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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Food compromised for more TVs

    Food compromised for more TVs

    Championship Dining needs to enjoy their laurels while they can, before their customers realize the food is all part of an illusion driven by convenient television viewing and upscale decor.

    Located on the southeast edge of campus at East Sixth Street and North Campbell Avenue, Championship Dining may only care to serve to residents of the Sam Hughes neighborhood. Two friends and I put this “”champion”” to the test, and we can’t figure out what it offers the average student.

    We all like to think the average student watches his budget, or rather, Mom and Dad’s budget. Between the three of us, we shared two entrees, one beverage, one appetizer and two desserts for approximately $60, which does not include higher-priced fare such as steak or any alcohol.

    If a student can afford an $18 entree called Free-Range Chicken, it should taste like $18 free-range chicken. Admittedly, it was moist and tender – as chicken should be – but the herb jus that it promised was actually a pool of salty garlic marinade.

    If you don’t like garlic, the rest of the dish won’t please you. The accompanying broccoli and Sam Hughes Potatoes were completely drenched in the herb jus. Sam Hughes Potatoes means chewy, wet potato bites and tidbits of red and green peppers.

    According to the menu, a risotto cake was supposed to come with this entree. The lost risotto cake has yet to turn up.

    My two friends shared a Sam Hughes Burger. They characterized the burger as “”just OK”” – a little dry but somewhat saved by the thick, but less-than-crispy fries.

    With any dish, the hope is that flavors will compliment one another. The Smoked Salmon Sliders came to us as four little sandwiches delicately arranged in the center of the plate underneath a mountain of mixed greens. In between two tiny slices of white bread were smoked salmon, cucumber, shallots and dill-caper crème fraiche. On the palette, this combination of flavors begs the question “”Why did you put this with that?””

    Up until the last dessert, the food was unmemorable but forgivable. We forgave the creme brulee for its extra sweetness, but there’s little to remember about its nonexistent vanilla flavor (due to “”old vanilla beans,”” according to my pastry chef friend).

    The Traditional N.Y. Cheesecake – a whopping $8 – is an eyesore, with a heap of mashed, canned cherries dropped all over the cheesecake. If you scrape away the sour cherries, hoping to enjoy just the cake, you may find that the sour cherries aren’t that bad compared to the salty cheesecake. Too much cheese is likely what gives it the not-so-delightful salty aftertaste.

    Occasionally a restaurant can be saved by its ambience. If you like sports, then yes, you’ll probably get at least a giggle out of Championship Dining, with its ample flat-screen televisions, including a wall-size television in the private dining room that is always tuned to sports channels. I hate to say it, but the décor, though boring for my non-sports-watching self, was the highlight of the evening. Dark woods, shiny surfaces, warm colors, comfy seating and historical photos all lend to a classy and safe interior.

    As far as service goes, we certainly were treated like students. Though not burned in the wood or etched in the marble, haughtiness dripped from the polos and designer bags of some patrons. This is all fine and well, no offense to the clothing and accessories themselves, but my party and I were treated like the no-frills clothing we wore.

    A computer glitch caused our appetizer and entrées to arrive together approximately a half-hour after we ordered. And though this might seem a bit picky, after a meal with a $60 price tag, it would be nice to be asked if we would like dessert before the check arrives.

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