Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A scroll through the Outback Steakhouse menu

There is nothing I don't hate about Outback Steakhouse. From the contrivance of labelling distinctly American fare with cutesy Aussie-speak, to the fact that the food just plain sucks... I hate it. Things I hate make funny blog posts, yes? So I thought I'd take a scroll through the menu.

In order to access the menu, you have to insert your zip code. Has the restaurant somehow mastered the culinary dialects of each and every suburb in America? Why do I have to clear this hurdle?

The appetizer section offers something called "Kookaburra wings". A kookaburra is a bird that is native to Australia, and which looks not unlike a puffin. While the idea of consuming such a bird as an appetizer is intriguing, the wings in question are actually made from chickens. This is curious, since Australians have an actual nickname for chicken wings, which would have been entirely appropriate in this context, but I digress.

They refer to their crab cakes as "lump" crab cakes. I find this perplexing. The term "jumbo lump" refers to the exquisite muscles that connect to the swimming fins of the crab. There is no such thing as "lump" crab. If it's jumbo lump, why not say so, and impress the food snobs? If it's not (and, trust me, it's not) who are they fooling?

Under soups and salads, we find "walkabout soup". Does this mean it comes with a naked 14 year old girl floating in it? Also, the french onion soup features "world famous" onions. I am well aware of the connotations of this well-work piece of hyperbole, but how are Outback's onions any more famous than other onions? Onions are onions, by definition. Are they organic or something?

Their "favorites" section includes prime rib. Outback Steakhouse aside, does anyone know why prime rib is ignored by food critics? Many restaurants feature it prominently, and it tastes just fine, but gets no pub. What's the deal?

But I've veered off the path.

Also in the Favorites section, Outback's "No Rules Parmesan Pasta". The item features a handy link to the, um, rules. Reckless customers are given the option to adorn their parmesan pasta with chicken, scallops or shrimp, all for the low-low (and by low-low, I mean egregious) price of $17.

Aside from meat choices, customers may check a box labelled "no seasoning". Well, that's rebellion for you. "I'll take my pasta with chicken, and I'm playing without rules. So hold the seasonings, bitch!"

Most curious item on the menu? The "Chicken-Fried Chicken". That's so redundant, I felt compelled to read the description. Turns out it's just fried chicken. What if all people described things this way? "See you in an hour, honey, I'm going to car drive the car." Whacky Australians. We've sure got them pegged.

Apparently, you can spend $25 on a steak at this place. Also, you can drown infants. I mean, as long as were making bad decisions...

The "No Rules Outback Grillers" features a link referring me to the parmesan pasta. Apparently, the webmaster is as disrespectful of the rules as I am.

The tilapia is served with "pure lump" crab meat. This comes from the same fantasy land as the "lump" crab meat, but is nicer, cause it's under "entrees". Also, you are given that option to add on king crab for the low-low (see above) price of $12. Has anyone ever taken Outback up on this offer?

At least the sandwiches are cheap. Honestly, I think the bacon/burger/cheese ensemble is more in Outback's wheelehouse. There is a no-rules burger, but that again leads back to the rules governing the "no rules" pasta. Is this what they mean by pushing the "upsell"?

And besides, did you really think that a waitress would deny you your choice of toppings on your burger? Unless the waitress from Five Easy Pieces walks in, I'm pretty sure she'll give you whichever burger suits your imagination... I mean, so long as you don't ask for a good one.

The Coon Rapids menu offers "fresh seasonal veggies". What constitutes a fresh seasonal veggie in Minnesota, in winter? Rutabega? I'm just guessing here. They also have a "wedge salad". If this were the Onion AV club, I would call that the inevitable dash of pretension.

Onto the desserts section, which features the "Chocolate Thunder from Down Under". Are the good people at Outback aware of the fact that there is a popular male strip act with a similar name? Cause I am envisioning some despondent 52 year old ladies noshing on a stale brownie topped with whipped cream. Thunder indeed.

Seriously, though, we should try this place some time.


Blogger Sarah said...

No doubt like many others, this menu was written by the 18 year old managers with no marketing experience who were told by the higher-ups to come up with the menu names.

No doubt to "change it up" someday, Outback will market cream cheese wontons as kangaroo pouches ans a new yourk strip will be called an alligator steak.

Or what about Sydney's Sliders?

I'll pay a good price for good food. Outback has yet to capture me on that. Timberlodge on the other hand had phenomenal food. Sucks that the one in West St Paul closed....

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Matt T. said...

I saw 'pure jumbo lump' crab on the menu at Muffaletta last night and thought of you...Happy belated b-day my friend

8:02 AM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

And with a price to match. Enjoy it while you can. Real crab is going the way of the truffle. But Outback crab cakes are forever.

Thanks for the birthday wishes.

9:17 AM  
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7:14 PM  

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