Posted by Jay Watson on Wednesday, October 2, 2013
As folks in the know will tell you, Nashville is a great food city. From haute cuisine to the food truck scene, Nashville has a thriving culinary community. Twice a year, a group of local eateries – known as the Nashville Originals – offers menu specials for Restaurant Week, a celebration of “independent restaurants and local dining.” It’s a great way to try new places and support local businesses.
But at Vanderbilt you don’t have to go off campus to get great food. In fact, with over a dozen locations, Vanderbilt Campus Dining offers the VU community a wealth of on-campus options. And since Campus Dining has won multiple awards for excellence, you’re definitely going to want to try them all. Last week, in celebration of the high-quality eats on campus, I undertook my own “Vanderbilt Restaurant Week,” in which I sampled some of what campus dining has to offer.
Here’s a taste:
Monday @ Grins
Grins Vegetarian Café, located in the Schulman Center for Jewish Life, offers paninis, salads, wraps, and more, all prepared in a Kosher-bcertified kitchen. The name Grins comes from the Yiddish word for vegetables, and is pronounced like the word greens. I try to keep this straight by remembering the focus on vegetarian fare, but I usually slip and pronounce it wrong anyway. Whatever you call it, the food is excellent. On Monday I had the caprese panini, a grilled sourdough sandwich filled with marinated tomatoes, basil pesto aioli, baby spinach, and mozzarella. What makes this a great sandwich is the perfect combination of the melted mozzarella, the tangy marinated tomatoes, and the crunchy toasted bread.
Tuesday @ The Ingram Commons
The Commons Center dining hall, the primary dining option for first-year students living on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, offers a wide-range of options, all of them delicious. From the brick-oven pizza to the extensive salad bar to the wok station, I often find it hard to choose because everything looks so good. My usual go-to meal at The Ingram Commons is the salmon with steamed vegies at the Chef’s Table. Last week, however, I went with a customized salad, chicken fingers from the grill, and a giant slice of chocolate cake, one of the incredible dessert options that are always on display.
Wednesday @ Bamboo Bistro
Bamboo Bistro in Alumni Hall is a new addition to the campus dining scene, serving Asian-inspired options like bahn mi sandwiches, noodle bowls, and salads. This was my first visit, and I tried the Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup. One of the coolest things about the Bamboo Bistro is that you get to choose your own ingredients, so I loaded up with noodles, beef, green onions, jalapenos, cilantro, carrots, mint, peanuts, chili powder, and a lime wedge. If I order the soup again, I’ll ask for extra chili powder and jalapenos.
Thursday @ Pi
You’ve got to love a pizza place with a math pun for a name. Located in the Rand lounge, Pi serves made-to-order brick oven pizzas. These individual pies come hot out of the oven with a crispy crust and bubbling cheese. They’re the perfect accompaniment for a personalized salad from the neighboring café, Leaf. On my visit last week, I opted for a pizza topped with artichoke and roasted red peppers and was thoroughly impressed.
Friday @ Rand
The Rand dining hall has long been a staple of campus dining. This past year, Rand underwent a thorough renovation in which the main dining area was completely overhauled and reorganized. The resulting space has a better traffic flow, a modern look, and, most importantly, great food. Like The Commons, Rand offers a lot of options, including traditional comfort food, Tex Mex, and a deli. I chose to go for the Mediterranean fare, selecting a beef pita topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce. Side options include babganoush, hummus, or lintels and rice. And, best of all, they have baklava for dessert.
Posted in General Information, Living on Campus, Student Life and tagged: Bamboo Bistro, Grins, Leaf, Nashville, Nashville Originals, pi, Rand, Restaurant Week, The Commons Center, Vanderbilt Campus Dining
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