By Frank Ladra
Tucked away behind the Student Union and Smith Hall Cafeteria is a hidden treasure known as Pierre Coste, a dining establishment run by the students of the City College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Program.
Third semester students in the program readily provide friendly service to patrons in the front of house, while second semester students prepare a variety of delicious culinary delights in the full service kitchen.
The customer service is exceptional. A maitre d’ greets customers with a smile and immediately seats them in the well lit and open environment while service assistants offer a selection of fresh breads and the waiter takes drink orders. The staff is more than plentiful, but even during slower days everybody seems to busy themselves with duties.
The selection of breads are fresh and tasty, and the amuze bouche of a petite fontina and mozzarella grilled cheese finger sandwich served with a tomato soup shooter leaves the palette craving more.
The Cobb chicken wrap is extremely creamy with the bold flavor of bleu cheese and the occasional crunch of candied walnuts, and the fried mozzarella sandwich is a hearty combination of fresh produce in every bite.
However, both the coleslaw and the vinaigrette salad dressing provide a tart punch in the mouth that overpowers the flavors of the main attraction.
Even though Pierre Coste provides a fine dining experience, it is an affordable option on a student budget. Two people can eat for less than $20.
The Pierre Coste Room is named after the chef and later executive chef of what was known as the City College Hotel and Restaurant Program from 1948 to 1969.
Coste trained in France and apprenticed in hotels in Monte Carlo, Lyon and Paris. He went on to work as a chef at the Park Lane, Commodore, Sherry Netherlands and Waldorf-Astoria Hotels in New York and then took the role of executive chef at San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel for 17 years before joining the staff at City College.