Winter Contest Outback Steakhouse Review by Rahma A., 701

When I learned about the Swerve Winter Contest, I knew that I could provide assistance for those who want a holiday restaurant to enjoy with their families. For me, holiday themed restaurants are just gourmet restaurants with a rustic decor and family style food. The place has to be cozy yet fancy all at the same time. Also, eating there has to make you feel comfortable, like you would feel if you were eating a home cooked meal. I think I may have found a good place to start! Outback Steakhouse is an Australian restaurant with great authentic décor and family style portions. We will start with the appetizers now!
I was quite fond of the whole wheat bread they served before the appetizers came. It was very fluffy and a little crispy on the exterior. The butter just elevated it to a new level.The bloomin’ onion are simply fried onions not shaped like rings; they are strips instead. The breading is the perfect texture and is not dense. It had amazing nuances of flavor and is a very large portion. It is so big that my whole family had to pitch in when trying to finish it. The Sydney ‘shrooms however, were not desired by my family and I. This was because, in addition to the monstrously sized portion that was supposedly an “appetizer”, the description was quite misleading. On the menu they wrote, and I quote, “lightly battered and fried mushrooms,”when in reality, they were overly brown, not golden brown, thus indicating that they were overcooked. My favorite appetizer of them all was the gold coast coconut shrimp which was an amazing golden brown. The coconut shreds were sweet and tangy and fried to perfection as well as the shrimp which was unbelievably tender. The irony with this dish is that each portion is only 6 shrimp when the things I didn’t care much for, like the Sydney ‘shrooms, were fit to feed a whole family, so we always ordered more than one plate. Then there was the steakhouse mac and cheese bites, which I was not really a fan of. Everything was cooked well which I commend them on, however, the ratio of cheese to pasta was unbelievably off. In each fried bite, there was only one pasta piece, and the chefs used the elbow macaroni which is relatively small in comparison to the bite itself. Plus, the cheeses lost some of their flavor in the frying process and became quite bland.The caesar salad was outstanding and that is saying a lot, due to the fact that I dislike almost all salads, rendering me very picky of caesar salads. I never eat the lighter lettuce or the really pale romaine lettuce husks in any caesar salads, but I love the dark green lettuce and the dressing and the croutons. The croutons are fresh and to die for because of the crispy fluffiness and fabulous seasoning. Now we move onto entrees.
My favorite entree is the steakhouse mac and cheese which is—unlike regular mac and cheese—-seasoned heavily; yet with care and consideration. The 2 cheese mac had this toasted garlic bread crumb, crumble which was what bought the macaroni to a whole new playing field. The 2 cheeses were both distinct and recognizable and bought something new to my palate. The smoked gouda was a buttery, creamy, sweet, sharp sensation that bought more life to my taste buds. The other cheese, cheddar, wasn’t sharp, but in fact, mellowed out the intensity of the smoked gouda. The pasta was very well cooked for approximately 7 minutes because it was al dente–just the way I like it. The steakhouse mac and cheese is actually a premium side dish, but I note it as an entree because: 1) the portion size & 2) it comes after the appetizers; not on the side of the actual main dish. Even the mouthwatering grilled asparagus is labeled as an entree in my brain. The tops are crispy to make up for the fibrous bottom pieces and are smokey with a hint of olive oil. The steaks (specifically sirloins–>I like my steaks medium well) are very chewy and when I eat them it makes me look like a dog chewing a slipper which is just not a pretty sight. The sirloin is so small—only 6 ounces—and yet it still takes me hours to eat. Also, it has A LOT of unrendered fat which is basically inedible and weighs about 2 ounces, which is 1/3 of the entire steak’s weight. I do not think that it is worth $13.49. However, the flip side is, you can change the dish into a surf and turf, a land and sea dish for only a little bit extra and sometimes even the same price. The lobster is cooked perfectly and goes through a knife like butter. The flavors of the luxurious sea creature are intense and wonderfully thought out. Or you can just get 2 magnificently steamed lobster tails for the expensive price of $30.49. Lastly, here is the dessert.
I have only tried one dessert, it is called the chocolate thunder from down under. This is a gourmet pecan brownie with homemade vanilla ice cream, chocolate shavings, warm ganache, and a lot of whipped cream. The brownie is perfectly chewy and the pecans provide textural contrast. The shavings and the ganache just melt in your mouth, and the ice cream creates opposite temperatures in your mouth. However, I dislike a lot of whipped cream and even though I asked for none in my plate, they gave a lot anyways.
In conclusion, this restaurant has its good and bad qualities. Liking or disliking restaurants is based on you and your families’ preferences, not mine, this is just advice in case you are like me–a picky eater. For instance, if you don’t really look at your food, meaning you aren’t picky, like me, it is easier for you to find something you like. Also, you may like the lighter lettuce which makes can make a difference in your possible perspective or assessment of the restaurant. In addition, I don’t like pink to be very visible in my steak, which is why I order the medium well, but the chefs in this restaurant don’t know how to cook the medium well tenderly, so if you like your steak medium rare or rare, maybe it will turn out tender in this restaurant, I don’t know. Thus, I hereby grade this restaurant a 7.3 on my scale of restaurants.

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