Daniel B., Brandeis University
In terms of food, Sherman Dining Hall at Brandeis University seems designed for those few predestined to be human garbage disposals– one can have an obscenely large meal lasting the course of an entire day in this buffet style eatery, with the sole catch being that most of the food they consume should probably be shoved into an actual trash can immediately. In all fairness, most of the food could be described as “edible.”
Sherman offers diners a very monotonous set of foods, which pretty much always consist of pizza, hotdogs (kosher, of course… this is Brandeis), hamburgers, a small sandwich station, cereal, pasta, a salad bar, and some deserts. The pizza, surprisingly, is fairly decent, achieving about the same level of quality as Domino’s (before their pizza recipe change, of course). Unfortunately, the level of quality is somewhat dependent on who happens to be cooking, as some “chefs” burn the pizza to a crisp while others barely melt the cheese. The grill station should probably be avoided, unless one likes stale French fries, incinerated burgers, and to top it all off, rude service. This dining hall’s ‘deli’ usually only has two types of meat, mostly ham and turkey, and a wide array of stale breads. Sometimes it offers roast beef as well, but of the oldest, most overcooked (good roast beef ought have a pinkish-red center), and fattiest meat in existence. The state of their deli is especially disgraceful, given Brandeis’s large Jewish population. Still, the salad bar has a good variety of ingredients, all fresh, along with several dressings. But there are no low-fat dressing options for the health conscious eater.
Some variety appears in the occasional stir-fry cook and few daily specials, usually consisting of side dishes and one entree. This entree, however, is generally to be avoided at all costs, the one exception being rotisserie chicken. Sherman seasons the chicken well, and slow cooks it well enough to leave the meat moist and tender. The side dishes can be worthwhile as well, like the sweet potatoes or the surprisingly tasty stir fried zucchini. The stir-fry station attempts to follow a popular theme at many Asian restaurants, wherein a patron picks his own ingredients and for a chef to fry. Unfortunately, the store bought sauces, the superfluous addition of water to the mixture, and pre-cooked meats lead to a soupy, unappetizing mess of partially cooked vegetables and cold yet partially overcooked meats. Requesting rice solves these issues, as the starch absorbs a lot of the extra water.
Desserts redeem this dining hall, and most students consume them as a main course. Sherman has a full sundae bar with six flavors of ice cream, a frozen yogurt machine, and several toppings. Patrons additionally can choose to eat just the toppings, for instance, filling a cup with mini M&Ms®. There is also usually an offering of pastries, most of which have a dry texture and little flavor. Luckily, the cookies alone are good enough to balance out the less than desirable pastries, and the blondies surpass even the cookies. With many students choosing to have a plate full of these artery-clogging delicacies for dinner, the freshman fifteen is certainly a possibility here at Brandeis.