Restaurant Review: The savory sizzle of Savor and Sizzle

Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER
Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER

After the opening of Glen Mor’s second half, a well-anticipated new market was made available to students living in the area or dorming. Along with the joint eateries called Savor and Sizzle, a new Starbucks is also in progress, making this the future hotspot for residents or even people walking to their houses on Blaine Street or Watkins Drive. The Marketplace is “the perfect combination of the HUB dining experiences and the C-Store!” as third-year dining employee Rachel Baker exclaimed.

She was definitely not wrong; upon my arrival, I noticed that it was basically one mini-restaurant divided into Savor (home-cooked meals) and Sizzle (the grill), and both sections were emanating delicious indescribable aromas attempting to lure me in to the rows of ropes marking the maze-like lines. After some contemplation, I made my way through the entrance of the Marketplace to the Savor half, I found myself staring at a vast array of side dishes on one side including antipasti salad with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, curried cauliflower, potato salad, fresh fruits and kale with couscous.

Underneath was a selection of cheesecakes (similar to the ones at Spinelli’s in the Lothian Dining Hall after 9 p.m. — which are amazing by the way), including plain and even Oreo cheesecakes. On the next half, the hot entrees for the day featured teriyaki beef short rib and salmon picatta with the sides including a choice of steamed asparagus, mashed potatoes, pilaf and even cheese pupusas (a Salvadorian doughy pancake with cheese inside). Underneath both entree tables were rows and rows of bottled drinks to choose from.

It was $9.59 for a Market Combo (one entree, two sides, one drink), $8.49 for a Regular Combo (one entree, one side, one drink) and around $4.50 for a single entree by itself. I opted for the Regular Combo with the salmon picatta, steamed asparagus, a dinner roll, and some Brisk Iced Tea. Bonus tip! You could have a cookie as a side if you use your meal swipe, although sadly those days are gone for me. An upset-looking lady plopped my food onto a plate and coldly told the guy in front of me that no, there wasn’t gravy for the mashed potatoes.

I walked over to Sizzle where my boyfriend had ordered a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and onion rings. Sizzle had sandwiches like crispy chicken sandwiches, salmon melts and tuna melts, chicken nuggets and tenders, quesadillas, burgers and sides like french fries and onion rings. “My favorite meal would have to be the spicy crispy chicken sandwich; it’s so convenient now that I can just pick one up on the way home to study,” exclaimed second-year student Hrey Li. On the side, there were soups that rotate by day, a fresh make-your-own salad bar, and packed sandwiches like the ones in the C-Store. There were no combos for Sizzle; however, the sandwiches were fairly priced at about $5 so I can’t complain.

As we waited for the freshly made Philly cheesesteak, the bright display of brownies and cookies next to me left my mouth watering for the longest time, so I reassured myself that the fresh food would satisfy. After a gruesome couple of minutes watching the chefs grill sandwiches and the dessert shelf simultaneously, we paid for our meals (no tax!) and went outside to find seating.

One immediate downfall I realized was that there was no indoor seating. Given that it can get very hot or drastically rainy here in Riverside and sometimes the patio shade isn’t enough when it gets humid, I hope they consider placing indoor seating once the Starbucks opens. However, thankfully that day was a warm 81 degrees and sitting outside was really pleasant and calm.

I opened the container of my meal and dug in. After trying one bite of every item on my plate, I concluded that everything tasted a little overdone — the salmon was a bit dry (although I did enjoy the sauces and the display), the asparagus was more flavorless and dry than I had imagined and the roll was just stale. Overall, it wasn’t a very savory meal.

The Philly cheesesteak, on the other hand, was pretty savory. The buns were buttered and grilled to perfection and the melted cheese covering the grilled onions, mushrooms, peppers and beef almost made me regret my salmon. It was a decent size, and even though it wasn’t filling for my boyfriend, it would have been perfect for me.

The onion rings didn’t dissatisfy though. Regardless of the fact that I’ve been craving these babies for the past week, it definitely hit the spot and honestly made my day a little better. It was an okay portion, five rings for $3.09, and with the barbecue sauce: mmmm.

With the opening of Savor and Sizzle, it makes dining on campus even more convenient. Students can grab a meal that’s home-styled, grilled, or cold within minutes and with a grocery store right next to it, you literally save enough gas and time that I’m a little jealous. Even though I might not have enjoyed my own meal as much, the Savor and Sizzle definitely has potential and I can’t wait to see what else they have to offer for students.

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