FOOD & WINE

Bocuse on the Hudson: Lunch at the CIA

November 23, 2015
Painting of Paul Bocuse at his namesake restaurant at the CIA
The Bocuse Restaurant logo (screenshot)

The Bocuse Restaurant logo (screenshot)

The Bocuse Restaurant in Hyde Park, New York serves up classic French cooking with a twist.

At The Bocuse Restaurant on the campus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, students work side-by-side with instructors to master culinary skills and techniques entailed in preparing meals and serving them. As part of this training, they have the in-vivo experience (or you could say, challenge) of operating a restaurant that serves patrons who might be described as food enthusiasts with high expectations.

Glass entry to The Bocuse Restaurant

Glass entry to The Bocuse Restaurant

This unique restaurant/training ground is one of four on the New York campus, which also houses the Ristorante Caterina de/Medici, serving regional Italian cuisine; the American Bounty, serving traditional American fare that emphasizes seasonal and regional products of the Hudson Valley; and the more informal Apple Pie Bakery Café. The CIA operates three more restaurants at its campus in St. Helena, California and another at its campus in San Antonio, Texas. Collectively, these restaurants draw upon the expertise of some 170 chef-instructors from 17 countries.

The Bocuse Restaurant, about an hour from our home, seemed like the perfect meeting place to get together for lunch with foodie friends we had recently met on a Viking Cruise to Bordeaux, France. Admittedly, we look for an excuse (of which there are many) to visit the CIA campus at least once a year because we love its ambiance as well as its scenic 170-acre park-like setting beside the Hudson River. Invariably, we wind down our visit with a spree in the school’s “bookstore” that is stuffed with a wide array of interesting cookbooks, specialty foods, and kitchen tools.

However, this was our first time at this particular CIA restaurant. The menu at Bocuse is classic French cuisine but “seen through the lens of ultra-modern cooking techniques.” Its presentation is picture-worthy.

The setting is relaxed, minimalist and contemporary with natural light streaming in through the windows at lunchtime. A large dining space has been divided into three more intimate rooms.

View of one of the three dining rooms

View of one of the three dining rooms with a dramatic wine wall

You can take a 360-degree tour of the restaurant on Google Street View indoors:

Our waiter briefly explained the French wine list (I opted for a Cotes du Rhone Rose from Bordeaux) and inventive cocktail menu. She then left us with an iPad app that allows guests to explore more in-depth information about wines, spirits and their history. Then we were offered a choice of freshly baked rolls or sliced sourdough bread (which propelled us to visit the campus bakery afterwards to buy some to take home.)

Our server explains the iPad wine and cocktail menu

Our server explains the iPad wine and cocktail menu

For first courses, Jerry and I both ordered the Gnocchi Parisian with Seared Foie Gras. It was very tasty although the incredibly delicious but diminutive foie gras was the size of a Dove candy square.

Gnocchi with foie gras

Gnocchi with foie gras

For an entrée, I had the Noisette of Veal (veal medallions) served with Foie Gras Butter, Braised Cipollini Onions, Baby Kale Greens and Apricot-Mustard Sauce.

Noisette of veal

Noisette of veal

Jerry ordered the Strip Loin of Beef with Oxtail Bordelaise, Marrow-Crusted Endive, Smashed Fingerling Potatoes, Chanterelles, and Gruyére Foam.

Strip loin of beef

Strip loin of beef

Dessert was the pièce de résistance: white coffee ice cream, hand-churned at the table (the motor had been removed from the Mixmaster) with nitrous oxygen. It was served in a sugar waffle cone with a plate of four mini French pastries—Éclair, Pot de crème Frappucino, Caramel Latte Macaron and Coffee Almond Brioche Cake.

Our ice cream maker at work beside the table

Our ice cream maker at work beside the table

The delectable ice cream

The delectable ice cream

Accessories to the calorie crime

Accessories to the calorie crime

The meal was very good; the student service warm and friendly. Any slight missteps were made up for by the enthusiasm of young people excited to be embarking on culinary careers. Our meal for two with a glass of wine and a cocktail (and a 17% service charge that goes towards scholarships and students activities) cost about $75 per person, an expensive but “feel-good” lunch because restaurant profits contribute to the education of young chefs and hospitality personnel.

About Paul Bocuse

Painting of Paul Bocuse at his namesake restaurant at the CIA

Painting of Paul Bocuse on display at his namesake restaurant at the CIA

Paul Bocuse is considered one of the most famous French chefs, known for his contributions to both nouvelle cuisine and for inspiring many other chefs. (We had the best meal of our lives at his restaurant outside Lyon, at Auberge du Pont de Collonges).

The legendary chef is also revered for his work as a teacher and educator. The Institute Paul Bocuse in Ecully, France is one of the leading schools for training in hospitality management and culinary arts in Europe. In 2013, the Institute formed a unique collaboration with the Hotel Le Royale Lyon to establish 20 Place Bellcour, a dining room where culinary students work in an open kitchen displaying their knowledge of French gastronomy and hospitality.

When The Bocuse Restaurant first opened at the CIA in October 2013, chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Charlie Palmer, and David Burke and others were in attendance to welcome and honor the restaurant’s namesake, who visited from France.


IF YOU GO

The Bocuse Restaurant

  • 1946 Campus Drive (Route 9), Hyde Park, NY. (located about 1½ hours from New York City,  not far from Poughkeepsie)
  • Lunch is served from 11:30AM–1PM and Dinner from 6–8:30 p.m, Tuesday–Saturday (when classes are in session).
  • Reservations can be made by phone at 1-845-471-6608 or online at OpenTable.

  • Reply
    budget jan
    November 23, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Looks like great food. Thanks for including the map, it is nice to know the whereabouts.

  • Reply
    Sheryl
    November 24, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I’d love to try this some time – looks like a very special place!

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    November 28, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Gnocchi with fois gras – looks delish! This Bocuse restaurant at the CIA looks like one to keep in mind (for when we make our way out to that part of the world). We’ve had dinner at our Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts restaurant, run by student chefs, here in Vancouver – and it was very good :-).

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Watching the enthusiastic students is half the fun!

  • Reply
    Rachel Heller
    November 30, 2015 at 7:26 am

    The food at Bocuse looks wonderful! I’d love to go there sometime!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 30, 2015 at 8:59 am

      The “original” Bocuse may be closer to you, Rachel:-)

  • Reply
    Janice Chung
    November 30, 2015 at 9:15 am

    OMG! Talk about timely! I’m heading to Long Island and NYC tomorrow and checked to see if there were openings for lunch this week. Yes! But I think I’m staying too far. 🙁 Will have to be another trip. The food looks AMAZING!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 30, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Long Island is in the opposite direction…but hope you have a great trip!

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    November 30, 2015 at 10:23 am

    The Bocuse Restaurant looks fantastic. The only culinary school restaurant I’ve visited is Jane’s in my home city of Winnipeg. It is located in what was once a bank lobby and has beautiful marble floors and columns. The food and service were fantastic. Like your experience, the students were enthusiastic and it was fun to engage with them. The experience perked my interest in visiting other culinary school restaurants.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 30, 2015 at 10:37 am

      I’m hoping to get to the restaurants at the the St. Helena and San Antonio campuses, too~

  • Reply
    Kristin Henning
    November 30, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    The food and whole experience at Bocuse looks fantastic. (Must stop reading; must go get something to eat!) What a great way to reunite with your Viking Cruise friends, too.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 30, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Definitely a fun way to break bread with friends!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Stavert
    November 30, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you for taking us inside the CIA on the Hudson. We have had the pleasure of visiting the St Helena campus several times and it is one of my favorite places on earth! That ice cream dish served at the table looks amazing! We will need to work in a trip the next time we are in NYC.

  • Reply
    Jackie Smith
    November 30, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Great article and what food!! Made me hungry at 6 a.m. I have to admit that this old ‘techno-Dino’ isn’t impressed at restaurants when given an iPad menu – just give me the germ filled, dog-eared paper version and I’ll be quite content. Another most interesting post, Irene!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 1, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Agree with you, Jackie. The iPad wine menu felt a bit like an unnecessary distraction at the table.

  • Reply
    Anita
    December 1, 2015 at 10:52 am

    What a treat, Irene! I ate at a previous generation of the CIA’s French restaurant, and it was a treat…back then, no iPad or molecular options, but plenty of the same enthusiasm and the food was good. It’s an experience I’d love to repeat!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 1, 2015 at 10:54 am

      Yes, always great to be among young chefs! You must have been at Escoffier. Time for another visit:-)

  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    December 1, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    The Bocuse looks like a wonderful dining experience. So many interesting dishes traditional and with new twists from the young chefs. I know we could spend hours and hours there enjoying every morsel.

  • Reply
    The GypsyNesters
    December 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    We took a tour of the Culinary Institute a few weeks ago and ate at Ristorante Caterina de/Medici. It was fabulous. Looks like we’ll have to go back to try Bocuse.

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    December 1, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    What a treat to go with you to the Bocuse Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. I’ve been to the facility in St. Helena several times, though not recently, and was unaware about the one in San Antonio. So much to look forward to!

  • Reply
    Kay Dougherty
    December 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I have visited two culinary school restaurants and really enjoyed both of them. This one looks excellent although I can no longer bring myself to eat Foie Gras (I’m sure I eat other things that are created inhumanely too – just hit my breaking point on that one). The dessert looks like it was worth the calories – the standard by which I judge desserts. That’s quite pricey for a lunch per person but as a splurge and a good cause, what the heck – you can only “take it with you on your thighs” so why not spend it!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 2, 2015 at 8:52 am

      Yes, it is a nice way of showing support for the institution and its budding chefs!

  • Reply
    Denis Gagnon
    December 2, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    What a wonderful and informative article. We have been to the Paul Bocuse restaurant in Lyon and I did not realize we could relive a bit of the experience at the Bocuse restaurant at the CIA in New York state. It is now definitely on our list ! Thanks for a great posting.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      To be honest, it absolutely pales compared to the Bocuse restaurant in Lyon but when in New York, second best will do!

  • Reply
    Nathalie
    December 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

    What a great experience, Paul Bocuse is definitely a legend students learn about early in the cooking school curriculum and it\’s no wonder why. Learning restaurants are a great place to enjoy delicious food, and usually at a more affordable cost.

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