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Outback Steakhouse – Salem

15-Mar-2005

I can hear you now – "The Outback Steakhouse?  Why would she write about that?  She is a Fool!".  :-) I admit that I am a fool, but not because of this topic!

While I was in Salem helping my Dad with preparations, we would get to the end of the day, bone-tired, knowing we should eat but not really feeling like pulling anything together ourselves.  We didn’t want fast food but we also weren’t looking for a dining "experience".  We just wanted some decent food, at a decent price in a reasonably swift manner. 

One night I convinced him to go to the Outback.  I can’t really remember the last time I was at one.  Oh – that’s sort of a lie.  I actually was at one in January 2004 when an association I belong to had a function at the Outback on Eastlake.  At the time I thought it was an odd choice (and I still do) and I really wouldn’t judge a place based on those particular circumstances.  Anyway, I can’t remember when I last went in and had a normal type meal there but I seemed to remember that their food was pretty well prepared. 

My Dad ordered a 9 oz center-cut sirloin, which appeared to be more like a 12+ oz cut.  It was grilled exactly as ordered and came with a choice of soup or salad and a heap of garlic-mashed potatoes (he had a choice of various potatoes or steamed veggies). He complained there was too much and then proceeded to eat it all! :-)   But what I was really impressed with was my dinner.  I ordered a Chicken Griller. 

First our house salads arrived.  This was a pretty large bowl of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, cheeses and croutons.  It was really crisp and fresh!  My only complaint was that there was too much cheese for my personal taste.  The salad with a couple slices of the warm, sweet, black bread they bring out would have been enough for a meal on its own! Next came my Griller.  The chicken breast had been butterflied and so was heart shaped.  It had been lightly marinated and then quick grilled to a juicy finish.  It sat on a pile of grilled pineapple, red onion, red pepper and mushrooms.  They appeared to have been grilled on a skewer and then pulled off for serving.  Under the chicken and veggies was a bed of fluffy seasoned rice.  Maybe it was just my mood but I found the meal to be simply satisfying with great textures, flavors and everything grilled as I would have done myself.  And it seemed healthy – very low fat.  Actually, I think that in the mood I was in any little thing that wasn’t right would have been so disappointing that I wouldn’t have liked anything, so this must have been good!  I was only able to eat about half of my meal. I had the remainder boxed to take home.  Later that night it became my brother’s dinner when he arrived at the house after his trip down from Seattle. 

My only disappointment of the evening was with their featured wine from Willamette Valley Vineyards but really I knew better.  When the Willamette Valley Vineyards Tasting Room opened several years ago I was excited since it was about a 15 minute drive from my parents’ house and since I love so many of the region’s Pinot Noirs and Grigios or Gris.  It was disappointing to find that Willamette Valley Vineyards produces mostly mediocre wines.  They appear to be more interested in quantity than quality.  I think some of their reserves are decent but after my first experience at the Tasting Room I decided there were plenty of Oregon wines that I really like so why waste my time trying to find something I like from this winery?  I hadn’t had their wine for some time and decided to try a glass of the Pinot Gris.  It was okay but not great.  Still the mediocre wine I remembered.  That’ll teach me!

Outback Steakhouse – Multiple locations throughout the U.S.
Outback Steakhouse in Salem
2285 Lancaster Drive NE
503-399-3700

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