Sunday, November 8, 2009

Riverview Dining Room: A Look at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

To end my school week I ate at the Riverview Dining Room on Thursday. The Riverview Dining Room is located on the third floor of the University Center at UM-Flint. For $5.99, the Dining Room serves an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet between 11 am and 2:30 pm. It's open to all students and staff, and it's even open to the general public. 

While there were many options at the buffet, I chose the cheese ravioli in marinara sauce with a side of broccoli (pictured right). It was decently good, too. The broccoli was crisp and tasted pretty fresh. It wasn't soggy, like it had been sitting out for a while. The ravioli was stuffed full of cheese and I was given plenty of sauce too. I would have liked a bigger portion, but it wasn't a big deal because I could have gotten more if I wanted. The other meal to choose from was spaghetti and fried clams. I'm not a fan of fried clams so I didn't really want to try it. 

For my second dish I got the pasta with Alfredo sauce (pictured left). This is something that the Dining Room offers every day. They usually change the type of pasta. One day it will be spaghetti noodles, or fettucini noodles, and the next it could be rotini or shells. I know that changing the pasta isn't a big deal, but it's nice to see that they put a little effort into making it slightly different everyday. 

The sauces are always the same too. You can choose between marinara, cheese, or Alfredo. This time I got the Alfredo. It was pretty good too. The sauce was thick and flavorful, but the server put too much on. Next time I will stop him after two spoonfuls because three was just too many. 

For dessert I had the choice of Oreo Crumble Pudding or Raspberry Jell-O Parfait (pictured left). I went with the Jell-O because I recently had a bad experience with pudding. So the Jell-O was good. It tasted like it should, like raspberry Jell-O, and the whipped cream was a nice addition. It wasn't runny and the Jell-O had just the right amount of jiggle. 

All-in-all I think that the Riverview Dining Room is a great deal. It has two meal options that change every day, and there's always a soup and salad bar, a waffle and cereal bar, and a pizza and pasta bar. 

However, the Riverview Dining Room has been under scrutiny by a lot of UM-Flint students, especially those that live in the dorms. The dorm students are required to buy a meal plan to use in the Dining Room. According to a recent article in The Michigan Times, students are concerned that the meal plans and dining options are overpriced. One student states that they "don't usually have time to go through a buffet to sit down and eat." From my experience, even if you only have 15 minutes, it's worth it to go to the Dining Room. It's usually better priced than grabbing a meal somewhere else, and the Dining Room is now offering a To-Go service, where you can take one serving of a meal with you. 

Even so, I'm all for the Riverview Dining Room because I think it's conveniently located on campus of UM-Flint, it's decently affordable, and the main menu changes everyday. 

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