Outback Steakhouse: Avoid

We hadn’t eaten at our local Outback Steakhouse in a couple of years, at least, so tonight we decided to try it for dinner. It’s definitely not something we’ll be doing again anytime soon—they’ve really gone downhill.

I’ll start right off by saying the only truly good part of the evening was our waitress, who was great. The rest of the experience can only be described as mediocre at best, and there was some seriously shoddy service going on.

To start with, while waiting for a table, and watching the crowd grow behind us, I counted at least two tables that went unbussed the whole time we were in the lobby. One was a big six-person booth, another a four-person. They even tried to seat four people at that one, who had to stand and wait a couple of extra minutes for someone to clear the table. I’m sure there were more, too. How can you let a crowd build up and not clear tables? How can you just leave tables unbussed in general?

And when I did see someone cleaning tables, they were really slow. They could have been moving people in much quicker.

Once we got our table, the waiting went on. Waiting on drinks, waiting on food. The table didn’t have silverware or napkins. So yes, while the waitress was otherwise great, there was a lot of waiting on her, and/or the food.

And, the food… prepared technically well enough, but the quality of food in general was really poor. The prime rib I ordered was literally—literally—one quarter to one third fat, all in one greasy lobe. And it was the thinnest cut of prime rib I’ve ever had, anywhere. Used to be the cut was a good one and a half, two inches thick. Tonight? Three-quarters, tops. My wife’s filet looked more like a tougher sirloin, and it was a bit overcooked.

What’s really disappointing is that Outback’s steaks used to be some of the best in town.

So overall, we spent way too much time there, ate sub-par food, and walked out talking about what a poor experience we had. Even better—I overheard the two guys behind us saying, "Well that was a fiasco!" or something similar.

Avoid Outback Steakhouse. If you’re in that area of town for dinner, go to Zydeco instead.

17 thoughts on “Outback Steakhouse: Avoid

  1. We had dinner at Outback in mid-October and found just the opposite to be true. We were seated quickly and the food and service were fast and of very good quality. Sorry to hear, though, about your less than positive meal. Paying for anything of poor quality is never a good thing!

  2. I do have to say that you turned down the kids’ request for McD’s or Burger King; I know you regret it now 😛

    We have my half of a steak that I took home….I asked for it little pink in the middle, which was medium-well (brown around the edges and pink throughout); medium was (pink around the edges and red in the middle).

    Mine came thin (like a sirloin) and brown around the edges and brown throughout. I used to eat well done, so I ate it…keeping my thoughts to myself (you and I looked at each other…you were being more vocal than me last night). I usually say something, but by that time…the kids upity, I just ate it. It was not butterflied, but certainly not like the thick, buttery filet that I used to eat there…

  3. I went in October and it was horrible! It was a Thursday night, you’d think service could have been good since it wasn’t busy, but the service was terrible. It took us over 2 hours to have dinner on a Thursday night…and the food was not what it used to be. I won’t be going again

  4. I actually met the lady that owns Zydeco — really nice lady. But know what you mean about Outback. Only been there twice (not on my dime, thankfully) and both times it’s sucked. You see that quite a bit with *some* of these larger chain places, Applebees is awful, too, though I’ve always had good luck at Red Robin.

  5. LOOOOOVE Zydeco!!! I can’t get past the BBQ Shrimp, so I always have that. The Bluegrass Pork Chops are amazing, as is a wonderful steak I once had with bleu cheese on top. And, you’ve got to have their olives. I never thought I’d spend time writing about an olive, but theirs are like no other I’ve had. Highly recommend Zydeco! (although they don’t have local brews, the one downside…)

  6. Jake- I like both Red Robin and Applebee’s well enough, though I like Red Robin better. Applebee’s has some mediocre food sometimes. I don’t mind the chain places so much IF they make good food. 🙂

    Live on the Fly/Elise- Yeah, Zydeco is *amazing.* You’ve inspired me to write a full entry on it.

  7. First of all,I think Outback’s food is exceptional.Second, who are you to just walk into a restuarant and bitch about the service when you were probably just having a bad night. Before you start creating a bad reputation for another business and publishing it, I think you need to realize how hard the people there work. I personally know a few of the employees at Outback and they take their job very seriously.I hope I have made you think about your careless and inconsiderate outburst.

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    1. a person, as an artist or writer, who exploits, for money or notoriety, his or her creative ability or training in the production of dull, unimaginative, and trite work; one who produces banal and mediocre work in the hope of gaining commercial success in the arts: As a painter, he was little more than a hack.

    This is the appropriate definition of "hack" vis a vis your web site.

  9. Your IGNORANT observations are shallow and meaningless (one experience in two years deserves this careless rant?!?)! Outback Steakhouse is one of our favorite places to eat – if you haven’t tried their filet before, you are certainly missing out! Did you ask for a new cut of prime rib? If your waitress was "so great", than you certainly would have given her the opportunity to get you a new one. On top of the great filet, salads, and mashed potatoes, the adult beverages at the bar are served in some seriously frozen mugs. The Prime Quarter (Green Bay) is the only other place that can compare when it comes to quality and value.

  10. I must say that I agree that the restaurant itself has gone downhill. I think you can blame the management for that. The servers have nothing to do with the wait for food, or how it is prepared. So you saying that the server was great in spite of your waiting is very nice of you. Finally, someone understands. I will never set foot into Outback Steakhouse again–one terrible experience, shame on you. Two? Shame on Outback. Nothing in the world could make that restaurant right for me again. Zydeco, on the other hand, is amazing. As is Sticatto, and the McKay Cottage for breakfast. Greatness.

  11. I have traveled coast to coast and make it point to dine at Outbacks,
    On my recent trip to Redmond I and an associate had one of the best
    dinners ever at the Bend location. We both were started by ordering
    a drink (DU Darns are the best), we both ordered the 9oz filet med. rare. Cooked perfect and so tender you could cut with a spoon. The one
    thing I noticed was that in the course of our dining experience we were waited on by 3 different servers. The manager stopped by our table towards the end of the meal and I asked here about the different
    servers visiting our table, she explained that the staff makes it a priority to help each other out,when the food and drinks are ready they are delivered by the first available server. Great teamwork!
    My travels brings me Oregon 3 or 4 times a year, I’ll be back.

  12. You guys are too funny. I agree that Outback used to be great but in recent years has fallen down badly…the quality of the meat (steaks) is the most noticable. And I’m not just saying this because it’s Amy’s favorite place to eat! Come on Amy! Why are you taking so personally the fact that a restaurant chain has diminished in quality over time?

    Anyhow, I’m giving them another chance tonight – doing take-out – I will report back in a few hours after I finish my meal…we’ll see how good the food is again.

    I agree with the fat vs meat comment – a filet should be 99% edible, I’ve gotten filet’s in the past from Outback that were 50% edible – not acceptable! And yes – I sent it back and had them remove it from my bill.

  13. OK – Outback surprised me! The first time I called they hung up on me but the second time they answered. I placed my order and when I got there the place was PACKED – at least 8 if not 10 cars waiting for take-away. I pulled up near the door, double-parked, they came right over, scared me when they said there were TWO Joe’s, took my credit card, brought my food, brought my card back, I checked the order and was gone. The food was pretty darn good too! It’s been 6 months since I tried them and for the 2 years prior it sucked every single time – I was always sorry I did it but like an old girlfriend those 17 spices were impossible to turn down. A- this time – the only problem being the filet had some fat but only about 5% – not bad! My wife’s Outback Special was an A. Very good Outback – I don’t know if you just got lucky this time around but you’ve redeemed yourself – THIS time!

  14. I like outback steakhouse. I’m doing a school project on it right now, because it’s my favorite place to eat. Don’t dis on a restaurant you’ve only been to once in your lifetime.

  15. Oh Emily, honey, believe me…we’ve eaten there SOOOOOOO many times before. I loved the buttery filets that are now a thing of the past…when you get out of Grade school, honey, and grow up a bit, maybe you’ll understand…things in life change and experience and opinions are not only based on first impression 😉

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