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Outback Steakhouse, Australian-Themed Chain

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The girls wanted a steak tonight - Didn't feel like driving to Silver Spring to RTC, Plus my girls really don't belong in the bar on a Friday night so I drove up 270 to the Outback in Germantown. Really not great food and a VERY ANNOYING WAITER.

This place was packed - Called ahead at 6:30 and they told me 7:15 then when I got there they said 20 more minutes (It was actually less than ten - But this place does not deserve to be crowded).

My new pet question that I hate is -"Have you ever been here before?" - It is a *&^%^* Chain. Did he think the menu would be too complicated for me?

Salad - Came out ten minutes after my entree
Entrees - The girls wanted ribs and OMG was the sauce sicky sweet (Kids were fine but I can tell you it sucked).
Had to ask three times for more butter - and then they brought out a tablespoon worth.

Any ideas for a decent place in up 270?

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Outback is a favorite of my 8-year-old. That should tell you enough about its culinary pedigree.

I've had some good luck with That's Amore in Rockville.

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Entrees - The girls wanted ribs and OMG was the sauce sicky sweet (Kids were fine but I can tell you it sucked).

If the girls want ribs why not Urban BBQ in Rockville?

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If you HAD to eat at Outback (and yes, I really mean there is no other choice) what would you order? I went once in college and that was 10+ years ago.

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If you HAD to eat at Outback (and yes, I really mean there is no other choice) what would you order? I went once in college and that was 10+ years ago.

I know someone (NOT knowledgable) who swears the hamburgers are good. Not having been to Outback in at least five years, I'd order a simple steak (medium), baked potato stuffed with cottage cheese from the salad bar (yes, I do that), and stay far, far away from the Bloomin' Onion - look at this Calorie Count!

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I have a co-worker who loves Outback. Whenever we are on travel we have to eat there at least once (breaking my rule of always eating local). Whenever we do I would get a bacon cheeseburger and baked potato which while good, I would never make a trip there to get.

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stay far, far away from the Bloomin' Onion - look at this Calorie Count!
Wouldn't that be a case for getting the Bloomin' Onion? More calories = yum!

I have friends who won't really eat anywhere else, so I have a "usual." It hurts to say that.

-Outback "special," (what's so special about a sirloin?) medium rare, ask for extra seasoning. The extra seasoning is essential, as the meat alone doesn't really taste like anything.

-Ask for honey butter with the bread. Say what you will about Outback, this is a guilty pleasure.

-Loaded baked potato.

-Cream of (x) soup, or blue cheese salad.

-If at all possible, try and eat at Ray's the night before. Get any NY strip. Take your leftovers home, thinly slice them, and keep them cold in a buttery bun in your pocket. Eat it in the Outback bathroom.

-Seduce front of house staff. Sleep away the pain.

-Return to Ray's. Apologize to Michael/Danielle for your treachery. Ask for additional NY strip. Eat in shower, crying.

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Actually, I think that Outback is quite good given that its a Monster Chain. The steaks are quite decent compared to competitors like Lone Star (shudder). The steaks are usually medium rare when I ask for them and some of the appetizers (like the Ahi Tuna) are genuinely OK.

Now I'm definitely NOT saying that Outback can compete with the Rays in terms of almost anything. But I can't always make it there for a number of reasons so I go to Outback. It's better than the alternatives....

Rob

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-Return to Ray's. Apologize to Michael/Danielle for your treachery. Ask for additional NY strip. Eat in shower, crying.
Does it come with a garbage disposal? :lol:

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My new pet question that I hate is -"Have you ever been here before?" - It is a *&^%^* Chain. Did he think the menu would be too complicated for me?
Yeah that bugs me also. I have heard that a lot. What the hell is it? Somewhere in some office some suits designing the script for the servers thought that up and I can't for the life of me figure out what the line of thinking was. I mean I could see if they were actually keeping tabs to measure repeat customers or something but that is ridiculous. Is it all just to be able to say something along the lines of "glad to have you back" or some other insincere crap? Them saying it doesn't really piss me off, I just can't figure out why it is such a standard line.

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The one thing that I can say about Outback is that the service that I have had has always been quite pleasant and without an attitude, which is far more so than some of the other places mentioned here. The food well the best I can say is that it is not offensive.

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If you HAD to eat at Outback (and yes, I really mean there is no other choice) what would you order? I went once in college and that was 10+ years ago.

I end up eating there two or three times a year, when it really is the best option (for example, Lexington/Manchester, Ohio), and I can say that the petite fillet, medium rare, isn't bad. I believe they have steamed vegetables as a side, too. The margaritas are just awful.

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Wow! This is most helpful. For some reason, I was thinking of steering away from the steaks but maybe I will reconsider. And I will be sure to report back.

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My experiences at Outback are prompted by a friend who loves it, so when I visit him in California or he comes to Virginia, I know that an Outback trip is imminent. I never have anything particularly bad nor particularly memorable. The cuts of beef are better than I can get at a regular grocery store but not from my local butcher. Cooking to the requested doneness is generally accurate. I like the option of a baked sweet potato as a side with my steak or burger. The service is generally what I'd expect from corporate-trained personnel who are probably threatened encouraged to stay on script. The prices are not outrageous although I'm almost certain that in many cities, as in DC and in my area, there is a local restaurant where I can get a better cut of beef prepared more creatively for roughly the same price.

I have noticed, however, that the drive for table turnover here is more insistent than in any other restaurant I've frequented. I know that policy is corporate driven as well, but I am generally aware that on almost every visit, the waiter is trying to move us quickly from point to point in the meal. I guess I shouldn't mind, given Outback's corporate chain nature, but after normally waiting almost an hour to get seated (a wait similarly inexplicable on my infrequent trips to P. F. Chang's and Cheesecake Factory), I'm bothered that I'm not likely to spend more time at my table than I spent waiting to get seated. I'd much rather go to a restaurant that doesn't have a ridiculously long waiting line and spend my two hours at the table enjoying my meal, but I've learned this is a debate that I'll never win with my friend.

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I'd much rather go to a restaurant that doesn't have a ridiculously long waiting line and spend my two hours at the table enjoying my meal, but I've learned this is a debate that I'll never win with my friend.
Wanting to wait less for a table and sit for longer once you get there seem mutually exclusive to me. If they didn't move people along wouldn't the wait be longer? On a side note I am always disheartened when I see the crazy waits at some of the crappier chains. There is a really rundown looking TGIFridays near me that routinely has giant giant crowds out front. I have never been in but I am sure the wait has to be at least an hour and a half judging by the crowds on weekend nights. It's craziness.

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Wanting to wait less for a table and sit for longer once you get there seem mutually exclusive to me. If they didn't move people along wouldn't the wait be longer? On a side note I am always disheartened when I see the crazy waits at some of the crappier chains. There is a really rundown looking TGIFridays near me that routinely has giant giant crowds out front. I have never been in but I am sure the wait has to be at least an hour and a half judging by the crowds on weekend nights. It's craziness.

I guess the old joke about "the food is awful and the portions are so small" applies here.

I probably wasn't very clear. The argument I can't win with my friend is to skip the Outback and go to an entirely different restaurant with no wait so that we can spend two hours at the table in the restaurant rather than half the time standing outside. When I go out to eat, I generally don't mix in any other activities (no show, no movie, no shopping) and instead expect that I'll have a drink and share a bottle of wine (or two) with the table. There are times when a speedier pace works for me (stopping for a meal on the road, for example), but unless I'm visiting another area and have assurances from my hosts that I don't want to miss a meal in a particular restaurant or during special occasions or circumstances (the Outer Banks during the summer or Williamsburg on the evening of the Grand Illumination), I'm generally unwilling to wait long to be seated. An Outback in Cupertino, California in the midst of the Apple campus, the scene of my most recent Outback meal two weeks ago, definitely does not fit those categories for me.

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The argument I can't win with my friend is to skip the Outback and go to an entirely different restaurant with no wait so that we can spend two hours at the table in the restaurant rather than half the time standing outside.

From time-to-time my wife used to want to go, and I would humor her, but on one condition, if the wait was longer than 15 minutes (20 if I were feeling extra gracious), we would go somewhere else. Every now and then I was saddled with eating there, but most times we hit Crystal Thai instead (same shopping center as the nearest Outback to my house).

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So, I promised to report back...here goes:

My friend called ahead for a table so there was no wait. The hot bread and honey butter was a highlight, which is not saying much. I will take some of the blame for bad ordering. My husband had grilled some fabulous filets the previous night, so I opted to not get steak. I figured anything would be a disappointment in comparison. I got the "Queensland Salad" and did not read the menu description accurately. I thought it said "grilled chicken" but it really said "grilled chicken salad". What I got was mayonnaise-y chicken salad on top of lettuce with some shredded packaged cheese and what looked like bacon bits but with no discernible bacon taste. Not good.

My husband ordered some chocolate sundae for dessert that was good in a gloppy, super-sweet kind of way. The vanilla ice cream was rolled in coconut and topped with LOTS of hot fudge and whipped cream.

Don't think I'll go back unless I have to (which I did in this case). Reporting from the front line so you don't have to.

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Hubby's favorite restaurant is Outback, so I too need a defenisve menue strategy. I have found the chopped blue cheese salad to be pretty good. It is only offered on the menu as a side item, but they are happy to make it in a dinner portion if requested. I usually accompany this with a baked potato. I do actually like their bread, so all together it's plenty of food.

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The one thing that I can say about Outback is that the service that I have had has always been quite pleasant and without an attitude, which is far more so than some of the other places mentioned here. The food well the best I can say is that it is not offensive.

Out of town for the other hobby this weekend and without MrP, I met up with two buddies whose dietary limitations, combined with the range of available restaurants in that little podunk town, meant a visit to Outback. And still, the petit filet is not bad. But we were at a booth (the place was almost empty at 7:30 on a Thursday night!), and the waiter comes up and first thing he says (after some greeting or another), is "mind if I sit next to you?" And he was serious. And I was so taken aback that my mouth engaged before my brain did, and I replied "are you serious?" And then he was taken aback and practically mumbled "okay, then, I'll just kneel", which is exactly what he did. And then I felt sorry for him and bad about myself, because he was probably only folllowing orders. But I noticed that he wasn't wearing any flair.

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the waiter comes up and first thing he says (after some greeting or another), is "mind if I sit next to you?" And he was serious. And I was so taken aback that my mouth engaged before my brain did, and I replied "are you serious?" And then he was taken aback and practically mumbled "okay, then, I'll just kneel", which is exactly what he did. And then I felt sorry for him and bad about myself, because he was probably only folllowing orders. But I noticed that he wasn't wearing any flair.

Interesting behavior by the waiter, leading to two people being "taken aback". The only time I've experienced something like that is when I went to Hooter's with my 30-year old son, and a couple of waitresses sat down with us and batted their eyelashes at my handsome boy. I figured maybe this is what they do, but it wasn't happening at other tables.

I'm not sure what "flair" is.

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You've never seen Office Space, then?

I don't think that I'm risking too much by saying that StephenB has never even heard of Office Space. ; )

Stephen, Shortest explanation. Jokey buttons or pins worn by waiters in chain fast easy restaurants as required by management. Corporately meant to force a "fun" atmosphere.

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