Food in the Nood: How does U.Va.'s new dining option measure up?


Let’s face it, we’re all annoyed by the hassle of University construction, but we were excited to see if University Dining could really serve up something edible after its culinary overhaul. University Dining has recently undergone several changes, from constructing a temporary dining tent, which was disassembled a bit too quickly to seem safe, to transforming Newcomb into an alleged top-tier dining hall. But perhaps its most exciting new option is serving up food In the Nood.

We feared University Dining would disappoint, fooling us with its clever puns and extensive carb offerings. But this new feature provides a variety of tasty options for a student tired of grilled cheese and pizza. Offering Asian, Italian and American cuisine all in one convenient location, In the Nood is a prime location for a cultural foodie on a college budget.

Compared to other University Dining facilities, this swanky cafe is pricier than many other on-Grounds options. But considering the quality of the food and experience, the meals are reasonably priced for students saving for their liquid diet. All noodle dishes and salads offer two portion sizes to satisfy any appetite. Though students cannot substitute dining hall swipes for meals, In the Nood accepts Cav Advantage and Plus Dollars.

Don’t try to dine here on the weekends, as you’ll be left fully clothed and dissatisfied. You can come get lucky from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.

As for a meal, it was difficult to choose, but Caroline finally decided on the fresh pappardelle with chicken, and peanut butter cheesecake served in a waffle cone. The pappardelle included broccoli, pine nuts and mushrooms for an interesting variety of flavors. The pasta seemed to be coated in butter and was well-seasoned.

Abbi’s pad thai was sweeter than most comparable dishes from local Asian restaurants. The portion size was larger than expected — the half size would have been a full meal. The chocolate cheesecake was soft and good enough to impress even someone with taste buds generally unsatisfied by dessert.

Other options include steamed mussel vermicelli, lobster mac and cheese and peanut red curry with cellophane noodles, which cannot be found on the Corner nor could be offered at such reasonable prices at other Charlottesville restaurants. It even offers a gluten-free potato “pasta” and the option to get any dish with or without meat. If you’re feeling fancy, you could assemble a three — or even five? — course meal by choosing an appetizer, soup or salad, a main entree and treating yourself to dessert.

The food came quickly and steaming hot, fitting for a restaurant called “In the Nood.” The staff appears friendly, knowledgeable and professional. The high quality of the experience was increased by staff members collecting empty plates and striking up conversation with customers, inquiring about how they enjoyed their meals.

A refreshing change from other small on-Grounds dining facilities, In the Nood is spacious, modern and clean. With an air of sophistication enhanced by classy jazz music, the cafe could easily be pictured in a thriving, urban area. A variety of seating options can accommodate large or small groups or even solo foodies. You’ll never find it completely bare, as it has recently become a hot spot for students passing by.

As it is more sophisticated and upscale, this seems like the perfect date place for first years lacking game and a car. No need to swipe your date into the new Newcomb — save those swipes for brunch the next morning with your bros. Spending Plus Dollars here might not be as impressive as real money, but it’s still probably enough to get you that date function invite. If you’re going to take your date somewhere on Grounds, make it In the Nood. Who knows: maybe it’ll be foreshadowing for after your date?

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