Monday, June 09, 2008

Restaurant Review: Outback Steakhouse

Before last night, I had never been to Outback Steakhouse. I know; How is that possible? Our server actually laughed and didn't believe me at first, but it's true. So, when I was offered a gift card to try it out and give a review, I jumped at the chance. It's OBSH's 20th Anniversary! Twenty years, and I hadn't been there. It was high time I stopped in to check it out.

We went to the Outback Steakhouse here in Bethlehem, Pa and this is how our dining experience rated.
Scaling is 1 for Poor and 5 for Excellent so the total Perfect Score for any restaurant would be 25.

Parking - 5 - Keep in mind it was a Sunday evening, so we basically had our choice of parking spots.

Ambiance - 4 1/2 - The only thing keeping this from a 5 was the lighting - it was a little dark, but that's a good thing when it's just two of you. Everything was clean and shiny and I wasn't bothered by other conversations going on in the restaurant, so the sound aspect was good.

Service - 4 - This would have been an easy 5 if the service had been consistent. We had the nicest waiter - Jarrett H. - but we didn't have him the whole time. We had three other servers drop off various parts of our dinner and they were all super nice so they get a solid 4 for service.

Food - 3 - I really, really wanted this to be a 5, especially after the appetizers. My companion had Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie and I had Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp. Both were excellent, perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned and at just the right temp. The grilled shrimp came with a remoulade sauce that was very good, but my companion said the shrimp were so good as-is that he didn't even need to salt them, and that's saying a lot since he's a real salt-oholic. The Creole-marmalade that came with my shrimp was to-die-for and my companion kept stealing it to put on the bread that was served with our drinks (which was also awesome). I was so wowed, that I expected it to continue on to the entrees.

I ordered Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad and my companion ordered the Bacon Cheese Burger with Swiss Cheese, medium-well. He was going to order medium, but when the server said "a little pink inside", he changed his mind and went for a bit more done.

When my salad came, it looked odd and I couldn't figure out why at first until I realized that there were no croutons- a must for Caesar and also part of the menu description billed as "hand-cut". I did eventually find them all buried in a little pile under one side of the salad. I don't know if the dressing was bottled or not, but there was so much garlic in it that it was very hot. I love lots of garlic, don't get me wrong, but I won't be breathing near anyone for a week, and that much garlic in a Caesar isn't the norm.

My companion didn't do so well on the burger front, either - his burger was too done and dry and he only ate about half of it. I was thoroughly bummed out because they had started so strong with the appetizers.

Pricing - 4 - We ordered cheaper meals, so our total was $57, but if we'd actually ordered a steak from the steakhouse, our total would have been that just for entrees. So, for this cheap Scot, the pricing for value gets a 4.

Total for Outback Steakhouse? 19 1/2 out of a possible 25.

The bottom line? I'd go again, but I'd order a different entree, and go with my own instincts about burger doneness.

OBSH Gift Card provided by Charlie Kondek of MS&L. This is not a paid product endorsement.


Anonymous said...

We ate there for the first time recently - also a gift card. , I wasn't too excited about going, but the meal was good. Don and I both had seafood dinners The bill for 4 of us was $85. So I thought that was a good thing.

And I think I'd go back again.

Annie Jones said...

I have been to OBSH three or maybe four times. I don't care for them. I usually order prime rib when we go to a steak house, and I think Outback's are kind of bland. I'd rather go to Lonestar or Longhorn when it comes to chain steakhouses.

But OBSH has those Bloomin' Onions. So they aren't all bad.

zookeeper said...

Ok, but why go to a steakhouse to review burgers and a salad? I don't think you would have been disappointed with a meat entree. We've eaten there many many times and it's usually great (unless you get some knucklehead who overcooks your steak- it happens once in a while).

Anne Coleman said...

Zoo- From an industry point-of-view, a steakhouse is more than steak and they should be able to handle whatever is on their menu as well as any steak.

That being said, I noted the biggest "why" in my 'pricing' score. $50 for two people for just steak is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I've eaten at OBSH quite a bit in Las Vegas. For the most part the food has been good and the prices are what should be expected from a theme restaurant.

I don't know if you have reviewed the Macoroni Grill yet...But I would like to see what you have to say about them.

The Masked Millionaire

Anne Coleman said...

You know, there aren't any Macaroni Grill's within 25 miles of us. I'd like to check them out, too.

Blah Society said...

Outback is not the greatest place, but the staff (at the Bethlehem location at least) is very nice.

My girlfriend and I prefer the Texas Roadhouse. Did you ever do a review about them?

giz said...

I agree with your ratings - I found the food to be just o.k. and nothing special and I was hoping it would be something special. I wasn't convinced that the flavour was complimented by the price. I haven't been back since.

Mamacita (The REAL one) said...

We used to go to the Outback, but never since the Texas Roadhouse came to town. Roadhouse prices are great and I've never had a steak there yet that I couldn't cut with the side of my fork.

On Thursdays before six, you can get TWO small sirloin dinners for $14.00. Total.

Mmm, Roadhouse. Plus, their onion bloom appetizer is WAY better than Outback's.

Melanie said...

I've never been to Outback Steakhouse either. Maybe I'm not missing much? But aren't they the ones that are supposed to have those delicious blooming onions?

Anne Coleman said...

AJ, Yep they were VERY nice, each one of them. I will go back again sometime on a less hot day and see how things are. I can bet the staff was wrecked from the heat.

Melanie-I would go-at least once. I didn't get an onion because Marty wouldn't eat it at all. If I go with kids, we'll try that.

Adopted Son said...


We have a Macaroni Grill and a Texas Roadhouse Steak place right around the corner from us - I think that's closer than 25 miles. If you want, come on down and we'll all go together.

Deborah Dowd said...

I am always amazed at the crowds of people at Outback,and a bit mystified that the same people that think a fine dining restaurant with $25 a plate entrees is too expensive, yet will pay $75 for a steak dinner for two!! We don't eat out often, but when I do I want to go somewhere that serves something I couldn't or wouldn't make at home. Frankly,for what it costs for a 2-person steak dinner at Outback, I could feed my family filet mignon for a week (buy the whole tenderloin at Costco)!

Kutitap said...

Enjoy your Outback Steaks and get Outback coupons at

Anonymous said...

I am going to us next year, will try outback.

I am Paul
I love steaks and steakhouses around the world!
Steakhouse Finder - best steakhouses

Anonymous said...

If you were wondering why you had 4 different people run your food out to you it is because the servers tip those people out to do that. That is their job for the night so you don't sit and wait for you food to be ran to you and get cold.

chris from portland said...

I recently took my family to outback for a night out and it had to be the worst food I've eaten in a long time.I should have saved the 100 we spent on three dinners and a blooming onion appetizer and went to mcdonalds.I give them a huge boo on service and food.terrible