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In the Neighborhood Monroe College Dining Lab

June 28th, 2013

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The idea of restaurant operated and staffed by culinary students is nothing new. After all, at the Culinary Institute of America, its students operate five different restaurants that span several genres. The benefit of these restaurants to the chefs-to-be is clear. At student run restaurants, culinary students can experience a whiff of stressful, real-word service while still in the midst of their safe classroom training. But the biggest benefit of the CIA’s student-run restaurants probably goes to the residents and visitors of Hyde Park who are able snag excellent, student-cooked meals at a deeply discounted price.

Sadly, Hyde Park is a solid hour away from New Rochelle, which had been our loss… until now.

This spring, Monroe College School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts debuted The Dining Lab, a pop-up restaurant where the students cook and serve meals. Operating on Wednesdays and Thursdays from May 22nd through July 25th, The Dining Lab is serving an on-trend menu painstakingly prepared by students with elite ingredients. The kicker is that The Dining Lab is a not-for-profit restaurant – the price of your meals simply goes to offset its costs. Look for excellent, three course dinners for $18 – plus, The Dining Lab is a BYO (so you can bring a bottle from and save the 300% restaurant upcharge). We dropped in last week and caught this amazing menu:

Starters:

  • Watermelon Salad with Marinated Local Feta, Pickled Vidalia Onions, Micro Mint, White Balsamic and Local Honey Dressing Vinaigrette, Lemon Pepper Biscotti
  • Carnaroli Risotto with Fresh Sweet Corn Puree and Butter Poached Lobster, Chive Oil, Sea Salt
  • Fresh Egg Tagliatelle with Shrimp, Calamari, Marinara Sauce, Light Cream and Fresh Pesto
  • Duo of House-Smoked Salmon and Gravlax, New Potato Salad, Horseradish Crème Fraiche, Petite Salad of Local Greens, Organic Capers, Diced Sweet Onion, Chopped Hard-Cooked Egg, Cut Chives

Mains:

  • Grilled Marinated Pork Mignon with Jerk Rub, Homemade Mango Ketchup, Braised Red Cabbage, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Daily Market Vegetables
  • Duo of Freebird All-Natural Chicken, Stuffed Chicken with Apricot and House-made Jambon de Paris, Chicken Pierogies with Caramelized Onions, Herb Chicken Veloute, Wilted Tuscan Greens, Daily Market Vegetables
  • Butter-Poached Farmed Salmon Filet with Warm Citrus Emulsion, Savory White Corn Grits with Caramelized Red Onion and Truffle Sea Salt, Wilted Tuscan Greens, Daily Market Vegetables
  • Maple Leaf Farms Duckling Pan Seared Asian Five Spiced Duck Breast with a Spicy Duck Crepinette, Homemade Plum Chardonnay Compote, Sautéed Spaetzle, Daily Market Vegetables
  • Grilled Tri-Tip Sirloin Steak Basted with Homemade “Father and Son’s” BBQ Sauce, Roasted Fingerling Potato, Daily Market Vegetables
  • Daily Market Vegetables: Sautéed Melange of Local Summer Squash, Green Zucchini, Green and Wax Beans with Lemon Balm and Garlic Butter
  • Selection of New York State Artisan Cheeses Plate of Three Cheeses from Our Cheese Board Served with Homemade Wine Crackers, Vidalia Onion and Rhubarb Conserve, Wild Thyme Farms Honey, Local Fruit

Desserts:

  • Spanish Brandy and Almond Nougat Semifreddo, Almond Joconde, Fig Gelee, Chocolate Sauce
  • Almond Financier Cake, Mascarpone Cream, Roasted Peaches, Prosecco Sorbet, Rose Crystals, Honey Tuile
  • Spiced Israeli Couscous Bavarian Cream Mousse with Dried Fruits, Poached Apricots, Lemon Sorbet, Hazelnut Meringue, Blood Orange Sauce

Look for three seatings (6:30, 7:00 and 7:30pm). Dinners of three courses cost $18 (plus gratuity) although some dishes have small supplemental fees. To book, call 914-740-6421 or email info@thedininglab.com.