When the Food Snob heard the Insider was paying a visit to the UNH School of Law this week, our taste buds perked right up. Rumors of the law school cafeteria, the Jury Box Cafe, had reached our desk before. If it's classy enough fare for future lawyers and judges, but cheap enough for law students on a tight budget, it must be right in the Snob's wheelhouse. So, we gathered up a dining companion and headed over.
At first blush, the little nook seemed like a standard college eatery: some round tables, simple soups and sandwiches, and students taking absentminded bites while buried in their books. A little small talk with Brian Daniels and Chad Smith, who put together the menu, and we could see there was more than met the eye.
"We're not a cafeteria," Daniels said. "We're a cafe." He regaled us with tales of catering to hungry law students; we came close to revealing ourselves as the Snob when he mentioned a request to heat up gazpacho, but we held our tongue.
We opted for some hot, hearty food on that rainy fall day. The Snob ordered a BLT on wheat and a cup of soup, and our dining companion went with a turkey pastrami sandwich.
We strolled over to the drink cooler and were both shocked and delighted to see that there were cans of both Moxie and Tab available. Ever the saccharine hipster, we gloated about liking Moxie "before it was cool" and ordered a Tab.
We barely had time to finish ladling out our cup of cheddar vegetable chowder before our sandwiches were ready to devour. We got right down to business.
A turkey pastrami sandwich ($5) isn't traditional cafeteria fare, so it had immediately caught our eye. The meat was tender and not stringy, seasoned just enough to provide a peppery element without being overpowering. The bread itself was worthy of mention, as the giant slabs of wheat were perfectly soft and made the sandwich feel like a meal. The only regret was that we neglected to add cheese to our order.
The BLT ($5) was just what one would expect: crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes and lettucey lettuce, with a hint of mayo. It came on the aforementioned slabs of wheat bread, truly some of the thickest, fluffiest bread to ever flank a sandwich. It only got better when dipped into our soup. The cheddar vegetable chowder ($2.50) was excellent, with broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, onions and potatoes swirling in a cheesey base. Perfect fare for a rainy day, and the ultimate accompaniment for a BLT.
The blueberry muffin ($1.25) we ordered for dessert was equally satisfying, extremely moist on the inside with a sweet and sugary top. This was no pre-packaged muffin; in fact, it was displayed right out of the oven in its muffin pan. The interior was chock full of fresh blueberries, and although the item is more commonly considered a breakfast treat, it was an delicious cap to the afternoon meal.