What are "words I never expected to read on ATVS" you say? Actually, there's a story. It was after a Saints game sometime in the early-to-mid-90s (pre-Ditka era, if I recall). I had gone with my dad and some of his friends. After the game, discussion turned to where to go grab some dinner, when my Uncle Steve chimed in "Let's go to Outback -- I hear they have the coldest beer in town."
My dad: "yeah, but is the food good?"
Steve: "...they have the coldest beer in town."
And so we went. I can't remember anything else, not because of the cold beer (I was in middle school and my dad does have SOME decorum), but because, well, it's Outback.
But don't get me wrong, chain restaurants have a purpose to serve, and you can certainly do a lot worse than Outback. They've been around forever, everybody's stopped in one at one time or another, and relevantly, they've sponsored the bowl game in Tampa for quite some time.
But how do we rank their legendary food items? Here we go:
1. Aussie Cheese Fries
Ooooh and we have an upset for the top spot! Everybody thought Bloomin' Onion, right? YOU ARE WRONG! Cheese fries take the top spot for the outstanding combination of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses plus bacon and the always necessary added jalapenos.
2. The Bloomin' Onion
It is probably the signature item at Outback, almost to the point of cliché. And let's be real here: everybody reading this either has, or has at least thought about completely destroying a Bloomin' Onion solo. I myself enjoy a Bloomin' Onion, but personally prefer a well-done plate of good onion rings. Something about the way the texture of the strips changes as you get closer in to the core of the onion. As such, it gets No. 2.
3. The Outback Special
Look, not everybody can afford Ruth's Chris or Fleming's. Outback can serve an acceptable steak from time to time (the one near my house occasionally overcooks slightly), for a very affordable price. I usually go with the 9-oz sirloin. Again, not the finest steak you'll ever eat, but tough to beat for $13.99 with a cup of soup and some mashed potatoes.
4. Coconut Shrimp
This can be a polarizing item. Some might view this as just another way that Midwesterners ruin good shrimp, but I will admit to loving these things without shame. Seriously, I would gleefully eat an entire plate of them.
5. Seared Ahi Tuna
This is a sneaky appetizer choice -- and really, the appetizers are kind of the stars of the show at Outback -- but surprisingly good. And I'm not even much of a tuna fan. But the times I've had it, it's well-seared and the wasabi vinaigrette is underrated.
6. Alice Springs Chicken
I don't know that I've ever been to Outback without somebody in my party ordering this.
7. Toowoomba Pasta
Shrimp. Crawfish. Cream sauce (hold the mushrooms for me). Just a delicious, carby caloric overload.
8. Herb Roasted Prime Rib
The candy of steak.
9. Blue Cheese Pecan Chopped Salad
My wife's go-to side item. I'm not a salad fan really, nevermind blue cheese (blech), but I do love pecans in a salad when I do get one.
The knife is to let you know that WE ARE NOT FUCKING AROUND AT OUTBACK.
Yes, the bread. That awesome honey wheat bread with the honey butter and the giant Crocodile Dundee knife to cut and serve. It may be Outback's second signature item after the Bloomin' Onion and again, do not deny that you would wolf down at least two loafs on your own if nobody was watching you.
So what say you, dear reader? How do you enjoy the finest that the Outback has to offer?