After lunch at a high priced restaurant that serves entrees with no bread or sides, I decided to try the polar opposite. I used to practically live at a place called Boulder Creek back on Long Island (owned by the Sbarro People); they were sued by Outback for copying the concept, but they prevailed.
Outback practically brags about serving "choice" beef, which is what you get in the supermarket and any other restaurant that doesn't advertise USDA prime. The key here is VALUE; You get the full meal experience; the way it used to be before greedy restaurant owners conspired to rip off their customers.
They remodeled this place a couple of years ago, and they did a nice job. Some outbacks can be like eating in an old barn (or a Longhorn Steakhouse), but this one is nice.
I didn't want to eat at an empty bar and there was nothing on TV, so I got a booth. The dopey hostess put me in a section across from big booths, where she'd be seating families with screaming kids when they started to roll in for early dinner on the lunch menu. With 3 open tables, she seated a women with 4 small kids right next to me; I picked up my menus and moved down. You really can't get good help these days.
I ordered an iced tea with extra lemon; it was delivered without sweeteners or the extra lemon. There's no sweeteners on the table; this is the kind of place where people fill their pockets with them if they leave them out, I guess.
Outback Iced Tea
The sirloin and lobster tail special was over; the big thing this month is that they have bone-in steaks; ribeye, "NY" Strip. I decided on the 6oz sirloin with shrimp for $13.99, which comes with 2 sides. I also ordered a side caesar salad; they give you $1 off a side salad. Note that at lunch time, you can order from either the lunch or dinner menu, and the lunch menu is really no bargain. The 6oz Sirloin with shrimp is $12.99 and they only give you 1 side (and no $1 off a salad), so the dinner "combo" is really a much better deal. The lunch menu is really just a dumbed down dinner menu, offering the 1/2 rack of ribs at the same price at the dinner menu without the full rack open, which is only $3. more. The lunch menu really makes no sense.
With the 2 sides you also get a mini-loaf of bread with nice soft butter.
I had enough food so I wasn't eating bread; I just had a taste. Not bad, fresh. Kinda sweet. I love the caesar salad here.
Outback Caesar Salad
I usually order extra dressing on the side, but I'm off my outback game. There was enough; the dressing is fantastic if you like it more garlicky than anchovy. Push aside the croutons and it's garlicky good.
The steak came out; I'd ordered the sweet potato with butter, no cinnamon. The butter is sweet enough; and they don't cheat you either.
Outback Sirloin with Grilled Shrimp
One reason I get the bread is that I use the butter for the vegetables. Nicely steamed; I like that they have broccoli; Boulder creek only had "mixed veggies" and there's always some squash or zucchini that I didn't want. The steak was seared and perfectly medium rare.
The shrimp, obviously, were a mistake. There was a time when you got 4 jumbo shrimp, but now they give you the 4 sad-looking medium ones. They're only $3, but I wouldn't order them again. >But the steak was great with just 1 small piece of gristle on the end. For $16.98 this was a lot of pretty good food. Better than what you get at a lot of restaurants.
Outback: The way things used to be.
I hadn't been to the outback in a while; the last time I got a pretty gristly steak and I wasn't very happy with it. Service at the bar wasn't very good.
But I returned for lunch to try one of their lunch combos; you can get a combo of a salad or soup with a few half sandwich choices for $8.99. It also includes a soft drink, which is a pretty good deal. I was going to get the sausage and white bean soup with the filet sandwich, but I decided on the wedge salad instead of the soup.
One good thing about Outback is the bread and butter, although I wasn't eating a whole loaf of bread today.
The salad came out almost instantaneously; In fact it came out before the Iced Tea.
Outback Wedge Salad
It's a pretty big salad. I was wondering if I was getting a half salad, but this was full sized. It would be been really great without the "balsamic drizzle", which made it too sweet. I don't know if you can order it without the drizzle, but if I ever order it again it's a dealbreaker if you can't.
The sandwich came out when I was almost done with the salad.
Outback 1/2 Filet Sandwich
The sandwich was pretty small. I was glad I ordered the salad, because if I got this with a cup of soup it wouldn't have been enough food. Frankly it wasn't very good. Not the best filet, and only about 3 chunks. And I really like this kind of sandwich on garlic bread rather than the rosemary foccacia that this had.
All in all, not a bad lunch. $9.53 for the whole deal. No crowds or waiting at lunch either; particularly at this time of year.