25322 Cabot Road
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Okay, I know what you are thinking. Is this really going to be a review of Outback Steakhouse? As a matter of fact it is. I told myself when I started this blog that I would review restaurants to find some of the best eats that our county has to offer. Whether that is a hole in the wall, a restaurant that is critically acclaimed, or a chain that appeals to the masses. So when my parents and their friends wanted to go out to dinner at Outback, I chose this opportunity to see what they have to offer.
One thing you can say about Outback is that they are very popular. They operate over 1,200 locations in 22 different countries. Eight of these are in the OC alone. Started in Tampa, Florida in 1988, they have averaged opening 52 new restaurants a year, or one per week. That is some crazy expansion for a sit down restaurant. We got here at 6 on a Saturday night, and had to wait a half hour. Let's see if all the waiting was worth it.
Of course you know that we had to start with a Bloomin" Onion. In case you have been living under a rock, this is a one pound onion cut opened, breaded and deep fried, and then served with a tangy bloom sauce. To put it simply, this was addicting. Just like chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, you can not stop picking at this until your food comes.
Here is a quick shot of the Bread and House salad served here. The bread is kind of like the dark bread served at Cheesecake Factory, but a little less soft. The dinner salad was your average side salad, nothing too out of the ordinary.
Of course this is a steak place, so Katie and Mary both ordered the No Rules Parmesan Pasta with Grilled Shrimp added. Fettuccine tossed with a creamy Parmesan sauce was the description of this meal. I did not try this pasta, but they both seemed to like this. Katie called this pasta fresh tasting, but would have liked more shrimp on this.
I could count on my Dad to get a steak at a steak restaurant, right? Wrong. Here is my Dad's choice for the evening, the Shrimp En Fuego Fettuccine. This dish consisted of shrimp, combined with noodles, tomatoes, mushrooms, and a spicy cream sauce. I was not offered any of this dish either, (Man, do they not know the rules of eating with a food blogger?), my Dad felt there was ample shrimp in this, and he thought the standout part of this plate was the sauce.
Dale was not so happy that I was taking pictures of his food, so I had to snap this shot from across the table. Otherwise my camera would have wound up on the 5 freeway. Dale always orders the Norwegian Salmon when he comes to Outback. Geez, am I the only one that orders red meat anymore? Anyways, from way across the table it looked like this was blackened and served with garlic mashed potatoes. Of course I was shut out of having a bite of this, so I will have to assume that it was okay.
Hey guess what, I actually got a steak! Here is the 14 ounce Rib Eye. When this was presented to me I thought it looked a little odd. There were no grill marks on the meat. I guess they cook on a flat top grill. The meat tasted good, and this rib eye was a lot less fatty than a lot of rib eyes I have had recently. The garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables were just average. I was definitely full after eating this steak.
I am not going to try to convince you that Outback is one of the great steak places around. I think it serves its purpose though. When you do not want to get all dressed up and spend $80 on two dinners, or if you have kids, this is a place you can go to get a decent steak. The sides are not the best, I would call them average at best. The service when we here this night was very pleasant. All the Australian references can seem over the top, especially since they do not even serve Vegemite. Take Outback for what it is, a casual steakhouse that caters to families and serves some decent steaks.
Out of five kangaroos, (I can get into the Australian theme also!), five being best to zero being worst, Outback Steakhouse gets 2.5 kangaroos.
For more info on Outback Steakhouse, click here: http://www.outback.com/