Students will be shocked by the bourgeois selection of foods at The Study at Hedrick if they thought dining halls couldn’t top the flamboyance of Bruin Plate with its ambient jazz music and organic tempeh and quinoa bowls.
The Study has moved past pretentious and entered a new realm of extravagance with offensively large macarons and on-tap kombucha.
The Study at Hedrick opened on Jan. 8 and is the first late-night dining hall with a 24/7 study space. Replacing Bruin Cafe as the new post-midnight snack swipe location, The Study features a large range of flavors and dishes suitable for all meal periods.
Crepes (3 paws)
Available in both sweet and savory varieties, the crepes are versatile enough to be an appropriate choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night. The sweet Chocolate-Hazelnut with Seasonal Fruit Crepe has an exquisite balance of rich, smooth chocolatey spread and sweet, firm bits of fruit. However, the large strawberries make it difficult to eat because the flimsy crepe cannot hold them up properly.
The savory Sausage, Mushroom and Gouda Crepe exemplifies complementary flavors of sharp cheese and seasoned sausage. However, the greasiness of the crepe also makes it overwhelmingly heavy. The crepe is an excellent late-night indulgence, but too greasy and unfulfilling to serve as a conventional meal.
Tartines (1.5 paws)
The tartines, a concept that showed a lot of potential, are ultimately disappointing. The visually appealing tartines are made of rustic, thick-cut bread topped with common sandwich ingredients such as melted cheese and runny yolks characteristic of perfect sunny-side-up eggs. Beneath the aesthetic layer, however, the dining experience does not live up to the fancy names and enticing displays.
The Croque Madame is essentially a gourmet ham and cheese sandwich topped with another layer of cheese and egg. It has comforting flavors but is overshadowed by the amounts of butter soaked throughout, so a pile of greasy napkins will accumulate quickly beside it. The bacon and cheese on the Euro Breakfast Tartine, another savory option, is virtually tasteless and overpowered by a confusing garnish of shaved pickles.
Lighter fare such as the Apple & Brie as well as the Roasted Squash & Blue Cheese tartines are slightly better. The Apple & Brie lacks a cohesive flavor, because the cheese, sliced apples and arugula seem to be separate components instead of a singular dish. But the Roasted Squash & Blue Cheese almost redeems the other tartines – the flavors are subtle but complement each other underneath a pumpkin seed and granola topping, which adds texture to the soft ingredients.
Breakfast (5 paws)
Located next to the tartines at the breakfast station are hearty dishes such as the Bircher Muesli with Nuts and a selection of Belgian waffles. A warm chocolate sauce covers the Chocolate Ganache & Candied Orange waffle, garnished with fresh orange slices and candy citrus slivers coated in sugar. The simple and classic flavor combination allows each ingredient to be savored without being overbearing. Unlike the waffles at Rendezvous, which can be overly crispy, the Belgian waffles at The Study are soft and chewy. The muesli, essentially a cold oatmeal, provides a healthier food option, and because it’s served cold, it’s convenient to order quickly and eat on the go before class.
Sandwiches (4 paws)
The sandwiches are a major highlight of The Study. With a range of unconventional choices including Hungarian Fennel Chicken and Grilled Eggplant with Havarti sandwiches, The Study combines a variety of ingredients and spices. The Cheese, Quince and Whole Grain Mustard demonstrates the expert flavor combinations that The Study’s sandwiches display, from its quince spread to the Jarlsberg cheese.
The Rustic Roasted Turkey exemplifies The Study’s impeccable ability to blend contrasting flavors: The sharp taste of mustard, creamy flavor of mayonnaise and acidic tang of tomato work well to create a hearty sandwich. When comparing the sandwiches to those at Bruin Cafe, the choices at The Study are notably more inventive without compromising flavor. The one issue with the sandwiches is the hard, untoasted slabs of baguette which make the sandwiches difficult to bite into and leave scratches on the roof of the mouth.
[Read more: A fond farewell to late-night Bruin Cafe sandwiches]
The Salad Trio (.5 paws)
The worst option present at The Study is the Marketplace Salad Trio. Disappointingly sour and overwhelmingly oily, each of the dishes available for the meal combination tastes like a variation of the same greasy, acidic potato salad doused in varying levels of vinegar. The Torn Pasta Salad looks deceptively enticing from the display window, but the vibrant, red sauce tastes like a glorified vinaigrette, an inappropriate topping for a pasta salad.
Beverages (4 paws)
The Study also has a cold beverage bar, which includes juices, kombucha, fruit spritzers and blended teas. The spritzers combine classic fruit flavors with herbs such as thyme and elderflower, complete with muddled fruit compote at the bottom. They have trace amounts of sweetness, but provide a good alternative to late-night boba or soft drinks at Rendezvous or Bruin Cafe.
Dessert/Baked Goods (4 paws)
The dessert selection at The Study is impressively expansive. A whole section of The Study’s cafe space is devoted to gourmet pastries.
The Triple Chocolate Mousse Verrine with its layers of white, milk and dark chocolate mousse stacked on top of each other is a rich and creamy indulgence that is capable of satisfying any sweet-tooth cravings. The other options like the Chocolate Raspberry Macaron and Speculaas Cookie, although appetizing, are unnecessarily pretentious and far too small to be worth a swipe, even if they come with a 12 or 16-ounce drink.
Instead, opting for a coffee drink and a richer, more filling verrine is a heartier suggestion for those needing a boost while studying – or watching Netflix – in the cafe’s study rooms.
In general, the selections at The Study are diverse and display an impressive range of flavors, from savory to sharp to sweet. The fare at The Study can be likened to Bruin Plate, despite The Study’s tendency to use excessive grease in some menu items. Although some options are better executed than others, the spectrum of flavors is an asset for the newest dining hall on the Hill.