So, apparently Outback Steakhouse is 20 years old… did you know they’ve been around that long? I recently received a gift card to go check out their new menu items, which made T happy since he loves Outback but we never eat there.
Friends of ours had a less than pleasant last meal at Outback, so they don’t go anymore. The last time I was there, my meal consisted of sharing a bunch of fried appetizers so my memories are just full of heavy fried foods sitting in my stomach. But I was willing to go back and look at the food with fresh eyes.
Because it’s Outback and because it’s their birthday, we had to order the Bloomin’ Onion. Even though it’s deep fried and terribly unhealthy. It arrived hot and crispy, with every part well battered and cooked (I’ve gotten some that had raw batter still in the crevices) and I’d forgotten how tasty that horseradish-y dipping sauce is. We got through 3/4 of the onion before throwing in the towel with the intention of taking the rest home, but our server took the plate away. Incidentally, she seemed like she wasn’t paying attention very much. She forgot to bring T a new napkin three times and every time she came over she seemed a little spacey.
We ordered from the featured menu since it’s only running through April and they actually looked really good. T got the Sirloin, Shrimp, and Scallops Mixed Grill and I ordered the Slow Roasted Sirloin Medley. My dish was exactly as I hoped it would be – tasty, meaty, but fresh and light. Slices of tender sirloin were arranged over a bed of spinach (I don’t know how they do their spinach but it’s awesome) with asparagus and cherry tomatoes scattered around the edges. The whole dish was drizzled with a garlicky, lemony, herbed sauce that was perfect. Really, I loved that dish. I did not like the “homemade crouton” on the bottom, which was more like a greasy fried piece of bread. But it’s okay, since I didn’t eat it and I was completely full from the rest of the meal. T’s steak came nicely medium rare and it was a flavorful piece of sirloin. I was actually surprised (although, their steaks are usually pretty good). I didn’t taste the shrimp, but the scallops were actually cooked nicely. A tad overdone, but certainly not rubbery and no grit at all. He got a little rice medley along with the same garlicky spinach and finished it all. I think he thought the steak was a little on the small side, but it did match the proportions in the picture.
As a promotion, if you order one of their featured meals AND a Coke Zero, you get a commemorative glass to keep and take home. I considered it but I guess we certainly don’t need a commemorative glass taking up room in the cupboards when I still have 4 POM Tea glasses in there and I only use 1 at a time.
As a funny side note, we were seated next to this couple who must have figured out the best way to save money at Outback. I told T that my goal* is to have enough money when we’re old that we don’t have to worry about such scrimping and frugality. They ordered the 13 oz. Outback Special (sirloin) to split, but they wanted the steak actually cut into 2 pieces so each could be cooked to a different degree of doneness. Then they added a House Salad with extra croutons to the meal. Okay, I guess when you look at it, that’s not really too frugal. I guess I just thought it was funny because they were sharing a steak but wanted it cooked 2 ways.
My faith in Outback has been restored. I don’t know if I need to order the Bloomin’ Onion every time I go there, but I would certainly order that Slow Roasted Sirloin again. I wonder what else they put that garlicky lemon sauce on? If you do go for dinner, definitely check out the new menu items. Outback certainly isn’t fine dining, but it is a good place to go for a good meal and it’s nicer than TGI Friday’s.
* T and I have been meeting with a financial planner over the last couple of months. To go over our individual accounts and financial goals. It’s not like we’re combining finanaces or anything. But he always asks what our goals are and what results we want from the money we invest and I always tell him that my end goal is to have enough money when we retire that I don’t have to clip coupons and only shop when there are double coupons. My goal is that when we retire we can afford a motorhome and have money to be able to feed the dog premium food. Enough to be comfortable and not worry. Incidentally, if you are looking for a financial advisor (he works for AIG, doesn’t charge a consultation fee but does receive a commission on certain investments), I highly recommend ours. He drives down from Irvine to meet with us after work at home, which makes things very convenient, but he’s also good at answering questions and running scenarios for different investments. If T asks him a skeptical question, he answers AND comes back with print outs of internet chatter so he can explain why the internet is wrong and he’s right. And sometimes he admits that the internet is kind of right. Anyway, we really like him so if you’d like to set something up with him, let me know.