Outback Steakhouse Strikes Out
It's been a while since I last ate at Outback Steakhouse, but primarily because my work environment changed so I wasn't frequently on that side of town, but I had reason to go to Henderson Nevada today so I dropped by the Outback on Stephanie for a good meal. Actually, I stopped by to get a GREAT meal, but that's not what was served. Well, their Diet Coke was above average (which is another story for another blog), and the loaf of bread was the same as always (which is good - it's not my favorite bread, but it's exactly what it's always been - good enough to enjoy), although even this wasn't hot, but had obviously been sitting out for a while.
But instead of Diet Coke or fresh bread I went to Outback for a medium rare ribeye steak, a Caesar's salad and their garlic mashed potatoes, the meal I always choose when I go there. First came the salad. Have you ever had a dry Caesar's salad? I didn't think it was possible, but in this I was wrong. There wasn't enough dressing to bring the lettuce to life. Big disappointment, but it's just a "side" so, all other things being equal, I wouldn't object. However, then came the steak.
Right up front, I looked at it and was stunned. It was small. Really small. Since I order the same steak almost every time, this wasn't just a guess. It looked to be at least a quarter, maybe a third smaller than usual. Which wouldn't have been so bad except it also seemed to have more than usual fat and gristle. Finally (this is the trifecta of disappointing steaks), the steak seemed to have been over-tenderized, to the point where it was falling apart. I'd never realized how the texture of meat impacts it's appeal and enjoyment.
Finally, the garlic mashed. Not sure how you can screw this up, but it was as dry as the salad.
Ok, that covers the meal. When I paid (by one of those damned machines on the table - for the prices I pay at Outback I'd like to deal with a real person, but maybe that's just me), I was asked to take a survey, which I did, and ended it by including a text message to the store management. It couldn't have been a message that the manager wanted to get, but I'm truly surprised that the manager didn't immediately reach out to me, if only to apologize, if not to try and make it right. But so far, not so much.
Maybe it's just the Outback at Stephanie, but when I consider the size and quality of the steak, I've got to believe that this is a corporate decision to downsize the meal instead of raising the price.
If you're jonesing for a steak, you might do better somewhere else than Outback Steakhouse. I know the next time I want a steak, I'll find another place to go.