Outback where I belong

I had the need for steak–a man’s dinner–over the weekend. The need came to me at the the start of dinner rush, so I knew my odds of getting in anywhere were slim. I figured the easiest and quickest way to send a T-Bone on its way to hardening my arteries was to pop into an Outback Steakhouse. I always liked Crocodile Dundee, and my kids like the Wiggles, so I figured something so overtly Australian had to be a good thing. How can you go wrong with menu items like “No-Rules Pasta” and “The Melbourne?” Ruth’s Chris can suck the business end of a boomerang, I decided. 

At 6:15, my dinner party and I had no problem sliding into a table. Before I opened my menu, I stopped to take the restaurant in. The decor was a kangaroo or two evolved from Bennigan’s. There was no real personality or “vibe” to be found. In essence, it was exactly what I’d expected.

I’d be willing to bet that no one Down Under, from the surviving members of INXS to the surviving members of Steve Irwin’s family, actually says “Shrimp on the Barbie” to describe grilled shrimp. Regardless, that’s the way I had to order it…and I felt like a douchebag doing it.

I ordered a 7-ounce cut for my entree. Though the steak wasn’t as tender as I’d like, there was a generous amount of garlic mashed potatoes on the plate to soak up the juices, and that made all things equal in my eyes. The meal overall? Not bad.

A kickass steak dinner in Chicago will set you back $80 per person, with drinks, appetizers, and tip. An average Outback dinner runs about $30 per person. Is it worthy of being a destination for a man’sdinner? Maybe. It was this weekend.


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