Restaurant Review: Lowenstein Cafe, a Cornucopia of Choices


After carefully evaluating the food, selection and atmosphere of Lowenstein Café, I give it a 2.5 out of 5 spirit stars. (Sara Azoulay/The Observer)

Welcome to the dining place of students and professors alike who glide around the single food aisle, sniffing at the freshly-served special of the day, the crispy rotating chicken and fries, the broken cappuccino machine and the recently established sushi section. They eye the salad bar and guess how much mayonnaise is really in the tuna and wonder if anyone will notice if they stealthily stuff 30 packages of crackers into their pockets.

The universe of Lowenstein Cafe is one of fluorescent frenzy and has the charm of a Little Italy-food-hall-meets-classic-Midwestern-cafeteria. The glass case located at the entrance of the buffet represents the Parisian cafe portion of the cafeteria and is filled with doughnuts, turnovers and other Belgian things rolled and buttered and twisted and fried. The trouble with this little case, however, is that it is not so Parisian.  Parisians probably do not eat doughnuts the size of small basketballs or stale croissants lacking butter. The trick to this case is to only eat the baked goods early in the morning.

After they’ve sampled the sweeter delicacies, they can roam over to the deli area where a variety of meals can be whipped up before their eyes by a chef in a white hat who will eagerly take your order but may forget what sort of sauce you requested and exchange  hummus for mustard. If this happens, rest assured that your order will promptly be corrected and that your new wrap will be so heavy on the hummus that you’ll never want to look at a chickpea again. The Italian section of the cafeteria consists of the pasta dishes neatly stacked in place and topped with cheeses of all varieties (or mostly just parmesan). Although the Italian section is somewhat lacking in variety (one dish), the pasta dishes are surprisingly tasty and cheesy. On certain days, the Italian section is dominated by the chicken pot pies which take the pastas’ place. On these days, the Italian population of Fordham can go eat somewhere else.

The best thing about Lowenstein Cafe is that you are free to seat yourself. Not only can you choose your own seats, but you can also choose who you sit with. This means that if your friends are being  huge pains in the ass, you can plop yourself down at the table of some strangers, agree with everything that’s being said (of course you still trade Pokémon cards), throw in some empathetic nods and bam, you’re on your way to making new friends. You can even sit by yourself and drive away perspective sitters by spreading your books all over the table.

As for the decor of the cafeteria, green seems to be the color of choice. Green isn’t Fordham’s official color, but it does give the cafeteria a “hospital chic” vibe.

When dining in the Fordham cafeteria, beware of the brand name snacks by the register. They tend to be overpriced in comparison to their grocery store counterparts ($2.50 for an Odwalla bar) and be sure to stop by the fresh, build your own salad bar, as there are very few places where you can mix olives, beans, cheese and peas (if for some reason you crave this combination).

The variety of the cafeteria may be limited, but the school spirit emanating from within is priceless. This is a place of meetings, greetings, school projects and comparisons of unidentifiable dishes. I give Lowenstein Cafe 2.5 spirit stars out of 5.