Are you starving? Did you miss breakfast on the way to an 8:40 class, and feel your stomach cramp with hunger by 9:00? Did you spend the last twenty, thirty, or forty minutes of psych 101, waiting to dash towards the closest bite to eat? Or are you just a glutinous pig who didn’t miss breakfast but is still down to chow? Either way, you’re now faced with choices. Central Campus is a busy place, and is rife with options, so let me try to help out a bit.
Two or Cornell’s favorite dining option each hold qualities worthy of being compared. Trillium, CALS students’ adored eatery, and The Terrace, a fixture of the Statler hotel, share many of the same culinary choices. But within each venue lies both excellence, and flaw.
Trillium’s convenient location next to Kennedy Hall makes it an ever attractive option. Combined with the Trillium express, this hot spot has it all: Soups, salads, wraps, burritos, low mein, and ice cream. The spacious building is given an airy feeling, compliments of the copious windows along it’s south wall. The sun sprays students with a natural lighting, resulting in a surprisingly refreshing atmosphere. The service is great, thanks to the personable staff, and relatively short lines. Make sure to smile and say thanks to the employees at the register, it wont be long before they start to recognize, and welcome you in to their club of every day customers.
The food itself is pretty fresh and generous in portion. While there is no “all you can eat” policy, the size of each plate makes this aspect a non-issue. The hardest part of Trillium is the need to pick only one entre; for most, it is too expensive to get two. Even grabbing a soup and salad can quickly zap your Big Red Bucks.
The salad station is fairly standard, and allows for a healthy option. It’s a light lunch that wont weigh you down for that two o’clock class, or make you crave a nap. The lettuce is fresh, but the dressing can sometimes be a bit over whelming. Overall it is worth the money, and will probably be too much to finish.
The burrito station is a more popular spot, but unlike the salad bar, might make that late afternoon class last a drowsy eternity. The burrito’s and quesidillas serve as crowd favorites, despite their fatty content, and abundance of carbs. While harmless if eaten once in a week, try not to make them a daily habit. Otherwise, walking up libe slope might turn in to a bit of a hassle come winter.
As usual, the Asian station tastes characteristically fantastic. On a rainy day, nothing is better than some greasy noodles, and sweet beef or chicken. It’s not a light lunch, but not too killer either. The taste is good enough to make the line stay long, and the Red Bucks disappear. Just be careful, cause your friends will want a bite. It’s an unavoidable obstacle in choosing a popular meal.
My personal favorite is the cajun chicken wrap at the far end of Trillium. The chicken, salsa, rice, lettuce and cheese work together to form a masterpiece. If you ask them to add some beans, the result is magical. It’ll satisfy that hunger, and keep you coming back for more. Just be sure to grab a fork, cause it can get a little messy. It might be a good idea to skip this food-bath if you’re trying to make a good first impression.
The American Masala station is the last one you’ll come to. Most of the time, a chicken parmesan or lasagna option will be waiting for you. But every so often they’ll have an amazing chicken with rice dish. Served with a yogurt sauce, this underrated selection is possibly the most flavorful bite on campus. It will usually lack a line, so if you’re craving something different, give it a try. You wont be disappointed.
The Terrace’s atmosphere is quite distinct from that of Trillium’s. Located underground, its dark aura engulfs the dining room, but in a fairly comfortable way. The fact that it is a hotel is undeniably obvious by the furnishing, and attire of the staff. Prices here are reasonable, but the service is sometimes curt. Make sure you have your wallet out, and are ready to pay. You might get a bit of a glare for holding up the line otherwise. The food stations are pretty similar to those of its culinary rival’s. Within these similarities however, lie glaring differences.
The salad station at The Terrace for example, is more effectively spread out. The options of toppings are more readily available, and often better. The proportion of dressing is also more reasonable, thus distinguishing itself as the best salad bar on central campus. Another benefit of this Statler cafeteria is the Panini and Pita station. Freshly made bread and great flavors of meat complete these “sandwiches with a twist”. They’re pretty hard to eat with your hands, but the flavors are definitely worth the hassle. The texture and combination of condiments is what keeps loyal customers coming back two, or three times per week.
Unfortunately, the wrap station is definitely missing a few touches. The sweet beans are all that salvage this rather bland lunch, and none of the ingredients seem to mix well. The disconnection between intentions and results produce a very lackluster finish. The burger station is also a little sub par. The overly greasy food is so deep-fried that one’s stomach might churn just looking at it. While the first few bites of the rich food are initially satisfying, the flavors quickly grow overpowering, and sometimes stay with customers for several uncomfortable hours. The calories stay with them for days.
In final review, Trillium wins by a large margin. A greater set of options, higher quality food, and lively atmosphere, catapults CALS’ dining headquarters to another level. But of course it is good to have choices, and I do suggest trying both places. Variety is always fun, and if you are looking for that satisfying salad, make sure to hit up The Terrace. No matter where you choose, both places can fill that void in your stomach, and make skipping breakfast a distant memory.
(Stars out of fi ve)
Overall Experience: ****
(Stars out of Five)
Overall Experience: ***