Friday, January 22, 2010

Mallot Commons

After reviewing McConnell Bistro at Pitzer College, I heard that Mallot Commons, the dining hall for Scripps College was even better!! David Allen reviewed Mallot Commons a couple years ago.  So I had to see for myself, how Mallot Commons compares. Mallot Commons is located at 9th Street and Columbia. There is street parking on Columbia. But depending on when you go, there may not be many open spaces.

Mallot is set up, like McConnell Bistro, in that there are many stations. I will review each station and the food offered at each station. The big difference is that Mallot Commons is run by a company called Sodexo Campus Service. So there are different chefs, menus and quality of food and services.

The cost for dinner was $13.50; don't worry I'll talk much more about that, later in this review.

The salad bar was huge, with a large selection of fresh veggies. I just got romaine lettuce and honey mustard dressing. Fresh and crispy. The honey mustard was great. Most honey mustard dressing has a bolder, spicier flavor. But I prefer this more subtle, lighter honey mustard dressing.

The next station was the grill. They have burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken breast and fried cod.

Fried cod-these were frozen pieces of cod covered in a heavy batter, a lot more batter than fish. I would bet there was a 70/30, batter to fish, ratio. How do I know they were frozen pieces of cod. I saw them frying up a new batch of frozen cod, straight from the box into the fryer. Come on now, make things from scratch. The taste is about the same as a Long John's Silver. In other words, nothing special. Tartar sauce was very good, tangy with a hint of mustard.

The grilled chicken breast was great. Well marinated with a light, I believe Italian style marinate. Grilled just right and full of flavor. My favorite part of dinner. I guess they were meant for sandwiches, but just having a few pieces of chicken, veggies, and rice would make a great meal.

The burger. These are frozen patties grilled up and put under the heat lamps. They are not cooked to order. There is a nice topping bar, filled with all kinds of condiments and fresh toppings. But these burgers are so average. Just like any regular burger.

They had four types of pizza, cheese, veggie, Hawaiian, and pepperoni. The crust was so soggy and just bad. But the cheese and pepperoni were top notch. Tons of great tasting cheese and a spicy pepperoni. But the crust just ruined it. If they made a good crust, this would be a great pizza.

The main entree is next to the pizza but I didn't get a picture. This is the grilled tilapia with pineapple chutney and coconut rice. The tilapia was dry a bit salty. But for some reason this dish was also running low, every time I went by the station. The pieces of pineapple were so hard and chewy, it ruined this dish.

The rice was off. Too sweet, with the coconut. Just make rice pilaf. Keep it simple.

The last station has the nightly special; tonight it was sushi, soups and desserts. I was only able to get a picture of the sushi portion.

Sushi pieces included:

California roll-Fresh avocado and imitation crab. I would rate this a 7.
Tuna roll-Again fresh but the tuna lacked flavor. About a 5.
Veggie roll-Made with mushrooms, pretty good but I wouldn't order this again.
Salmon roll-Nice fresh piece of salmon, good rice and seaweed wrap.
Crab roll-A good piece of imitation crab meat. About a 6.

The soup was clam chowder. Nice and thick, with lots of clams but not much potatoes, a good thing. I did enjoy this clam chowder and it hit the spot on a cold rainy night.

I made a chocolate chip cookie frozen yogurt sandwich. The cookie was freshly baked and was soft, with melting chocolate chips. Very good stuff. The chocolate yogurt was nothing special, even though it was labeled Dryer's brand frozen yogurt.

Mallot Commons is relatively small and I hated how the traffic flowed. There are dining rooms at both ends and the food stations are in the middle of the commons. But it gets so packed in the narrow hallways and the food station. The sushi line was so popular there was a long line that prevented people from getting to parts of the salad bar, the soups and desserts. The dining rooms are loud because of the low ceilings and the small size of the room. Ok, I know this is for college kids but not a good dining experience.

Service, by the hostesses and cashiers, left a lot to be desired. Honestly it was terrible. Though service by the people serving and cooking the food was good. There are two entrances into Mallot. I was meeting a friend but I didn't know about the two entrances. I went into one entrance and asked if I could look for my friend. She was nice and I found my friend at the other entrance. We went to pay and the old lady at the register was rude and slow and should not be working with the public. My friend paid in cash and it took this lady forever to count the money and give change. I mean, when paying $15, it shouldn't take 15 minutes to get chance. I actually got tired of waiting and went to the other entrance. Which brings me to the price.

I went by Mallot earlier in the week and asked the cashier how much was dinner. I was told $8. I didn't eat that night but I wanted to see what they had to offer. But tonight, I went there and they said $13.50. I told them I thought it was $8. They told me, that is the price for staff and professors. I can't help I was ripped off because there are NO prices listed. I mean it can't take that long to price up a price list. What is to prevent the lady from pocketing the extra $5. They need to put a sign with the prices listed!!!

For the very average quality of the food, $13.50 was very overpriced. This is no better than Hometown Buffet, which has more selection. At $8, it would be worth the price. But most of the dishes was average at best.

I was taking pictures of stations and the cashier came up and said no pictures inside. Why not? What do they have to hide? Nothing is top secret in the food business. You should be proud of the food you're serving. Ok she was nice about it and really, why are they paranoid about the somebody taking pictures?

Ok, I realize the dining common is meant for students, who come in, swipe their ID cards and start eating. But these people are dealing with the public, maybe even the parents of the kids. But that doesn't mean they can treat the kids badly either. Sure, kids can be a pain, just look at those comments by that snotty punk Pitzer kid, from my McConnell Hall review, but those kids deserve better treatment by the cashiers. The cashiers really need to learn the meaning of customer service.

I believe Scripps is the all women's college. But there are many male students eating there since students from all five Claremont Colleges are allowed to eat at any dining hall.

I would not go back to Mallot Commons. The food is no better than Hometown Buffet and the overall experience makes one feel as though, they just fought rush hour traffic just to get dinner. Add to that the rude service from the cashiers and you got a perfect combination for a bad dining experience.