Fantastic Food at Fifty One-O-One
At the 5101 Restaurant located in the Student Center, culinary students make dishes for different themes every week. This week’s theme was Northern Italian. The following is an overview and review of some of the dishes.
BLT Salad: Rather than being served as a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with mayo, the same ingredients was served but in salad form. The lettuce was at the bottom of the plate with the mayo underneath, and the bread, tomato, and bacon was cut up and placed on top of the lettuce. The overall presentation was good; the only detail that I did not like was that the mayo was under the lettuce. The bacon was grilled and cured at the restaurants and it tasted very good, like salty ham.
Chicken Cacciatore: A pasta chicken dish served with roasted potatoes, mushrooms, red onions, tomatoes, and fresh herbs with a tomato sauce. The chicken was braised and boneless (and Halal) and was juicy and delicious. The tomato sauce was what really tied the dish together because it was very rich and had a strong flavor.
Lasagne Bolognese: This was made with a ragu of Bolognese, béchamel sauce, and parmesan cheese, layered between sheets of spinach pasta. The Bolognese meat sauce was very sweet but delicious.
Salmone ai Cartoccio: The salmon was first served in a bag to help preserve all of the juices inside while it was cooking and was brought on a different plate. The waiter cut the bag open and placed the salmon onto the main entree plate that included roasted tomatoes, olives, asparagus, and roasted potatoes. The salmon was very delicate and enjoyable and the juices made the salmon melt in my mouth.
Whitefish Acqua Pazza: A sautéed whitefish, which had olive tapenade, which is olives ground into a paste, on top of the fish. The fish was sautéed with Swiss chard, grilled ciabatta, and topped with a very spicy tomato broth called acqua pazza, which means “jump around in your mouth.” The acqua pazza on the dish was not that spicy, but the chef brought out the same sauce again, but it was spicier. The acqua pazza was made with paraded raw tomatoes, a herby broth, and chicken stock and the process to make it was long and complicated.
Veal Scallopine Saltimbocca: The veal was sautéed with sage, sundried tomatoes, shallots, and topped with melted Fontana. The sauce was very strong and the veal was very tender. All in all, it was a very well-prepared dish.
Lobster, Shrimp and Scallop Alfredo: This dish had a very creamy and rich sauce on it, which in modern Northern Italian foods rarely happens because Italians generally like to keep their dishes simple. However, the sauce was very light, and fresh. The alfredo sauce was made with garlic, parmesan cheese, and homemade fettuccine.
Chicken and Artichoke Pasta: The Halal chicken was Julienned in pasta mixed with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, pomodoro (tomato) sauce, with handmade fettuccine, fresh herbs, and garlic and topped with roasted cashews. The sauce was tangy but good.
Chicken Pesto Panino: This dish was overall my favorite. The Halal chicken was marinated with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, red onion, and pesto sauce stuffed inside a grilled cibatta. The cibatta was very crunchy and the ingredients were strong and detectable. The dish also came with a small side of the day’s deli salad, which looked delicious.
Every dish was unique and definitely not anything I was expecting. What I did not like about the dishes was that they had a lot of strong flavors in them. Italians generally like to keep their foods mild and simple. It is on very special occasions, such as Christmas or a birthday, that Italians like to make their dishes more extravagant and heavenly with spices. What was served was what you would expect to see in Italian restaurants in America, not in Italy. However, I did enjoy the food which and the chef and cooks did an excellent job on the service and their presentation of the dishes.
The restaurant also has a special event on November 14 called the Holiday Buffet.
The restaurant is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:30 am to 1 pm. They also serve on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6-7:45 pm.
The following chart lists the themes throughout November.