Getting tired of going to the same dining halls? Then look no further. 104 West!, located by the Center for Jewish Living, offers a kosher dining experience with many delicious options for those following religious and special diets. Jewish or not, any student can enjoy a meal here and all you need is a meal swipe!
This Sunday, Feb. 5, we made our way to 104 West! to review the food options in a similar fashion to our A Comprehensive Review of West Campus Dining article. When that article was written, we did not have enough time to come to 104 West! despite its proximity to the West Campus and have been itching to try it since. Margaret specifically has been eager for a taste of this kosher dining hall because she has not been able to give it a try yet despite being Jewish.
Catherine: I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into this considering that I’ve never really heard of people talking about the food at 104 West!. Margaret and I consider ourselves frequenters of the West Campus dining halls, but we tend to stick to the ones on the main West Campus “island.” I was surprised that 104 West! closes at 7 p.m. as most of the other dining halls on West close at 8 p.m. It might have been our fault for not checking the opening schedule, but we walked in a few minutes before closing so this may have influenced our experience.
As indicated in the picture, I chose to go with the mac and cheese, meatless meatballs and roasted cauliflower and potatoes. The mac and cheese was on the gooey side (as opposed to having a crispy top layer) and had a strong cheesy flavor. I think I prefer the mac and cheese at Alice Cook House more, but this could be my personal preference to white cheeses over yellow cheese — that’s not to say it wasn’t delicious. The roasted cauliflower and potatoes were perfectly crispy on the outside and the seasoning was well-balanced. The meatless meatballs were not my favorite, but I am biased because I tend to avoid vegan meat options. It was good for what it was though.
To me, the star of the show was the blueberries: In my one semester at Cornell, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten any sort of berry at a dining hall. As berries are my favorite fruit, I indulged in a hefty bowl (not pictured) after my meal. Margaret and Jake can confirm. They were not mushy (which is important) and absolutely delectable. Starting a petition to have blueberries at every dining hall, thanks.
Margaret: As per mine and Catherine’s article on the West Campus dining system, I maintain a pescetarian diet when eating on campus due to abiding by some of the laws of kashrut (keeping kosher). I cannot eat pork, unkosher meat or shellfish and cannot mix meat and milk. I was very excited to come to 104 West! and feel free to eat anything without restriction. We chose to go on a “dairy” day at 104 West!, meaning that no meat was served. Although I could have eaten the meat here if I so pleased, I typically do choose to avoid it anyway, so I was more than happy to review the kosher dairy options provided.
I grabbed a heaping plate of mac and cheese, meatless meatballs, potatoes, cauliflower and guacamole. The mac and cheese was quite good, with the seasoning helping to balance the creaminess. It may not compare to the mac and cheese at Alice Cook house, but it was still comforting, warm and delicious. Because I eat meatless meatballs so often on campus, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on them. And I have to say, these were wonderful — crisp on the outside, tender and well-seasoned on the inside. Had I not known they were meatless, I definitely would have thought they were typical beef meatballs. My love of meatless meatballs may be biased, but I still feel that this evaluation is valid. The potatoes and cauliflower were fairly standard: well-seasoned and crispy, but it is important to note that they were both quite oily. I preferred them to the steamed or fried vegetables typically found in other West Campus dining halls, though, and appreciated the effort to offer a tastier vegetable option. The guacamole was similar to that on West as well. Overall, I greatly enjoyed my experience at 104 West! and will definitely be returning for a meal free of fear.
Jake: The star of the show for me was the chocolate chip cookies. These cookies were mushy and gooey, and the chocolate chips melted on the tip of my tongue. These cookies were better than the ones I have had at any of the dining halls on West as I feel the ones on West are too crunchy. I would honestly go back to 104 West! just to get another bite of these.
As experts on West Campus dining, we, as well as Jake now, feel that 104 West! is definitely on par with the rest of the dining halls we’ve reviewed. It truly is the perfect place for kosher-keeping Jewish students, as well as non-Jewish students who simply want to mix it up or learn about Jewish eating practices.
Jake Fishman is a sophomore in the Nolan School of Hotel Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].
Margaret Haykin is a sophomore in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected].
Catherine Zhang is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].