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Outback - Pleasantly Surprised

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My daughter's dance recital was this afternoon and we needed a place that was close to the venue and open (relatively) early for lunch on a Sunday. We found an Outback Steakhouse that fit both criteria and decided to give it a shot.

My mother and I both had burgers and we both thought they were pretty good. Bonus points for cooking to order as some places won't go below medium well/well done. I ordered mine medium and there was a nice shade of pink inside.

My daughter order mac & cheese and again a nice surprise. They actually use penne pasta with cheese sauce. We have been to some chain restaurants where they just serve Kraft mac & cheese and charge $5 for it.

My wife ordered steak and shrimp and while the shrimp didn't look very impressive, she ordered her steak medium and, again, a nice shade of pink.

And the bill was just under $40 before tip. I haven't been to an Outback in years, and while I'm not running to go back, it's nice to have the option if I'm stuck.

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  1. yeah it doesn't blow. would it be a 1st choice? not a chance. but it doesn't blow.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      That should be their new ad campaign...

      Outback: It Doesn't Blow.

      1. re: Philly Ray

        "That should be their new ad campaign...

        Outback: It Doesn't Blow."

        And said in Austarlian accent, I bet more people would go! lol

    2. That's been pretty much my experience. After a horrible experience there, I swore off the place for about a decade. I forgot why I decided to give them a try (probably someone here said they went and didn't get cholera) so I showed up for an early meal and they didn't totally f**k everything up. Nice servers, no wait, clean dining area, they didn't screw the drink up, and they actually know what medium rare means. Given how so many places screw up at least one and often all of those items, I'm a lot more likely to give them my money.

      1. Outback isn't fine dining or my first choice in restaurants by any means, but I've never really been disappointed by the burgers, the Kookaburra Wings, or the Outback Special steak. Professional servers that don't upsell you or treat you like a moron (I'm looking at you, TGI Fridays, Applebee's, Chili's, etc) and decent prices.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Boston_Otter

          I have been there a few times for lunch, and their grilled chicken sandwiches are actually pretty good. Marinated grilled chicken, crispy not soggy applewood smoked bacon, a good bbq sauce (given on request), all on a nice buttery brioche bun. They allowed for a baked potato to be substituted for the fries which is a plus and not always found at restaurants (esp. at lunchtime). They also graciously gave us (without charge) their warm pumpernickel bread with butter at the beginning of the meal even though we only had sandwiches not entrees. A good experience overall and would return here gladly rather than go to any other chain restaurant if those were my only choices.

        2. I'd agree that Outback doesn't blow, except for the Bloomin' Gutbomb. I felt like I'd shotgunned a quart of grease.

          Do the servers still sit/squat at your table when they take your order?

          5 Replies
          1. re: ricepad

            "Do the servers still sit/squat at your table when they take your order?"

            I think this practice is true of many chains, not just Outback.

            1. re: ricepad

              yeah, the IDEA of a blooming onion sounds so good, I mean I like onion rings, I like onions, I like breaded and fried things, but somehow after just 3 bites, one is awash in the shame and horror of sheer gluttony avoiding mirrors, afraid the grease-stained visage will invite the self-revelation: "oh god, this is me".

              1. re: hill food

                The last time we ate at Outback I noted that the two couples at the next table over had ordered TWO blooming onions.

                I think a fourth of one would do the two of us just fine. They should do that.

                We go to Outback occasionally (1-2 times a year) and I put it firmly in the acceptable category. One of the better places to get a steak within a reasonable drive of our house.

                1. re: hill food

                  So true. I still love them, though - I just deal with the shame for the next week or so, until the bloat is gone!

                  As to the OP - I agree, Outback doesn't blow. It's one of the better choices among chain restaurants, especially if you want a low-carb meal. They will sub vegetables (and usually well prepared vegetables) for potato sides and their steaks usually arrived cooked correctly. Can't complain.

                2. re: ricepad

                  Yes, they still squat at the table, and it drives me crazy! I also hate it when the "manager of the moment" at our location comes over to schmooze. A complete turn off!

                3. You know, it's really not bad. First choice - no way, but it's a decent meal at a good price.

                  1. I agree. My grandmother sends us Outback gift cards for Christmas and I'm perfectly happy to have a few meals there.

                    1. And please, let us not forget the best gluten free dessert at any chain, Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. That is one damn fine brownie!

                      But they can keep the onion thingy, WAY too greasy. Now if the oil was at a hotter temp.... well, I'd scarf down a few pieces. It is, after all, fried and (if done properly) by definition, good.