What sort of restaurant comes to mind when you see the above image? With a wood grained paneled interior such as this, the first thing that comes to mind for me is a steakhouse, with all the meaty, smokey goodness that lies within. In this case, it’s the Outback Steakhouse.
It’s the sort of place where manly men hang out with other manly men, or as the manly head of their family, to eat manly meals that are of man-sized portions.
So it’s kind of odd to admit that two men walked into this establishment to share a single entree, a single main and, for a moment, contemplated sharing a dessert. One of those men may have been me.
Steakhouses have never really attracted me as a diner. After all how much skill & effort does it take to pick a good cut of meat, throw it down onto frying pan (or charcoal BBQ if you want to get fancy) wait til it’s done just right, build a pan sauce from the fond as the meat rests (if appropriate) and then eat?
That’s not to say they don’t serve great food. Some do. I’m just not attracted to that sort of food when looking for a place to dine out.
However, we weren’t here for the steaks anyways.
The reason why an old school friend and the person that may have been me found our way into a local Outback Steakhouse was for this.
Chookaburra Wings ($12.95). To everyone outside of the Outback Steakhouse’s marketing department, these are what most people refer to as Buffalo wings; that simple, yet wonderful combination of spicy & buttery, with the typical accompaniments of a cooling blue cheese dipping sauce and celery sticks.
I pity the poor tourist who misreads this menu item and thinks they’re eating some exotic Australian fauna.
These wings are quite nice. Available in mild, medium and hot, to suit all tastes. However, for those of us that love the fiery heat of chili, order hot but expect medium.
The blue cheese dipping sauce is also great, and pairs well with either the wings or the celery. I could easily see myself ordering the dip and celery on its own, were it available on the menu, and were it manly to do so.
Razorback Ribs ($35.95). A full kilo of BBQ pork ribs conceal a pile of chips beneath. An awesome sight to behold in person as a kilo of ribs is certainly more than enough for one, or in this case two. Though there is a lot of bone, a kilo of ribs still amounts to an impressive amount of meat.
As impressive as it was visually, taste wise it was only fair. Meat was a tad on the dry side, as was the sauce glaze. The chips weren’t too bad. A little lacking in the crunch department but that may have something to do with being encased in what would effectively be a meaty steam chamber.
Chocolate Thunder ($10.95) is probably the most man-sized dessert that I’ve seen in a restaurant, especially at that price. A large slab of freshly baked chocolate pecan brownie sits in a pool of warm chocolate sauce. Stacked on top of this foundation of rich chocolatey goodness are scoops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, capped off with a chocolate twirl.
It’s an awesome dessert too. Not in that fine dining, nuanced textures and complex flavours kind of way. It’s more primal with its awesome. Hot & fudgey contrasts nicely with cold and smooth, with loads of rich sweetness to go around.
Though two individual Chocolate Thunder desserts were ordered, with the amount of struggle required to finish it, we could have done with sharing only one. Though, we’d never admit that to the staff at the Outback Steakhouse, or each other.
Even though many man cards were lost during this dining experience at the Outback Steakhouse, I could certainly see myself coming back for the wings and dessert. Though next time, I think I’ll come up with some story about how I ate at the Japanese place down the road and left unsatisfied.
Or rather, the person that may be me may do so.
Outback Steakhouse (North Strathfield)
Level 1, 3 George Street, North Strathfield
+61 2 8756 5741
Mon-Thurs: 5pm – 10pm
Friday: 5pm – 11pm
Saturday: Noon – 11pm
Sunday: Noon – 10pm