There are many reasons why anyone who cares about good, fresh food should patronize Technique — the restaurant at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school formerly known as Cafe Bleu — not the least of which is price.
Even more worthwhile is the fact that you’re dining inside a classroom (although it most definitely resembles a nice, well-appointed, casual restaurant), and the meal you are served is part of the curriculum — so essentially your meal becomes part of the student’s education in the culinary and hospitality arts.
As in all culinary schools, every student cycles through the restaurant at all the stations, so your waitron one day may be your pizza maker the next, but that’s part of the fun (for the diner anyway) and all of them are eager to hear what you think of the food, the service, and everything down to the napkin folding.
In other words, a meal at Technique is low key, interactive dining, and you do yourself and the students a disservice if you don’t quiz them on the recipes, and offer constructive feedback about your entire experience.
Along with those deliciously low prices (it’s hard to spend more than $20 on lunch for two, or $50 pour un diner pour deux), you get attention to detail that too many restaurants lack these days: good linens, wine at the right temperature poured correctly (if very carefully), attentive service more interested in whether you’re enjoying yourself, rather than making a buck, and piping hot, handcrafted food that makes up for in enthusiasm what it may occasionally lack in sophistication.
Our lunch with two uber-p.r. gals: Nikkole “Call Me Nikki” Liesse and Karry “Kall Me Karry” Rathje, consisted of a huge. portabello mushroom sandwich (resembling a burger in size and meatiness), a chicken croissant sandwich featuring a large chicken breast on a good-if-overmatched croissant, and a sautéed pork loin atop a mountain of sweet potato puree. (In case you haven’t guessed, the bang for your buck ratio here is portabello-esque.) We also enjoyed a margherita pizza that probably suffered from us standing over the poor bloke who was finishing it. Everything else was nicely presented, modestly seasoned, and darn tasty…in other words, just what you’d expect from a student kitchen.
Of more jaw dropping quality were the excellent molten chocolate cake and almost Le Cirque-worthy creme brulée — making us think we chanced upon a bunch of top-flight pastry students who just happened to be cooking savory that week.
Regardless, a meal at Technique is worth it for reasons far beyond just the food. It is part of our community, and it, and the chefs it trains, work hard every day to raise our level of culinary discourse and appreciation.
In other words, it’s practically your civic duty to go.
(Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday)
In Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
1451 Center Crossing Road
Las Vegas, NV 89144