Before Meat Madness, I made some predictions. Â I knew bacon would win, figured steak would be upset, and knew pulled pork would make a run. Â In turns out I won, no rigging involved. Â And my reward? Â A 25 dollar gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse. Â
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. Â A burger joint? Â Sure. Â Ice cream? Â Count me in. Â But Australian steaks, when the only thing that seems to make the place Australian are the embarrassing Crocodile Dundee-sound-alike commercials? Â 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. Â Not in the world of Outback Steakhouse. Â It barely covered my part of the meal. Â My poor wife-to-be was forced to cover her own end. Â That’s what she gets for marrying a blogger.
The Ambience: Dim red lighting, with a little bulb hanging over each table. Â A play-off hockey game (yawn) played in the background. Â Most of the waiters wore red-and-white striped uniforms with…flare. Â The Office Space reference is sad and easy. Â But there, I wrote it anyways.
Prices: It’s all kind of expensive. Â All of it. Â I know it’s a steak house, but let’s be honest. Â This is a chain restaurant. Â You don’t go to a chain restaurant to murder your wallet. Â In my tiny mind, a chain restaurant should offer decent food at an affordable price.Â 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.Â Rats.Â I order the Ribs and Alice Spring Chicken.Â The ribs are fine, but alas, the chicken is suffocating. Â A dense, claustrophobic eating experience, it is covered with mushrooms, bacon, cheese and a honey mustard sauce. Â Oh yeah, there are Australian fries too. Â Good lord. Â I eat the ribs and fries first, and then go for the chicken. Â What makes it an “Alice Spring Chicken” is beyond me, and not by choice. Â They might have put a shoe underneath the toppings and I wouldn’t have been able to tell.Â 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.Â The fries are great by the way, especially dipped in the honey mustard sauce.
My poor date orders the filet tenderloin. Â Look up filet tenderloin on wikipedia. Â Nope. Â Nothing there, because it seems to only exist on the menu at Outback Steakhouse. Â It is a bastardized version of a beef tenderloin, and it is was interesting to say the least. Â My date received a pink piece of meat in a pool of diluted blood. Â And that blood? Â Soaked up into her garlic mashed potatoes.Â I tried a bite. Â It tasted like it was once a steak, until someone chewed it up piece by piece. Â 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. Â My date likened the experience to eating a damp gym sock that melts in your mouth. Â But the potatoes were great!
(picture via Outback.com)
Service: Was great, no hovering,
Overall Outback Steakhouse Fun Rating: 4 out of 10.Â Wasn’t awful, wasn’t great. Â 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. Â Another irksome quality was brought to the fore during our visit: What about this restaurant chain makes it Australian? Â Is it the Australian Fries, which are french fries with salt and pepper?Â 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!Â 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.Â Either way the food wasn’t up to snuff that night.Â Perhaps next time I’ll order steak.
Speaking of which, will I ever go back to Outback Steakhouse? Â 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. Â I just need to know why this happened to us.