Thursday, November 6, 2014

Establishment - Cornell's Own Student-Run "Restaurant"

The classic menu at Establishment, a place where a casual dining/studying lounge becomes a "restaurant" at night

Though still busy and exhausted from midst of the second round of prelims (term for midterm exams used in our school), Cathleen and I still decided to take a short break from all the pressure and chose Establishment - the student-ran "Restaurant" at Statler Hotel. This is actually a course for Restaurant Management at Cornell, where Hotel School students become servers, greeters, chefs - staff running a restaurant.
Since the roommate is also a student at the School of Hotel Administration, part of the other reasons  we went was also to let her experience Establishment as a guest before she becomes the server (and serves me haha). 

Occasionally, groups of students host themed-nights where there are new additions to the regular menu. We decided on going to the Hong-Kong Themed Night - a reminisce of home for both of us I guess. 

The regular menu with special additions

happy roommate, happy day

The night's additions included the Wushu Trained Flying Wings, Kung Fu Char Siu Master and Yin Yang Dessert. Very creative course names indeed, let's take a look at the actual products.

We ordered all three of the special courses, with 2 more items from the regular menu - Erza's House Salad and Dashi Salmon. 

Wushu Trained Flying Wings

the menu description described this course as: oyster-sauce glaze. I expected salty wings, as the impression of oyster sauce has always been more on the savoury side. The wings surprised us both- it was sweet, tangy, but not the kind of sweet and sour sauce you get at Americanized Chinese restaurants. Definitely consider re-ordering this if it still exists. 

Erza's House Salad
Though the dressing was a little bit on the oily side (maybe Cornell Dining has treated us well in choosing low-fat, low-calorie dressings?), the salad was very fulfilling in portion for a very nice price. 

desperate roommate
Desperate Cathy....

Kung Fu Char Siu Master

Out of all the dishes we've ordered, this one was the one we had the highest expectations on. As a traditional Cantonese who makes Char Siu on a regular basis, Cathleen critiqued on the meat: roasted lean pork with Char Siu sauce. Maybe the students have limited time in preparing the dishes, but marinating the pork would definitely add a bolder flavour to this fancy dish. 
Dashi Salmon
Dashi = Japanese stock made from kelp and bonito flakes (seafood). Before tasting, I thought that the dash might inhibit(?) the flavour of the salmon because of dashi's natural strong flavouring. However the salmon was grilled to an almost perfect texture (probably by students too), and the rice between the fish and the stock successfully balanced the flavours. The only hesitant part was that the fish begin to taste saltier as more was eaten. 

Yin Yang Dessert
What is life without desserts anyway? This dish had us drool over for a week before the event. Though it's basically shaved ice with condensed milk and LOTS of red beans, it tasted like home - red bean shaved ice in those casual HK caf├ęs. The final scoop of Cornell Dairy ice cream added a local flavour to this already well-made dish - providing a fusion-ed comfort. 

A 1st-time experience at the Establishment left us wandering for more. When it comes to the bill, we did not need to pay tips ("no gratuities accepted") and the prices are probably one of the most reasonable ones in the area. 

Establishment on Urbanspoon

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