Monroe College Student-Run Restaurant Receives Favorable Review in The New York Times

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"The Little Kitchen That Could"

Monroe College, a national leader in urban and international education, today announced that its student-run restaurant in New Rochelle, The Dining Lab, received a favorable review in The New York Times by Westchester food critic Alice Gabriel, and was dubbed “the little kitchen that could.” Following are a few excerpts from the article, “Proving Their Chops in the ‘Real World”:

Ms. Gabriel said: “The kitchen here is the little kitchen that could. Our guarded expectations were met with superior appetizers: a creamy risotto made with carnaroli rice, spring-onion purée and robiola cheese; orecchiette in a delicate marinara with fresh sage and the Dining Lab’s own sweet fennel sausage; and a brisk salad of campus-grown lettuces.”

She continued with a description of the restaurant’s tableside service and atmosphere: “The featured tableside preparation was a frittatina, a little molded omelet cooked in a round metal collar on a griddle. More engaging was the live music act that night: a lilting vocalist in a leopard-print blouse and blond wig who paid tribute to Rihanna and Adele, with the dean of the school himself on acoustic guitar (musicians sing for their supper on Thursday nights).”

On the restaurant’s entrees and desserts, Ms. Gabriel said: “My own entree of pan-seared striped bass and roasted fingerling potatoes was a picture of simplicity, and just delicious…we were delighted by a blueberry clafoutis with lemon verbena sorbet and a corkscrew wafer; almond-milk panna cotta with strawberry consommé; and assorted cookies. We took home a slice of sbrisolona, an almond cake that is a specialty of Mantua, Italy, a fine souvenir of a memorable adventure.”

This is the latest recognition for Monroe College’s School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Arts. Earlier this month, Monroe pastry instructor Ebow Dadzie – also a Pastry Chef at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan – was named among the top ten pastry chefs in the nation by Dessert Professional magazine; he was one of two New York pastry chefs to be included in the list, and the only culinary educator. In April of this year, Monroe College graduate James Daversa received a full-tuition scholarship to France’s Institut Paul Bocuse through a culinary competition hosted by world-renowned Chef Daniel Boulud. Additionally, the Dean of Monroe’s culinary arts school, Dr. Frank Costantino, was named Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Long Island Chapter in 2013.

“Receiving a favorable review in The New York Times is in many ways equivalent to the Holy Grail of the restaurant industry, and we take great pride in the recognition our culinary arts student, staff and school continue to receive,” said Marc Jerome, Executive Vice President at Monroe College. “In less than six years since its founding, the school has garnered a significant number of awards and demonstrated its ability not only to compete at some of the most prestigious culinary competitions, but to finish in the top ranks.”

Since 2009, Monroe’s culinary arts program has received nearly 500 awards, including 15 gold and 10 silver medals at the last three NY state championships, as well as the coveted Marc Sarrazin trophy at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in NYC in 2011 and 2013. Taught by a faculty of experienced industry professionals, many of whom are certified by the American Culinary Federation, students gain valuable instruction and mentoring in a real-world culinary environment. For more information, please visit here.

The Dining Lab at Monroe College offers a three-course gourmet dinner for a fixed price of $18.95. It is open to the public Tuesday through Thursday, with three seatings at 6:30pm, 7pm, and 7:15pm. Students in Monroe’s culinary and hospitality degree program prepare each item and are responsible for the restaurant’s daily operations. Reservations can be made by phone at 914-740-6421 or by email at info(at)thedininglab(dot)com. The restaurant is located at 434 Main Street in New Rochelle.


Founded in 1933, New York-based Monroe College is a nationally ranked private institution of higher learning with a real world learning approach that prioritizes hands-on academic experiences, practical and relevant academic programs, flexible learning schedules, best-in-class instructional technologies, and committed and engaged faculty to ensure that students are well positioned for career success upon graduation. Monroe College graduates more minority students than any other college in New York State.

Monroe College offers Certificate, Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's degree programs. It has campuses in the Bronx, New Rochelle, as well as in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, with programs offered through its Schools of Criminal Justice, Information Technology, Nursing, Education, Business & Accounting, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, and Allied Health Professions, as well as through its liberal arts and continuing education programs, and its King Graduate School. For more information and admissions criteria, please visit

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Katharine Rose
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Gina Maffucci
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