One has to be rather skeptical of a chain restaurant that pretends to have an Australia connection when it has none at all, and when Australia in fact has no real reputation for grilling steak. However, the choice of steak house in Fairfax is quite limited, and this particular restaurant is twice as close (at 2 miles) than the next closest Outback (4 miles from my house). The only other restaurant that specializes in steaks in the area is Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, which provides an entirely different experience in terms of price, quality, and ambience. Nonetheless, after my latest experience, I will not return to Outback. Maybe I’ll just go down the road to Brion’s Grille for the BBQ Bourbon rib-eye or the 8-ounce top sirloin.
The Outback on Braddock always seems quite popular, but takes no reservations. We thought we could get around this by calling in. The girl who answered put down our names and told me that we should have a table in 35 minutes. When we arrived at the restaurant, however, she said our names weren’t on her list and she was now writing down our names. And again, we should have a table in 35 minutes. I suspect, in fact, that she never puts down the name of any call-ins, and just lies about doing so.
For some reason, the restaurant is always crowded and noisy (hence the long wait for a table). Our waiter arrived promptly and brought our drinks. When the server brought the food, we told him we didn’t need anything else. I did later decide I wanted some Worcestershire sauce, but the waiter never returned until quite late in the meal when he refilled our water glasses, which had stood empty for quite a while. He took even longer to refill my daughter’s glass with Coke. Our food was fine, and I will even say that my sweet-potato fries were cooked perfectly, flavorful and crisp, not soggy.
Overall, however, the Outback on Braddock is a dreary place, with no sense of class and a desire to move customers quickly in and out, like cattle.
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