I think once you have worked in a restaurant, you develop either a hatred for the place or a sort of fondness for the restaurant. I used to work at Skyline in high school, and I still go there at least once a month around 1 or 2 in the morning for a late night snack---I could pretty much eat Skyline any time. I think this feeling is how my sister feels about Outback Steakhouse. She worked there in high school and will still crave their cheese fries and I feel like she could eat there almost any time. Last week, my sister stopped by for an impromptu visit so we decided to go grab a bite to eat for dinner. After she perused her new iPad using the restaurant App, or something like that, she remembered Outback near my house. So, to Outback we went. I had a bit of weariness in the back of my head because I have had some disappointing experiences here, but I have also really liked it too, so I was in.
We went on a Thursday night around 6 or so and it wasn't very busy. The parking lot looked packed, but it wasn't inside at all. Our waitress greeted us with a great smile and was very friendly. Ross, Kelley, and I all ordered a drink while we decided what to get.
The menu consists of appetizers, including cheese fries, a bloomin onion, or seared ahi tuna to name a few. We opted out of appetizers, especially because every table receives a loaf of warm bread and butter. I always like this bread, it is warm and soft, and you can get as much as you want if one loaf isn't enough!
The rest of the menu has salads, chicken, seafood, and of course steaks. After looking over the menu for a couple minutes, my sister decided on a half order of cheese fries and a side salad, Ross ordered the same thing he always gets: the Outback Special which is a sirloin served with your choice of side and a Signature Salad. He got a side of cheese fries and the Caesar salad. I decided to get the Filet Blue Cheese Pecan Chopped Salad--medium rare. I stress this because almost every time I have come here, they don't cook my steak right....I was hoping to be wrong. She also stated that the steak is served on the side which was what I wanted so it wouldn't get all over the salad.
Ross and Kelley's salads came out first and they both looked great. This is one of Ross' favorite side salads anywhere we go. The Caesar dressing has a bit of a kick to it and is topped with croutons and parmesan cheese. I really like this salad too, although, I think they tend to overdress it.
My sister got the same salad that I ordered minus the steak and she was very pleased with that.
We continued chatting and laughing over our drinks as we waited for our entrees to come out. Not much later our meals came---and immediately, I knew it happened again. This was not medium rare. There was barely any pink at all, let alone a warm red center. With just one look I knew my steak was over cooked. I don't know if it is just me, but I don't understand how a "steak" restaurant continues to not know how to cook a steak. Also, the steak was served atop the salad already sliced. The other thing---I do not think this piece of meat was a filet. I have gotten filet here before and it was thicker, juicier, and did not have any fat on it. I didn't think filets ever had chunks of fat on them. I really hate doing this, but I had to say something to my server. As my face reddened (again, I hate doing this) I told her that this just was not what I had expected and the steak looked over-cooked to me. The server looked at it, and agreed with me (maybe she didn't run the food, I really don't remember, but if you agree that it was over-cooked, why would you serve it??)
In the meantime, Ross' steak looked to be medium as he ordered and Kelley was pleased with her cheese fries (although, I think she asked for the cheese to be "layered"--remember she used to work there---and it wasn't).
The manager came over to our table and apologized for the steak. She asked if she could get me a cup of clam chowder, and I politely declined. I think she could have offered something different, my glass of wine was empty, or even comp part of the meal, but clam chowder was as good as it got.
I laughed off the mistake, because honestly, I kind of anticipated it. This has happened to me multiple times here. The server brought my new salad with the steak on the side shortly after. This steak was cooked more to medium rare (I still would have classified this as medium) but it was much better. It was also pre-sliced, but I guess that's just how they serve it with the salad. I have to say, after all that, I really did like the salad! The pecans added some sweetness with the sharpness of the blue cheese. IF I were to go back, I would maybe order the salad as a side with something else, it was really good.
So, all in all, it was okay. Again, I have never been a huge Outback fan. I didn't go in with high expectations of the best steak I have ever had, but I would like for them to be able to AT LEAST cook it correctly. We didn't order dessert, but did enjoy ourselves with another drink.
Overall Experience: 2