's rather warm outside.

(3) The bill comes with an automatic 15% gratuity (for a party of two -- this wasn't an automatic gratuity that was applied because of a large group). This is not usual practice at most U.S. restaurants and wasn't pointed out to me. When I received my charge slip, it had the typical place for me to add a tip, which I did, thereby double tipping. I'm aware that different countries have different customs and practices regarding gratuities being automoatically added to the bill, but this is not common practice in the U.S. and, again, I believe that it should have been pointed out to me when the charge slip was delivered so that I would understand that the "tip" category on the charge slip would be for an additional, discretionary gratuity. I don't remember if I noticed or was advised about the gratuity on the bill on my earlier visit.

(4) The students rotate assignments in the kitchen and on the service side. While it appears that they have received some training regarding service and do a better job than is typical, even compared to some high-end restaurants, on occasion some of them appear a bit uncomfortable in their role and it can make things seem somewhat strained -- as though they're trying too hard or just don't have the experience of what it's like in a higher quality restaurant. Don't be surprised if it takes some effort for the server to remove the wine cork and it appears that it's the first time he's ever tried. You may also receive a little of the "how was it?" type of chatter that is more typical in lower quality chain restaurants.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is my second visit to L'Ecole. I will return because the food is good and a good value, and because I want to encourage the students in their chosen career. I will also recommend it to others, but with the qualifications noted above.

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