Culinaire Restaurant has just re-opened its doors to the public. Billed as a one-ofa- kind eatery and a part of the culinary curriculum of the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington, the student run restaurant aims to provide delicious food and an all-around positive dining experience to its patrons while acting as a unique instructional environment for students of the Art Institute’s culinary program.
Culinaire first opened its doors to the public in 2008. The restaurant is open for eight weeks each academic quarter and serves both lunch and dinner. The menu changes quarterly, and this term entrées include seared trout, carrot pasta, Cornish hen, seared pork loin and grilled beef.
“The idea behind having a full service restaurant at the Art Institute of Washington is to provide our students with the opportunity to work in a kitchen that simulates the environment of a real working kitchen,” said Chef Andrew Policelli, a culinary instructor at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington.
At Culinaire, students are on the forefront of both the kitchen and the restaurant fronts. Though they work under the supervision of Chef Michael Roll and a team of credentialed faculty chef instructors, students are involved directly in all aspects of the restaurant, including food preparation, serving guests, preparing their kitchen station and breaking down their stations at the end of the day.
Policelli further explained the idea behind a student-run eatery and the benefits of having a working restaurant to serve as a lab for students.
“[It] allows the students to experience both sides of working in a restaurant: preparing the guests’ food and serving them from beginning to end,” Policelli said, “[It’s] a complete instructional environment for students that offers a quality dining experience to its patrons.”
Every Art Institute with a culinary program has a working restaurant, according to Policelli. This hands-on experience allows students to experience a working restaurant firsthand and is very beneficial in preparing them for careers in this field.
In the end, Culinaire benefits the surrounding community as well as students at the Art Institute.
“Why settle for lukewarm mystery meat, last night’s leftovers or a microwave dinner, when you can enjoy a delicious, freshly prepared bistro-style meal?” ask those of the restaurant in a press release.
Anywhere from 50 to 150 patrons a week do just that, visiting Culinaire and seeing the students in action weekly while enjoying a freshly created lunch or dinner.
Culinaire’s menu includes their four main entrées for the quarter and a wide selection of drinks, appetizers, sides and deserts. Prices range from $2 to $12.★
Culinaire is located at 1820 North Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, Va., near the Rosslyn Metro, and is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for lunch and 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. for dinner. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the restaurant at 703-247-3841.