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Outback Steakhouse: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right, It Makes One Very Big Wrong

Outback Steakhouse screws upBeing that this week was perhaps the most stressful week in my life, my wife and I decided to take a date and have a relaxing evening on Friday. Dinner and a movie ought to do the trick, right?

Despite our previous experience with the Outback Steakhouse, we decided to try them again. So what about our last experience? Well, here we go.

Okay, so I order these beef tenderloins (called “fillet grillers” on the menu). I order them well done. My wife orders a 9 oz. center-cut fillet, cooked medium. She was going to order it well done, but I told her she should order it medium since the tendency is for restaurants to overcook steak.

After a bit, here comes the meal. My tenderloins are absolutely perfect! Very very scrumptious indeed. My wife’s steak? It was rare. I mean, we’re talking a barely-dead rare. I took a bite just to be sure and, while it tasted great, neither one of us likes the texture of raw meat, nor do we like our meat cold! This steak was definitely cold on the inside.

Penguins like it rareSo we send it back, and this time ask for it to be done medium well. A few minutes later, it comes back medium rare. We send it back again. This time, the chef/cook comes out and talks to us himself. My wife reiterates her desire for it to be medium well. Finally, after being cooked for the third time, it’s medium well. Except now it’s as tough as rubber!

So, wrong #1 tells us that just because a restaurant has the word “steakhouse” in the name, it doesn’t mean they know how to cook it. That was perhaps a month ago.

Since I loved my tenderloins so much, my wife decides she’d like to order up some. So for our date yesterday, we show up at 6:50 pm to get our name on the list (I figured that would be enough time to get in by 8:00 pm). That’s when we are told the wait is “80 to 90 minutes, so probably a little before 8:20.”

Okay, that’s still enough time to get in, eat, and catch a 10:00 movie. So we run down the the movie theater (about 20 minutes away) and buy our tickets. We then return to Outback Steakhouse to get an update on the time. No change. So we decide to wander through the other stores in the strip mall where Outback Steakhouse is located.

At 8:00, just to be sure we don’t miss a call to be seated, we return to the restaurant. Again, we go in to get a time update. Strangely, 7 minutes had been added to the estimated time. But they assure us, “Absolutely no later than 8:27.” Well, that’s starting to push it, but I figure we can still make it without too much rush.

So, at 8:28, I ask again how we’re looking on time. The lady looks at her list, which I glance at as well, and she says, “You’re next on the list.”

That’s funny, because I notice one name in front of mine that hasn’t been crossed out yet, and several names AFTER mine that are already crossed out. Far be it from me to assume how they keep track of when people get on the list, but I always figured the easiest way to do this is to simply list people in order top to bottom… but since not everybody is as smart as me, I don’t complain that it looks like they’ve sat several people before us that arrived later than us.

Anyway, about five minutes later (and watching 3 other parties get seated before us when we were supposedly “next on the list”) our buzzer goes off, so we approach the maitre d’. “Just one moment,” she tells us as she grabs our buzzer.

So we stand there for a bit, waiting another minute or two. That’s when they call another party up and seat them ahead of us. Uhhh… what the hell?!

At this point, my wife speaks up and asks them why, when we were just called up — after waiting over 10 minutes past the promised seat time — they are seating another party instead of us?

Well, I’m pretty, uh… not taking life very light, so I storm out of the restaurant with a vow to never return for several months when the maitre d’ is hopefully either fired for her total incompetence, or has quit.

I consider time to be one of my most valuable assets. Time is one of those things that, once it’s gone, is impossible to get back. When other people waste it, I’m not very happy about it. My time is for me to waste, not anybody else’s!

Arctice Circle’s fried halibut… Yum!So we wander on over to the Arctic Circle (a local fast food chain here in Utah) and have a quick meal — with substantially faster service heh heh. How about that? 20x faster service for a quarter of the cost! Sweet!

That allows us to get to our movie on time (10,000 B.C. — meh, it was okay) and enjoy the great service of those at the Cinemark 16 movie theater in Provo.

So my recommendation for the next time you’re in Utah County and are looking for a great place to eat? Try out the Chef’s Table, where the beef tenderloins are also quite tasty, and the service unfailingly exquisite (don’t forget to check out their awesome bathroom — the only thing missing is a bidet!)