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Classroom Gets an A for Effort

There is some risk involved in having dinner at a place called the Classroom Restaurant. Staffed by the students of the new Los Angeles International Culinary Institute--you are eating, in essence, training meals.

You certainly won’t be bored here.

Located at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, the window-filled dining room reveals many scenes. There is the action on the polo field, seen through the restaurant’s French doors. Through a movie screen-sized plate of glass, you can keep an eye on the progress of your dinner, and of the student kitchen crew decked out in crisp chef’s whites and toques. Looking through still another huge window you may experience the curious sensation of observing the action of a totally different student restaurant--the more casual Equestrian Bar & Grill.

Meanwhile, your fellow diners in the Classroom Restaurant are a little more formally dressed--and the waiters are wearing tuxedos. The food is on the fancy side too. Maine lobster comes steamed and served in a truffled vanilla sauce; loin of axis venison comes with chanterelles and juniper-brandy sauce. Not everything works; the food mostly has the underlying flavors and textures of competent hotel cooking.

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Despite the very real restaurant prices charged at the Classroom, you may find yourself pulling for the success of this place. There’s a charming combination of old-fashioned stodginess and youthful inexperience.

The Classroom Restaurant, 480 Riverside Drive, Burbank, (818) 840-1320. Entrees $16-$30.


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