Caterina de Medici at The Culinary Institute of America
The food was great. The service was terrific! Great wait staff!!
Perhaps the beautiful room, the soft music and the attentive maitre d' set our expectations up too high, but we were sadly disappointed by the unexpected structure, the mediocre food, the dismal service at the Caterina de Medici.
While I received two phone calls to confirm my reservations (the second caller had no idea I had been called previously) and we discussed the menu during both, it was not explained that it would be a family style salad and antipasti followed by passed samples of entrees and individual desserts. Although unexpected, we were willing to give it a whirl, but in retrospect, we should have reconsidered staying.
The Caesar salad was the star of the dinner, fresh crispy romaine lightly coated with a flavorful dressing that sang with cheese. The salad accompanied an antipasti that had some lovely components. There were not enough of each item for each of us to taste it, our waiter misidentified the cheese and a passing server went off to find out what the purple slabs were (quince paste.)
For the most part students that served the dinner could have been robots. They dished out exactly two tablespoons of each pasta onto your plate from saute' pans that quickly went cold. They couldn't identify the dishes or their components beyond the name ("It's chicken and I don't know.") The flavors were muddled, it all tasted the same and the promised ingredients were chopped so small that they were hard to find. The risotto was crunchy, dry and tasteless. We had to sit and wait an extra half hour for the ravioli, which wasn't quite worth the wait.
They cleared our dishes and silverware, and brought dessert. We asked for utensils and we were provided with spoons to eat our tart. The chocolate was dark, the berries and cherries juicy. The absence of a lightly whipped cream or some type of topping was noted.
We have been entertaining our friends with details of the evening which provided a life time of jokes.
We had the Pasta night dinner. My rating compares this to a world class establishment. Servers seem a little intimidated. They are young. Most of the five pastas were likewise a bit timid. Great setting, pleasant and earnest staff, A good time and good but not memorable meal.
Great service and great food.
Pasta night was a sad disappointment
Having dined at this CIA restaurant multiple times I already knew what to expect. On the plus side, the food was terrific as always the ambience lovely, and the effort of all the restaurants staff was clear. However the two biggest issues we had were around the reservations, and the service. Despite having spent many phone calls confirming reservations for seven, I continued to receive emails confirming only six I was not happy with the explanation that there was no capability of the reservation staff to send a corrected email. As you might imagine this caused unneeded stress that we could arrive with our wedding anniversary party defined I could only prove a table for six. Thankfully that did not happen and the table was set for seven.
While I understand that our weekends the students are paid to serve and some may not have a lot of experience in serving, there were clearly some issues that need to be addressed. These include: only one plate of anti-pasta brought out for seven people, food being served dropped on the floor on the table and in one case on somebody’s suit without so much as a sorry or I apologize, and only 1 tablespoon of grated cheese In a small bowl for a group of seven people at an all you can eat pasta dinner.
Thankfully the great dinner conversation amongst friends and the quality of nearly all the dishes made up for much of this, but management should address these issues going forward.
Great food and service.
Our first visit to the CIA and the Caterina de Medici restaurant and it exceeded our expectations, which were high. Food was creative, perfectly prepared and outstanding quality and taste. It was a special prize fixe pasta tasting menu which was fun. Antipasto starter and Caesar salad superb too. My mouth is watering as I’m recalling this. We upgraded to the ribeye steak and that was succulent and flavor and perfectly cooked. Finale was an out of this world chocolate tart. Heaven! Can hardly wait to return
This restaurant is simply lovely inside. Servers are students at the school, so interacting with them is part of the charm here, and our lovely server this time did not disappoint. The food however, was disappointing. We knew that on the evening we selected, we would be served a pasta tasting menu priced at $39pp. The salads were delicious and we were off to a good start. Then our server returned to our table, took away the menus she had given us and replaced them with a slightly different one. No big deal, but the students who served the remaining courses literally did not even know what they were serving! If a menu hadn't been left on the table inadvertently, none of us would have known. The risotto with shrimp was the most disappointing....if there were shrimp in there, we certainly couldn't find them or taste them, given the overwhelming spice in this dish. One that was supposed to have beef shortribs in it was tasty but definitely lacking beef. Another was billed as having brussels sprouts, which I do not care for....but no problem since there wasn't a hint of them in the dish!!
Part way through the dinner, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a large bug working its way across the floor towards the table next to us. I called over a server, who said he'd take care of it and then disappeared. Later, the manager came to our table to inquire about the bug.....which was long gone. I hope the ladies at the table next to us didn't have a hitchhiker in their purses when they got home!
Dessert was another disappointment, a chocolate torte. The chocolate filling was quite good but the "pastry" had no taste whatsoever and seemed like something you'd buy in Costco.
After all of this, I paid using a CIA gift card and was told it had a zero balance! It arrived directly to my home less than a month ago from the CIA and was supposed to be for $100.
I will give the Caterina another chance, but this meal was definitely sub-par.
I don't like to leave reviews because everyone's taste and perception is so different. Perhaps my expectations were too high as I always viewed the CIA to be the finest culinary school in the country. Although they are students, I still expected top-notch service and delicious food. To start, the Caesar salad was good but the antipasto plate was nothing to write home about. The tableside pastas were mediocre at best. Alll but one out of the five were served lukewarm. The seafood risotto was over-salted. There was a pasta that had an Indian spice which was very odd for an Italian restaurant. I expected the pasta to be homemade but it was not. The dessert was a complete disappointment. It was a hard pastry shell with a dense chocolate inside. A light, fluffy shell with an airy, light mousse would have been so much better. I checked the experience off my bucket list but sorry to say it was not at all what I expected and left disappointed.
We have eaten at other CIA restaurants and were looking forward to some good Italian food. We were seated promptly and served drinks and our appetizers (which we quite good) but then our waitress disappeared and we were left waiting for our next course for an overly long time. When another waitress noticed our distress she finally cleared our dishes bit it was a long wait again for the main course. When these dishes finally arrived we were very disappointed in the choice of pasta served. They all tasted alike and were quite boring. The chocolate tarte for dessert was equally unimpressive. All in all our $150 dinner was not what we expected.
It took at least 20 mins to be acknowledged. This is way too long of a timeframe. The server was right at the next table several times and had plenty of opportunity to do this. We only got 4 out of 5 entrees served tableside and when we spoke to the management about it, we received a very cavalier attitude. We at least expected a take home container of the missed food, and one that many in our party were looking forward to. The food was delicious and that is the only thing that saved the evening.
Prompt, outstanding service. Everything was perfect. Pasta was phenomenal! Excellent experience! Been there several times.
We had a wonderful time on a Saturday night at the Caterina de Medici. The pastas were all very good, service was great. Even though there was a large table next to us, there was very little noise and we were not disturbed. We asked for more pasta and were given what was asked for. I would highly recommend this for a great evening.
Our server never checked to see if the table got all the pasta. Our fish was cold. After 3 hours we declined desert. Our worse experience at CIA. Pasta night never again.
Hit or miss but overall tasty. Disappointed that the wine list wasn't as extensive as online. I had picked out a bottle that wasn't even there when I got there.
Took some time to get water. Server was overall very friendly. First taste of Risotto was honestly, not good. No shrimp. Crunchy and gloppy at the same time. BLAND. Second serving (it was a tasting and you could get more any of the 5 pastas) was very good. Overall the pastas were good to very good. Onion focaccia was also hit or miss. Tasty warm focaccia with cold mushy onions on top.
Never did get my coffee.
But I'd still go back. The place is fun. Learning what the students are studying is interesting. The value is very good. And I didn't expect a Michelin-starred restaurant. I expected some bumps and they were all minor.
The service was awkwardly inexperienced. The food was just ok. We were in a small room with only two tables so it was eerily quiet. Olive Garden is significantly better.
Daughters family weekend from Marist
Beautiful dinner experience. Our server was attentive to our every need, from providing a perfect wine choice to the timely, thoughtfully executed series of courses, and when he realized it was my birthday, he made sure to recognize it in a most elegant way, with chocolate. Elegant, enjoyable, relaxing......highly recommend.
Caterina de Medici was exemplary in service. Every service person was gracious and knowledgeable. We hope to try all of the eateries at C.I.A.
As a New Yorker I hope some NYS wines can be offered, though the theme is Italian, many people appreciate knowing how to pair wines with their food.
Was pasta night so a set menu. The Caesar salad and anti pasta plate were both excellent. There were 5 pasta offerings of which 2 were excellent (gnocchi and shrimp risotto) 1 was very good (butternut squash ravioli), one was okay (cavatelli) and the last was just bland (linguine). Desert was excellent. Would go back to try the regular menu but not the pasta dinner.
This is a school with many learning on the job. Server could not do more for us. Very attentive. We had the pasta dinner which was great. Gave us a chance to dine leisurely. We able to talk to each other and be heard. Would like to try one of the other restaurants at CIA.
It's an interesting place to go it you want a unique experience. You will be waited upon by students. There were a few glitches long the way. Our server was great. A sophomore from Ghana. The people who helped him were a bit off the mark. As an example when we got to the cavetelli serving, the woman who spooned the food on to our plate kept saying it was gnocchi!
We asked for a second helping of the linguine, but it unfortunately came over-cooked and swimming in a creamy liquid. The initial serving was perfect, however.
So students make errors, which is why you should come expecting an interesting experience with good food but not without it's trials and tribulations.
We had a wonderful dinner celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. I mention this because since they asked us if we were celebrating anything, we told them. We got two complimentary glasses of processo and our dessert came on beautifully decorated “happy anniversary” written in chocolate plates. Very thoughtful.
Pasta was delicious for the most part, the salad and anti pasta and bread pudding yummy. Service was thoughtful and attentive.
The pasta dinner was fantastic. The food was delicious. We had five different pastas. I tried pastas I would probably not have ordered for a meal and loved the way they tasted. The server was excellent, friendly and knowledgeable.
Everything was lovely. My dessert needed a greater depth of flavor and the decaf coffee was weak. BUT I like really strong coffee so maybe it was my expectation.
Polite and welcoming. Although the menu was somewhat limited, there was plenty to choose from and everyone in our party was delighted with the quality and presentation of the food.
Great service great food
Food and service was great. We would give a five star rating if the drinks were a bit more reasonable. $16.00 for a shot of Knob Creek bourbon is a bit steep for up state NY
I realize this is a school but the entrée menu was limited to four items. The fish was not available, the beef had a lesser cut substituted. I ordered the chicken which was okay but not much flavor. The appetizers were numerous and everyone was pleased with their selection. We ordered three different things from the menu. The desserts were good. The drinks were pricey. Our waiter was a bit timid and hesitant with his replies but again this is a learning environment.
Despite being the first day open following summer shutdown we had a fantastic dinner. During the summer they only have a 3 course Prix fixe menu but we found some wonderful options. The corn chowder was excellent as w
as the caprese appetizer. The beef was excellent and cooked exactly to order. The lemon molten cake was not as described but is was very enjoyable. The wait staff was very attentive.
Clearly is a cooking school so be prepared for things that usually go wrong to do so, but one or two of the plates were very tasty.
In spite of many open tables the food was slow coming out from the kitchen.
The bartender didn’t know how to make drinks and too busy on cell phone. The website not updated came for the specials of the day and was totally different fir the money not worth it.
Having just had a tremendous meal 2 nights before at American Bounty, I was expecting the same here. The service was great and it was a big graduation night where Food Network royalty were seated next to us! We were expecting more traditional types of fare, and much larger portions - disappointed with that. My daughter had eggplant rollatini, but she said she couldn't find any ricotta or any cheese - just rolled with veggies - 2 very small rolls - I wasn't thrilled by any of the main course offerings so got 2 appys instead which were great. I have a feeling since the school was shutting down after the next night, that they were low on options. If you have to choose just one, American Bounty is my recommendation! The French restaurant offered too many heavy dishes for a hot July - and book early - 60 days in advance they start accepting reservations. Also recommend staying at INN THE WOODS B&B right nearby - get the Treetop Suite if you can - the owners have taken many classes there and the food is outstanding for breakfast!
The professor is excellent and the students are very professional the food and service and the Ambiance of the place is beautiful and our table was perfectly placed
My wife and I had a very enjoyable day and meal, setting was very nice, service was excellent as well as our lunch. Looking forward to return and experience the diner
The restaurant experience itself was 5-star; the food was absolutely wonderful and the service was impeccable. Our wait person (Jerry) was terrific; he offered suggestions, gave great descriptions of the offerings, and kept checking back in to see if we needed anything, to make sure our water glasses were full, and that we were happy with the food. My friend had the Buratta Caprese, I had Grandma's Meatballs, and we both had the American Wagyu Teres Major. It was all perfectly prepared and delicious. We chatted about Jerry's experience at the CIA, which was fun. Everyone on staff that night seemed in top form. That part of the night’s experience was fabulous.
What wasn't fabulous, was getting to the restaurant. Driving in, there is no signage that tells you where specific restaurants are. We found a parking lot and began walking without actually knowing where we were going. If I hadn't happened upon 2 people in the herb garden who were familiar with the place, we would have had no idea how to get to the restaurant entrance. Which brings me to problem #2. The friend I was with has limited mobility and getting to the restaurant entrance was extremely difficult for her. There was no way to drop her off in front, so first there was a walk from the parking lot. Then once I got the location information, she had find a way to walk up 2 flights of stone stairs. How is this lack of accessibility even legal?? Perhaps there was a better way to get to Caterina de Medici, but given the complete lack of signage, how would one know that?
So, to sum up. Experience inside the Caterina De Medici? Amazing, fabulous, delicious. Experience getting in and out of the restaurant? Bad--especially if you have mobility issues. (and I know that’s not the problem of this particular restaurant, but it does affect your dining experience, and it IS the responsibility of the CIA itself)
Our waiter, Matt, was wonderful. The food was delicious and we were pleasantly surprised to see that we had chosen a day with a price fix menu! CIA is a beautiful campus to walk about.