Every once in a while, a college student needs to indulge him or herself in a high quality, appetizing and quite remarkable meal – even if it does cost an arm and a leg in the process.

It’s not only a cathartic experience, but also one that reinstates your own self-worth.

This past Saturday, while in the midst of intense cramming, or as I like to call it “studying,” my best friend on campus called me, inviting me to eat off campus. How could I possibly say no to the chance of getting an exquisite, full service meal – my version of pampering.

Nearly all those who know me are aware of my obsession with meat. Whether it be beef, chicken, pork, fish or any variation thereof, I can honestly say that I enjoy every bite of animal I get.

With that said, I used every college student’s favorite search engine tool, “Google,” and discovered the plethora of steakhouse restaurants in our very own Rochester.

After perusing several Web sites, I found one that caught my full attention, possibly because of the attractive and idyllic name, “Scotch ‘N Sirloin.”

Some research, and a growing appetite later, I found out from its Web site, that Scotch ‘N Sirloin was established in Rochester in 1972 and it serves the “finest aged USDA steaks, fresh fish from Boston” and much more.

For those of age, their wine list was acknowledged as the recipients of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. How could I pass up on such an opportunity?

After a 15-minute drive to Winton Place, I found the rather simple looking, yet perfectly located restaurant, tucked away in a shopping center.

Not having made any prior reservations – which I thoroughly recommend for future visits – I found the 45-minute wait a bit annoying. Nevertheless, as it was a weekend evening, I figured it would have to be worth it.

Upon entering the lobby, you can choose to have a drink in the Coppertop Lounge by the large open-pit fireplace. Considering the issue with age legality, since I am not 21 years old, I had to sit and admire the exposed brick wall.

Now, although technically exposed brick is considered to be an unfinished wall, I know for a fact – especially coming from New York City – that people will pay a whole lot more for that classic look.

Aside from the exposed brick, the rustic setting, the soft lighting and the percussion noises coming from the kitchen provided the ideal venue for dining out.

After being greeted by the labcoat-clad waiters and waitresses, we sorted through the wide selection of entres. My goal in mind was to spoil myself with the best steak in the house, as money was not an option. So, I did.

The special appetizer that night included three glorious lamb chops grilled to perfection in a tangy sauce that really brought out the flavor with every mouthful.

Gearing up for the arrival of my entre, I ventured to the open salad bar.

The variety of legumes varied from the standard mixed-greens, to onions, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes – all components of a standard salad – however, the addition of my favorite vegetable was incorporated into my work of art, artichoke hearts. I truly felt my life was complete.

A few minutes later, on my table was exactly what I had been looking for to fill the void in my existence.

A 12-ounce, center cut, top sirloin steak, cooked medium-rare, with an eight-ounce charbroiled lobster tail, and a baked Idaho potato with sour cream and chives on the side – three seemingly simple food items, yet complex to the taste buds.

Picking up the steak knife, I carved intricate individual slices. It not only felt like I was cutting through butter, but also the meat texture melted in my mouth like butter.

Never in my life had I ever experienced such a surreal, enlightening and ethereal moment as I did when taking my first mouthful.

Now, I know this might sound quite extreme, but Scotch ‘N Sirloin truly did serve me the best steak I’ve ever ingested. The lobster tail, charbroiled to perfection, dipped in melted butter and squirted with lime, was food fit for a king.

Somehow, I managed to find the space for dessert. I ordered the house special dessert, bananas foster, which combined thinly sliced bananas in a special caramel sauce with scoops of vanilla ice cream all in one bowl.

In retrospect, I have to admit, that night was possibly the best dining experience I have encountered in the city of Rochester during my two years here.

The food was magnificent, the service was exquisite and the atmosphere was therapeutic.

My advice to everyone reading this is to get off campus, by foot, car or even a horse if you must and explore the fascinating dining options this city has to offer.

Dig deep into those pockets for money, or at least that of your parents – you totally deserve to do so and you know it.

Buitrago can be reached at jbuitrago@campustimes.org.

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