November 9, 2011

New Deli Suffers From Bland Menu

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For locavores looking for a post-prelim fix, the new addition to Cornell Dining is less than shining. Goldie’s, featuring coffee and sandwiches, is located in the lobby of the new Physical Sciences building. I expected that the effort that obviously went into the construction and design of the building itself would translate to identical success in its culinary counterpart; unfortunately my expectations went unmatched.

The eatery itself has a modern deli feel — equipped with a ticket dispenser and an electronic “now serving” sign. The white counter, white walls and white floors match the contemporary design of its surroundings, vaguely suggesting an insane asylum. The greatest success of Goldie’s is its environmental awareness; nearly all ingredients are from local producers, and virtually everything served is compostable and biodegradable.

Unfortunately, there are a few obvious flaws in the design. The ordering area is very small, and in prime eating hours it can get hectic trying to place an order. Even in my off-peak visit the wait was dreadfully long, as the “now serving”sign slowly progressed toward my assigned number. Although this compact design could be construed as complementary to the modern architecture of the building, the layout ultimately detracts from service efficiency and the entire dining experience.

The menu offerings were also less than stellar: Routine but expensive deli sandwiches fill the menu with very few exceptions. Being an adventurous eater, I ordered the outstanding oddity: sliced apple, red onion and triple cream Brie on a muesli cranberry roll. While it was a flavorful dish, it was also something I could easily have made myself — for a much lower cost. Also, I was confused by the Brie, which was in a curious state somewhere between melted and solid that detracted from what would otherwise have been a delectable contrast between the sweetness of the apple and the savory cheese. I sampled a few other sandwiches including the chicken panini and hot pastrami with Swiss on rye, and nothing stood out as fantastic. Worse, the portion sizes were measly and the minuscule pickle slice only served to mock me further. At the end of my meal, the table’s consensus was that the food wasn’t worth our BRBs.

The few standouts included the Starbucks brand Pumpkin Latte —Goldie’s serves Starbucks Coffee —and the soup. The subtle hints of pumpkin enhance the coffee’s flavor; I would definitely recommend stopping there to grab one before the seasonal offering is replaced. The soup was another respectable offering  and although it’s not prepared with the same local freshness as the sandwiches, it was much more satisfying. As the winter quickly approaches, a bowl of warm soup or a hot coffee is always a welcome break from the cold. Goldie’s will definitely become a staple on the walk back and forth to classes even if only to grab a quick snack.

Original Author: A.J. Nickas