Before Meat Madness, I made some predictions.  I knew bacon would win, figured steak would be upset, and knew pulled pork would make a run.  In turns out I won, no rigging involved.  And my reward?  A 25 dollar gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse.  


Far be it for me to complain about a free meal, but there is something about a Steakhouse chain restaurant that I don’t trust.  A burger joint?  Sure.  Ice cream?  Count me in.  But Australian steaks, when the only thing that seems to make the place Australian are the embarrassing Crocodile Dundee-sound-alike commercials?  Before I get ahead of myself…

The Gift Card: One would think a 25 dollar gift card would go far, especially in a chain restaurant.  Not in the world of Outback Steakhouse.  It barely covered my part of the meal.  My poor wife-to-be was forced to cover her own end.  That’s what she gets for marrying a blogger.

The Ambience: Dim red lighting, with a little bulb hanging over each table.  A play-off hockey game (yawn) played in the background.  Most of the waiters wore red-and-white striped uniforms with…flare.  The Office Space reference is sad and easy.  But there, I wrote it anyways.

Prices: It’s all kind of expensive.  All of it.  I know it’s a steak house, but let’s be honest.  This is a chain restaurant.  You don’t go to a chain restaurant to murder your wallet.  In my tiny mind, a chain restaurant should offer decent food at an affordable price.  Make sure you’re ready to spend 40-50 dollars if you want to take your loved one to Outback Steakhouse.

The food: We decided to take chances, and now look back and regret that NEITHER of us ordered steak.  Rats.  I order the Ribs and Alice Spring Chicken.  The ribs are fine, but alas, the chicken is suffocating.  A dense, claustrophobic eating experience, it is covered with mushrooms, bacon, cheese and a honey mustard sauce.  Oh yeah, there are Australian fries too.  Good lord.  I eat the ribs and fries first, and then go for the chicken.  What makes it an “Alice Spring Chicken” is beyond me, and not by choice.  They might have put a shoe underneath the toppings and I wouldn’t have been able to tell.  It’s as if Cholestoral has manifested in front of me in the form of a high school bully, who instinctively punches me in the heart and stomach.  The fries are great by the way, especially dipped in the honey mustard sauce.

My poor date orders the filet tenderloin.  Look up filet tenderloin on wikipedia.  Nope.  Nothing there, because it seems to only exist on the menu at Outback Steakhouse.  It is a bastardized version of a beef tenderloin, and it is was interesting to say the least.  My date received a pink piece of meat in a pool of diluted blood.  And that blood?  Soaked up into her garlic mashed potatoes.  I tried a bite.  It tasted like it was once a steak, until someone chewed it up piece by piece.  They then spit all the pieces into a bucket and re-formed the pieces into the shape of a steak, cooked it for a while and served it.  My date likened the experience to eating a damp gym sock that melts in your mouth.  But the potatoes were great!


(picture via

Service: Was great, no hovering,

Overall Outback Steakhouse Fun Rating: 4 out of 10.  Wasn’t awful, wasn’t great.  I didn’t get the feeling this was a family joint (as it is often advertised), as there were more older gentlemen nursing giant containers of Foster’s than family units enjoying Australian delicacies.  Another irksome quality was brought to the fore during our visit: What about this restaurant chain makes it Australian?  Is it the Australian Fries, which are french fries with salt and pepper?  Perhaps the restaurant exists as a cultural high-five, where Americans and Australians look at each other and say, “We have the same eating habits-HEY!  We’re NOT THAT DIFFERENT!” and everyone rejoices while men and women drink giant cans of beer and children devour Flinstone’s-style racks of ribs while Men at Work, Russell Crowe, and Silverchair play “Give Peace a Chance” with Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bob Thorton and Stone Temple Pilots.  Either way the food wasn’t up to snuff that night.  Perhaps next time I’ll order steak.

Speaking of which, will I ever go back to Outback Steakhouse?  Maybe in a year, if you gave me a 70 dollar gift card.

PS – If any of our readers actually LIKE filet tenderloin, please tell me why and where you ate it.  I just need to know why this happened to us.

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17 Responses

  1. Eick

    Going to Outback and not getting a steak is moronic. I’m sure the rest of their food is pretty average to sub-par, but hell, you can generally still get a pretty good steak there.

    Also, nowhere in this review did I read the words “Bloomin Onion” which basically means your trip to Outback was an epic fail.

  2. Bear Silber

    I don’t care for these chain places…they’re always such a huge disappointment. Who needs all that fat/sugar/cream/sauce….food should taste good on it’s own….it shouldn’t been to be laden with lard. The problem with these places is that they want all their dishes to taste the same through the nation, which means they have to supply the “cooks” with everything wrapped up ready to go.

    I recall their bread being good but I haven’t been in a while. My friend swears by their ribeye.

    @Eick – I guess while for most that would certainly be an epic fail, but when you know what actually goes into those abominations it will fear you into not enjoying them.

  3. Cary

    Eick, I eyed the Bloomin’ Onion for about five minutes, but the ‘ole date vetoed that business. Also, the term “Bloomin’ ” is not Australian. It is awesomely British.

    @bear silber – the bread was wonderfully mediocre. nothing special, served with soft butter for easy spreading and plain old bread.

  4. manny

    Outback usually serve their beef rare to medium rare, my first visit, I made the mistake of just saying medium well, and that still came out as something between medium rare to medium in my opinion, so your experience might have been affected by that. When I usually go there, I usually ask and remind the server to make sure that it is well-done, and then pan seared, and depending on the branch, it usually comes out as medium to medium well, which is my preferred doneness.

  5. Skiff

    Did I miss the part of Meat Madness where we filled out a bracket and could win stuff?

  6. shatraw

    my favorite chain steakhouse = ponderosa

    $25 can buy you two steaks (w/ unlimited trips to the buffet/ice cream machine), 4 beers and a pie (to go!).

    poderosa — the ghetto golden corral.

  7. Cin

    Any time I’ve been unfortunate enough to end up at Outback, it is always filled with divorced dads, sucking down Fosters and looking sad after work.

    And, occassionally, if we’re at the one in Issaquah, Jay Buhner and his fam.

  8. rossitron

    you can’t go to outback expecting an exquisite culinary experience. you have to go experienced in ordering at outback. appetizers are good, even if they’re covered in lard (you don’t go there to eat healthy; run two times more that week). order a burger (they’re delicious). chicken is bad at any chain (outback doesn’t do any worse). the bread really is good. the steaks are not bad (the only bad steak is an overcooked steak, in which case you can send it back). if you really hate outback, spend the 25 dollars on beers and go somewhere else.

  9. Burger Beast

    I hate Outback and I’ll tell you why. I had sworn to never go back to Outback because of shrinking portions and rising prices. My parents get me 2 $25 gift cards. I decide to use although I honestly considered giving them back. I place an order through their website for pickup. It’s supposed to be ready in 20 minutes, since I had done this in the past I knew that it might take a little longer. I showup at the 25 minute mark and I’m parked in their takeaway area. They are “supposed” to come out to me. After waiting another 10 minutes my wife decides to get off and go inside. The employee is claiming that I never placed an order. At this point, it’s been 35 minutes since the order was placed. I have the confirmation number and give it to her. Once the order the was located, I’m told “someone forgot” to have the order made. I have a feeling I know who the someone is. He never apologizes and asks if we’d like to wait another 15 to 20 minutes and the order can be prepared. No thanks, I pass. I’m angry enough that I write Outback via email about what occurred and their response? None, they didn’t have the decency to respond to me. It doesn’t end there. A few days later I figure I’ll buy up some appetizers to try and kill these cards. Same process except when I park someone does come out to greet me. I’m told the food will be ready in a few minutes. I pay with the gift cards (I still have approx. $22 on one of the cards) and when I get home, nothing is hot, it’s all room temperature, this is a less than a 5 minute drive. I think to myself I deserve this for going against my better judgment . And I wish I could say it ended here but it didn’t. Since I wanted to finish off the last card I decide to go have some appetizers and drinks with my wife. When I pay, using the gift card I was given a few weeks earlier I’m told there is no credit left on the card. I don’t argue the point, I take my medicine, which I deserve and go home and investigate. It turns out the guy at Outback, when I paid with the 2 gift cards only gave me back the empty one, he kept the one that had credit. I’m not insinuating he jacked me but that he made the mistake of dumping the card with credit instead of the empty one. I would say I hate the guy, except I hate myself for going through this self inflicted drama. Wow, it felt good to get that off my chest.

  10. shatraw


    did you find any examples of their “no rules” policy? and if so, did it some make your dining experience closer to being “just right?”

  11. abbey

    I also ordered the filet tenderloin and thought that it just wasn’t right. i let my husband try it and he said that it tasted just like liver. i went on today to see if anyone esle had tried it and started reading your review. My thoughts exactly! So i don’t know for sure but i had 2 testers and they both agreed it was liver.

  12. angel

    I went to publix ans bought the exact filet tenderloin that i got at Outback Steak House. So yes it really does exist. I personally think that all of Outbacks food is great! You get good portions for the price you pay. (unless you are overweight because you don’t know what portions are) i also receive great service every time I go.
    People should stop complaining so much and look at the good in life. Do you complain when you go to a drive through. No you don’t and a value meal isn’t much cheaper than outbacks food.

  13. Matt

    I go to outback all the time and get the tenderloin never had a problem. Now I go to the butcher and cook it myself. Best piece of steak I’ve had. You experience could have been at that outback and maybe a bad day.

  14. Drew

    i’m quite surprised how many people complain about Outback. My food was fantastic, compared to the only other steakhouse near me (longhorns…which was putrid, and shouldnt be aloud to call that crap steak). I got the tenderloin with shrimp. I honestly loved it. It doesnt taste ANYTHING like liver, thats absurd. Maybe they were rich snobs that wrote that review, and are used to $50 steaks. Mine tasted very simular to roast beef consistency… tender enough to cut with a fork. when you mix with the garlic potatoes, it was great though. oh, and @cary, its not “diluted blood gravy”…it tasted like regular beef gravy diluted a lil and brown, not red.

  15. Nym

    You realise filet tenderloin is filet mignon, right? and filet mignon is steak. hah. what a joke. It also can be argued that anything Australian is technically English. This “blogger” is clearly inexperienced and uneducated.


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