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Underrated no more: Late Meal’s astounding meal choices

Vodka-sauce pasta with a slice of garlic bread.
Russell Fan / The Daily Princetonian

At The Prospect, writers often review one of the many restaurants in town, from those that students frequent to some of the restaurants farther out. But we've overlooked late meal on campus, which remains one of the most popular options for students.

Some pick up a quick snack, like a Tico’s smoothie, while others order a more substantial meal, such as a burger. The variety offered at late meal is reliable in availability and consistent in quality. Though I have not tried everything served throughout late lunch and late dinner, I have tasted enough of it that I can recommend my top three choices, in no particular order, for anyone who still has yet to try Frist Campus Center’s late meal. These will remain as my go-to late meal choices, despite the fact that I'll have to pay for them as an upperclass student next school year. 


Taco Bar’s burrito bowl

When I started frequenting Frist for late lunch this semester, the burrito bowl immediately became a staple in my repertoire of meal choices. My go-to order consists of a base of yellow rice and either chicken or chorizo (occasionally carne asada if available), with pico de gallo, guacamole, cilantro cream, and shredded cheese as toppings.

The first bite of the burrito bowl yields an explosion of flavors that satisfies my taste buds. The meat, whether it is the stringy chicken, spicy chorizo, or chewy carne asada, is extremely savory. The pico de gallo provides a bit of a kick and a tint of freshness. The scoop of guacamole and dash of cilantro cream sauce give the bowl enough condiments to complement the rest of the ingredients very nicely without making it soggy. 

Each scoop of meat, rice, and the messy mixture of the salsa, guacamole, and cilantro cream fills me with a myriad of motley flavors and textures, ultimately comprising a well-balanced, satiating meal. The decent proportion of ingredients given in the bowl make for it to be an optimal serving for lunch that isn’t so filling so as to make you overly drowsy for your afternoon classes. 

Grill Station’s quesadilla

Usually, I get the signature-blend cheeseburger combo from the Grill Station, especially on days when I am craving something more greasy and sizable. However, the quesadilla is certainly a top contender for best item from the grill. It is not as oily or indulgent as some of the other items offered on the Grill Station’s menu, but its enjoyability is still comparable.


When ordering, I alternate between chicken and steak as my choice of protein for the filling. The portion, I would say, does seem a bit smaller than what I would have usually expected in such a dish. However, the taste of it more than makes up for the quesadilla’s size. The chunks of meat strung up with the melted shredded cheese pair well with the firm, warm tortilla to provide the perfect bite. The delectable conglomeration of the savoriness of the meat and sharpness of the cheese, all encased in a lightly-crisped tortilla, is satisfying during a late-night study session. 

I highly suggest having the quesadilla with guacamole and/or sour cream, as they pair well with the heartiness of the compressed meat and cheese inside the tortilla and augment their combined flavors.

Pizza Station’s pasta

Many students enjoy late meal because of the grab-and-go nature of many of the items offered at the various stations in the Frist Food Gallery. Yet, I believe that the pasta, cooked on the spot at the Pizza Station, is a dish that is worth waiting for. After choosing a base sauce for the pasta to be cooked in, I usually only need to wait under five minutes before the made-to-order pasta is finished. A tray of seasonings from which students add some spices or other condiments to their pasta is also provided. 

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My usual order is either wide rigatoni in vodka sauce or wide fettuccine in bolognese sauce, topped off with a generous amount of olive oil, pepper, parmesan cheese, and pepper flakes. All pasta orders come with a slice of garlic bread. Whether the pasta is cooked in vodka or bolognese sauce, the pasta is consistently al dente. Each individual pasta is lathered in the chosen sauce, helping balance each bite between the chewy grain of the pasta and the mildly-flavorful sauce. The seasonings enhance the savoriness of the sauce-covered pasta by contributing notes of spice and richness. The warm garlic bread goes nicely with the dish and is perfect for dipping into the leftover sauce at the bottom of the bowl. 

This is certainly a comforting, hearty meal that warrants a nap right afterwards.

Russell Fan is an assistant editor for The Prospect at the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at, or on Instagram @russell__fan.