Pros: Reasonable priced, great food, fun atmosphere
Cons: usually a long wait
The Bottom Line: A great chain restaurant. Serves the best steak of any chain I've been to.
I love steak. Seriously. If I had to eat the same meal every night, it would be steak. I really enjoy going to steakhouses and trying the different steaks they have to offer. As you can see by my review on Broadway Joe Steakhouse, I really appreciate a good steak.
There are few places in Suffolk County (Long Island) where you can go for a good steak. Paces Steakhouse in Port Jefferson is one, but theyre pretty pricey. To tell you the truth, I cant think of any others that serve up a mean steak.
That is, of course, except for Outback Steakhouse.
Anywhere you go, you can find an Outback Steakhouse. Set up like a restaurant you might find in Australia (at least, the American thought of such a place), they have different menu selection like Walkabout Soup and Kookaburra Wings. In the commercials, there is a silly Australian accent doing the voiceover. Even when you call ahead, you get the accent on the recording. The servers are even dressed as though they live in Australia, with the khaki shorts and such. Pretty silly, but its their theme. Besides, if youve never been to the South Pacific, you wouldnt know that this isnt the way things are done Down Under.
You will always find Outback Steakhouse absolutely packed on a weekend night. The only time I havent had to wait was when we went for a late lunch / early dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday. Even then, we werent the only patrons there, and the restaurant filled up while we were eating our meal. Its a great idea to use the call-ahead feature. What is the call-ahead feature? Just call before you leave for the restaurant. Give them your name, and they will put you on the waiting list. Every Outback Steakhouse offers the call ahead feature, and its free. I highly recommend you take advantage of it any night of the week before going to Outback Steakhouse.
There are two different areas that you can sit in: the bar and the dining area. Personally, I dont like eating in the bar. Its not private enough for me. The bar itself is a huge rectangle in the middle of the room. The dining tables, which are booths, line the perimeter of the bar. There isnt any privacy, and this area is pretty loud. However, if there is a long wait for a table, go ahead and suffer the noise and sacrifice that little bit of privacy. Otherwise, you could be waiting a lot longer. The dining area is nicely spaced out, so you dont feel like youre on top of the other patrons.
Once you have been seated, you will find your menus in a rack on the table. There is also a little chalkboard-type thing that names the most popular entrees and their prices. It is a complete menu: appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts and beverages. There is something on the menu for absolutely everyone, even vegetarians. Outback even offers a childrens selection.
As an appetizer, I like to start out with the Aussie Cheese Fries. It is a heaping portion of seasoned French fries, smothered in jack cheese and bacon and served with spicy ranch dressing. Of course, this is not the healthiest offering on the menu. (I might as well just stick it on my hips without even eating it!) Another good appetizer is the Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp -- Large prawn coated in a sweet coconut breading and served with tartar sauce. I used to get this one, but then decided that it tastes too much like suntan oil smells. (Thats because of the coconut, of course.) However, the meals are so large, that it is very rare that I actually order an appetizer at Outback Steakhouse.
With every entrée you order, you will get a loaf of hot, fresh bread on a wooden cutting board. The bread is sweet and wonderful. Truthfully, this is the type of bread that you will find at restaurants in New Zealand and Australia. If you ask your server, they will bring you more than one loaf. Believe me, you will definitely want it. However, dont load up on the bread alone. Youve got a lot more food coming.
All of the steak and chicken entrees come with a fresh garden salad and your choice of dressing. I think you get a salad with everything but the hamburgers and sandwiches. These salads arrive in a large bowl with plenty of dressing. I have always found the lettuce crisp, tomatoes juicy and cucumbers fresh. My favorite dressing is the ranch. Since the salad has cheese and croutons on it, the ranch is the best. (Ive tried the Italian, and it just isnt the same.) The salad also has red onions in it, which I cant stand. If you ask them to hold something off of the salad, they will. I just always seem to forget.
If youd prefer not to have salad, you can choose one of the soups that Outback Steakhouse offers. I have never had a soup at Outback Steakhouse because I enjoy the salads so much. They usually have a Soup of the Day, French Onion Soup and Baked Potato Soup. People Ive been with at the restaurant have enjoyed the soup immensely, but I cant give a personal recommendation.
The main courses are fantastic. I have enjoyed the lamb, steak and chicken at Outback Steakhouse, but have never ventured into their main course salads. I have never been disappointed with a meal at Outback. All of the meats are well-seasoned and cooked to perfection. I have never had a problem with any steaks, which I always request to be cooked medium. The steaks are tender and cooked exactly the way that I want them. My boyfriend, however, seems to run into problems when he requests his steak to be prepared medium wellIt appears as though the cook it too much or too little. This happens three out of every five times that we go.
I like the Victoria Filet the best. You can order it in a 7oz. or a 9oz. cut. It is seasoned very well, and is the most tender steak on the menu. For $16.99, its not a bad deal. (The smaller is $14.99.) The Outback Special is pretty good, too. The regular is a 12oz. center-cut sirloin, seasoned and seared. You can opt for the smaller cut, which is 9oz. Whatever you order, you will not be disappointed.
There are even vegetarian options. Granted, there isnt much of a selection, but you and at least bring your herbivore friends with you and they can find something to eat. There are plenty of seafood options, of they can go with the Brisbane Caesar Salad or a Veggie Griller. Of course, Vegetarians tend to shy away from steakhouses.
Feel free to bring the kiddies, too. There is a nice menu for kids under 10 years old with a large selection of food they would like. These selections include Junior Steak, Junior Ribs, Burgers, Chicken and a few other items. They also have special desserts for kids as well.
Finally, theres dessert. The Chocolate Thunder from Down Under is the best dessert on the menu. It is a Fresh-baked pecan brownie, rich vanilla ice cream topped with hot homemade chocolate sauce and chocolate shavings, and it is definitely big enough for 2 people to share. You can also get an ice cream sundae, cheesecake, apple cobbler or chocolate cake, but they all pale in comparison to this divine dessert.
Overall, Outback Steakhouse is an excellent place to go for dinner. Its better than other chain restaurants. Just be prepared to wait, especially on the weekends. Certainly use the call-ahead feature, but youll still wait once you get there. Believe me, though . The wait is worth it.