A gourmet dining experience at the Truax campus


Mushrooms are sliced in the kitchen in preparation for a meal to be served in the gourmet dining room.

Andrea DeBauche, Arts Editor

On a Wednesday afternoon, I found myself on Madison College’s Truax campus, per usual, yet discovering a treat.  The Gourmet Dining Room is now open for the spring, serving lunch every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through the end of April.  Prepare to feel fancy, folks.

Going in to my reservation, I knew that the lunch was a four-course meal. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait.  The menu is divided into appetizers, salad, entrée and dessert, with two or three options each. For my appetizer, I ordered lobster mac-and-cheese. And let me tell you, whoever decided on the combination of those two things is brilliant. Orzo noodles drenched in a light cheese sauce, topped with pieces of lobster. It was excellent.

The next course was a Caesar salad. Seems innocent, right? Nope, it was awesome. Just seeing it set down, the salad is really a piece of salad architecture. A delicious Caesar cream topped with a disk of flaky cheese, topped with lettuce and parmesan cheese. Just the kind of crazy cool plate you’d like to see at a nice restaurant where the chefs can be creative.

Next was an intermezzo, and then the big guns: my entree, the ribs. It was a terrific cut of meat, with potatoes, cranberries, carrots and green beans. This combination of beef and vegetables has always held a soft spot in my heart and stomach. During this course, I couldn’t help consciously thinking to myself how I was happy to be alive.

Dessert was strawberry shortcake. It was another pretty plate, towered with cake, strawberries and a sort of strawberry ice cream. By the way, if my meal seems like old-fashioned comfort food with a twist, well, that’s exactly what it is. The Gourmet Dining Room cycles through several menus during the school year, and the spring semester is opening with the Comfort Menu. This spring still holds the Slow Food menu, and during the fall they offer the Fundamentals, Essentials and Nuevo Latino menus, each with their respective themes.

The dining room is run by the college’s Culinary Arts program. The program offers students the opportunity for jobs in food preparation and service, who might aim for such positions as general managers or executive chefs. Here, students serve their own dining room with top quality recipes, ingredients and instructors, and things seem to be going swimmingly.

I had hoped for the best of my meal at the Gourmet Dining Room, and I was not disappointed. I cleared my plate with all four of my courses, the service was professional and my waitress was amazing. The price is a bit high for a casual meal, at $17 per person, but it’s really worth the money for the food and experience you receive, and the bill will go toward the school’s Culinary program. Plus, as I believe I’ve made clear, it’s a real treat. Reservations can be made online or by phone.