On Nov. 20, this opinion writer walked into Goudy Commons to answer a single question: After a semester stricken with difficulties stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, was Goudy Dining Commons still the same? Here is a brief review of one meal at Goudy from someone who hasn’t eaten there since last year.
Appetizer - Caprese Salad:
The salad base - a garden blend with flecks of spinach and romaine - proved tough and chewy, though not altogether unpleasant. A watery vinegar dressing complimented the surprisingly round and sweet red tomatoes, and perfectly diced chunks of mozzarella added body to the salad. Though perhaps not a true caprese, it was truly appetizing.
Soup - Tomato Basil Soup:
A rich tomato and herb smell gave way to a textured and complex soup that certainly presented more flavor than met the eye. There was a disconcerting level of sandy grit present in the soup, but the seeds and leaves left as texture added a most welcome pep and variety of flavor. Notes of salty stock mingled with a dizzying array of herbs like oregano and basil. Cloyingly sweet but certainly wholesome, the soup warmed my stomach and spirit alike.
Entrée - Spicy Garlic Tofu
Though my walk home in the cold congealed the potent salsa verde, it proved a laudable condiment with the versatility to bring the dish together. Ruddy spiced Spanish rice added a heat that worked well with the slightly undercooked but tasty black beans to provide a protein-packed spoonful. The tofu stole the show, silky-soft and fully marinated in a sauce that married citrus and spice. The provided sour cream cooled the whole affair down, but not before all the flavors intermingled. All in all, a worth main dish.
Main course - Beyond Burger with cheese:
The burger was meaty and tender all at once, a rarity for meatless options in the best of circumstances. Tasty condiments were kept fresh in a thin sheet of plastic, and despite the rubbery texture of the lettuce, both it and tomato added a heavy crunch to the sandwich. A soft, golden bun held everything together.
Broccoli and curly fries were provided as sides. The broccoli was fork tender and still steaming, albeit bland and unseasoned. The fries were tough, but the cooked shell on the outside gave way to fluffy, flavorful spuds.
Ambience and service:
At first glance, Goudy held a tremendous autumnal cheer. Plump pumpkins leaned against the walls, and seasonal harvest displays of bright corn and squash added a color that complemented the variety of food being served. The serving staff were kind and helpful, obviously well rehearsed on how to guide lost souls to their next meal. Service was prompt and without fuss even though few people lingered in the cafeteria, and obtrusive but clearly marked signs indicated the direction traffic was meant to go. Plasticware dispensers dotted the commons, as did sanitizing and napkin stations. The echo of laughter and clattering of dishes accompanied the hum of equipment served as a reminder that despite new precautions, the spirit of Goudy lived on.
What were the takeaways? Solid food, committed staff and a bevy of options make Goudy worth returning to again and again. Though a few improvements could certainly be made, the fare was flavorful, hearty and all-you-care-to-eat for a measly $9. For better or for worse, Goudy’s food—if not its social atmosphere—at least appears to be the same as it has always been.