It’s almost October, which in addition to changing leaves and funny pumpkin people means the return of the NSCC Dining Rooms! I have Drew’s mom to thank for this (not so hidden) little food gem. Last spring, during a trip home to New Glasgow, she was talking about these $3 scallop appys and a $7 main that included lobster and crab. Interest piqued.
She has been going to the NSCC New Glasgow campus which has a culinary school with a dinner program. And, as it turns out, there is another one here in Dartmouth! NSCC has an award winning culinary program, and even though you may not have realized it, chances are that you have tasted the work of one of their grads in the many fine restaurants around the city.
Booking is done online through an easy registration form. The following day I received a phone call from one of the staff at the school confirming my booking. We went in late February and at the time the dinner slots were pretty much booked for the rest of the year, so we’ll be planning further in advance next time.
The campus is very easy to find but very hard to park at. I would suggest taking bus #62 or #54 from the Dartmouth Terminal if you aren’t in a rush. I went to the NSCC waterfront campus so naturally I was expecting something similar to the cafeteria there. I was surprised when I was ushered into a proper dining room complete with hostess and full bar. The room is well lit with big windows to let in lots of natural light. The place was packed, again making me question how I had never heard of this place until now.
The menu was Japanese themed on the day we were there. If I understand correctly it changes day to day and is planned by one of the students each day in the second semester. The wait staff are tourism students and they also pull in the pastry and bakery students for table breads and desserts.
We started with the hot and sour soup with tamarind, salmon, pineapple and chives. This was my least favourite of the three but mostly because of the salmon pieces. The broth was savory with just a bit of spice. It was perfect for the end of winter weather that was going on when we dined in February.
Second course was seaweed salad with Digby scallops and shrimp poppers. I was dissapointed to discover that it was partially breaded (I had asked to be advised if any of our menu items had flour) but the scallop portion was great, and Drew really liked the poppers.
Third course was Korean BBQ with sweet potato puree, easily my favourite of the three. The sauce had a rich flavour that involved every corner of my mouth, and I have been a huge fan of sweet potato puree since I discovered it during our wedding tastings.
Finally it was time for dessert. We were going to skip it but when we heard it was creme brulee with fresh fruit and coffee ice cream, we reconsidered. Creme brulee is hands down my favourite dessert, and one of few flourless treats I can eat. I was really dissapointed when it arrived to see that it was filled with pieces of white cake. Drew LOVED it. I watched with envy.
Our meal, the location and the price were all amazing. My only critique was the miscommunication between the server and I regarding my allergy requests. With that said, I will definitely go again this year and am looking forward to the October return. I am especially interested in trying one of the buffet nights!
They also hold a few special events, with past holiday events including The 12 Wines of Christmas Dinner and Christmas Feast. To make a booking, complete the reservation form HERE or email Akerley.DiningRoom@nscc.ca