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Most people would tell you that the only fine dining on Penn's campus is at Penne, La Terrasse or Pod, and that if you want truly exquisite delicacies, you have to go downtown.

Those people obviously haven't been to College Buffet.

Of course, College Buffet is anything but fine dining. It's just that people who use words like "exquisite delicacies" and "fine dining" aren't exactly the clientele College Buffet is gunning for.

Rather, The Buffet, as its handful of devotees affectionately call it, is more interested in feeding work-study kids desperate for as much food as they can get for as little money as possible.

On this count, College Buffet succeeds admirably. Despite a recent 70-cent price increase, making dinner all of $7.65, the revolutionary "buffet-style" dining policy allows diners to eat as much as they want.

Grab your plate and get some food. Leave your plate on the table when you're done -- they'll take it for you. Then, go up, get another plate, and get more food. The cycle of consumption doesn't end until you decide it should.

The meal at College Buffet, like Gaul, is divided into three parts. First, one of the many members of College Buffet's wait staff handles your beverage, which for my guest and I was water.

The second course is the keystone of the College Buffet experience. Chafing dish upon dish of warm foods await the diners at the buffet line. College Buffet boasts more than thirty different items in its culinary arsenal, and that's not including the ingredients in the salad bar.

The quality of the food varies from the decent -- the barbeque ribs are better than T.G.I. Friday's -- to the barely edible -- mussels aren't the right choice at a place like this, let alone mussels soaked in lo mein sauce. And then there's the downright indiscernible: one fried item featured a crab-claw looking device at one end, and inside looked like a cylinder of white gelatin. "It kind of tastes like crab," my guest remarked. "I can see where they were going with this."

Finally, there's dessert, which is pretty much just cookies and Jell-O, as well as a carrot cake which we could only tell was a carrot cake because of the orange icing with a green dot in the middle.

The food is exactly what you'd expect at a $7.65 buffet, and the restaurant itself -- the dining room at least -- is clean, quiet and comfortable.

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