Longhorn, like very other restaurant in American, has been advertising their "Combo" lunches; why do all restaurants have to copy each other; as if the 8 for 8 or 10 for 10 is such a great idea or something? As it turns out, the "deals" here aren't really all that compelling, mostly because you can't get any Steak.
Running very late again (a trend lately), I entered the restaurant at 3pm. When you come this late for lunch, you get a lot of the Geezer crowd, so it wasn't all that empty.
Nobody at the bar, though.
Longhorn Steakhouse Fort Lauderdale Bar
No hostess at the stand. She appeared after a few minutes and sat me at a mini-booth, which is really smaller than even a small table. OK for 1, but I can't believe that 2 people could eat a steak dinner at a table like this.
The booths were mostly filled but nobody at the tables.
Longhorn Steakhouse Fort Lauderdale Interior
I was trying to digest the "combos", which are priced at $7, $8 or $9 based on what you want with your salad, when a server came over and took my iced tea order. "Some extra lemon please". It took quite a while for her to come back, without extra lemon of course.
Longhorn Iced tea
I thought about going off the lunch specials and just getting a steak with a side for $13.95, but I the point of coming was to check out the specials. I was all set to order a Caesar with French Onion Soup, when I noticed that they also had a shrimp and lobster chowder; I thought I'd try that instead.
I placed the order and reminded her about the lemon; she brought out the lemon with a loaf of bread.
I'm not eating bread, but I took a taste. I like the soft butter. Not bad getting a loaf of bread with a $7 lunch.
I expected to get either the soup or the salad right away, but we have another stupid restaurant trick here; they have to serve them both on one plate, so I had to wait 12 minutes for both items to be ready. You know they're not making either of these to order, so I'm not sure what took so long.
Longhorn Soup and Salad $7 Lunch Combo
My spirit dropped a bit when I saw this; the soup looked like junk and the salad didn't look so great either. The soup was gloopy and not exactly loaded with anything; as it turns out it was mostly corn, which I didn't really want.
Longhorn Shrimp and Lobster Chowder (a loser)
2 tiny (and I mean tiny) shrimp and a few bits of lobster, and almost no vegetables except for corn. A complete waste of a choice as it turns out.
The salad was edible; they tout that they're "hand chopped", but that doesn't make it taste very good. It didn't really taste like a caesar. Just a bowl of lettuce with some cheese.
Longhorn Steakhouse Caesar
Includes where some sort of chips; they were like mini potato skins with cheese and cheddar. Not on my diet, but pretty good. Easily the best thing on the plate.
My server was king of odd; she left the bill on the table shortly after delivering the food and said "I'm not rushing you out, if you want dessert that's ok". Gee thanks. The good thing is that I didn't have to wait for her to bring the bill. However when she took it, she didn't take any plates with her.
Longhorn Steakhouse Empy Plates Remain on Table
I made the mistake of thinking that a low-end chain steakhouse could have good secondary items; and they can't. When you go to Outback or Longhorn, you have to stick to the steaks. $7 is no bargain when the food isn't any good. I didn't like my table, the service or the food today. It happens.
LongHorn is another restaurant in the Darden group, which includes the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and the Capital Grille. Longhorn is on the level of Outback Steakhouse; lower quality steaks, larger portions and more family and wallet friendly.
This location is in good shape, unlike the outdated place in Hollywood. The dining room is big and decorated with all sorts of Texas related stuff. The bar area is busy and not a great place to eat.
Longhorn Steakhouse Fort Lauderdale Bar Area
I opted for the dining room. As is typical, at 2:30pm in a largely empty restaurant, they tried to seat me at a small table in front of the kitchen. "How about a big booth?", "Whatever you want", he said sarcastically. "Are you expecting a big crowd at 3 or something?". I grabbed a big booth and settled in.
Longhorn Steakhouse Fort Lauderdale Interior
They play what I call cowboy music; not country western. There's no Shania Twain or George Strait. This is Toby Keith and Lonestar. Chain ambiance. There's also no bread at lunch.
My server was sluggish; when he finally got me an Iced Tea, I ordered the Wild West Shrimp and the the 7oz Filet with green bean. They call is "Flo's Filet", but I have no idea who Flo is. He asked if I was in a hurry, because they'd come out together if he didn't put them in separately. I told him I wasn't.
It was 10 minutes before they came out.
Longhorn Wile West Shrimp
If you've never been to Longhorn; these are the best thing on the menu. Crispy shrimp, or popcorn shrimp if you ask me, with hot cherry peppers and a crazy good garlicky sauce. I really shouldn't have ordered the steak; these shrimp and a cup of soup or salad is more than enough for lunch. These babies are addictive. One advantage of chains is that there is some sharing of ideas; These are very similar to the Calamari at Capital Grille; and they cost several dollars less at $8.99. It's a good sized portion for that price.
The steak was paced about right, it came out just as I was about done with the shrimp.
Longhorn Steakhouse 7oz Filet
Not a very impressive presentation. I don't know why they can't give you a potato and vegetable, but they don't and they're not too generous with the beans. I sliced into the steak; it was certainly tender. Unfortunately it wasn't quite medium rare; it needed another minute.
Longhorn Steakhouse Filet too rare
It looked like they cooked it for about 2 minutes on each side on a grill that wasn't very hot. How hard is it to get a 1/2" steak right? I didn't send it back. Another disappointment is that they still have the 1980 salt and pepper shakers, so no fresh ground pepper. They put can pepper in the grinder, which is really lame.
The Filet just doesn't have enough taste to stand alone. I asked for some butter for the beans, and used it with the leftover sauce from the shrimp to make a sauce. Much better with the sauce. I should have ordered a burger or even the sirloin. I should have known better than to order a filet here.
$28. for a filet lunch with an appetizer. Not cheap, but not bad either.