When people think about the typical college meal, they are usually referring to quick, easy and inexpensive foods.
However, I don't think it's fair for college students to limit themselves to Ramen Noodles and Chef Boyardee every single night. When the dorm goes away, so should the cheap foods college students often consume. Everyone, even broke college students, should treat themselves to a fancy dinner every once in a while.
If you have a decent amount of cash and are feeling extra fancy, try Ruth's Chris Steakhouse located on Volunteer Landing right behind UT. This steakhouse is as fancy as it gets. Pristinely dressed waiters serving you in a dimly lit dining room aren't the only things that make this restaurant fancy. The menu also displays an array of gourmet prepared steak and seafood entrees. But be prepared, Ruth's Chris is expensive. For one person, you're looking at spending at least $30, and that's if you order a water. But if you bring a friend, you can split an entree and a side. What I love about the steakhouse are their family sides, which ring in under $10 and could easily be split between four people.
When I went, I ordered the filet topped with crab meat, asparagus and a béarnaise sauce. I split the entree with my mom, and we also ordered the broccoli au gratin. The filet was atop a sizzling plate of butter. The steak was one of the more tender pieces of beef I've ever eaten. The crab meat was succulent and paired with the steak well. The sauce bound all the flavors together and wasn't too greasy, which can be a problem for most béarnaise sauces.
A Filet topped with crab meat, asparagus and béarnaise sauce served with broccoli au gratin from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
Overall, the meal was fantastic and worth the extra amount of money. Less expensive options like P.F Chang's, Outback Steakhouse, Cafe 4 or Tupelo Honey Cafe offer a change of pace from sitting in your apartment eating the hot pocket you just warmed up for the fourth night in a row. I'm not saying you have to eat fancy every night, but the bottom line is college is stressful enough. Don't take it out on your taste buds. Save up a little money and treat yourself every now and again.
Break the college meal stereotype and prove that if you balance your dollars wisely, college students can eat fancy too.
Jessica Carr is a sophomore in journalism and electronic media. She aspires to be a professional food blogger and food magazine editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter at @jcarr_94.