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Outback Steakhouse vs. Longhorn Steakhouse: Who Has the Better Steaks?

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Back in the old days, going to a fine dining establishment was necessary if you’re planning to enjoy a good steak. But that was then and this is now, and today you don’t really have to shell out the serious bucks to enjoy some seriously fine steaks.

Chain restaurants like Outback Steakhouse and Longhorn Steakhouse have seen to that. Who needs 5-star restaurants when these brands have hundreds of locations to serve the steak cravings of their customers? These two brands are among the biggest steakhouse chains in the entire US.

You don’t have to be rich to enjoy a good steak these days. These steakhouse brands became popular for good reasons—they sure serve good steaks. But that just leads to the natural question: which brand offers the better steaks?

Visiting the Outback

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With Outback Steakhouse, the main theme here is unsurprisingly Australian. There’s an implied promise that the steaks here would be considered great by the likes of Crocodile Dundee. If you’re that rough and ready dude that’s looking for some action, you need these steaks to fuel you up, and the flavors should match your taste buds.

From the outside, Outback doesn’t exactly look Australian, though. Even when you enter the location, it’s not as if you’ve entered a portal to Down Under. But the vibe was nice, with paneled wooden booths to give it an outdoorsy feel. There are also framed photos of the actual Outback on the walls, along with the almost obligatory pictures of kangaroos.

The server who attended to our needs was quite friendly, like how you’d expect the Australians to be when you visit their country. The server was nicely attentive, and also quite useful.

The bread presentation was notable, and the nifty knife evoked that famous Crocodile Dundee scene (“That’s not a knife. This is a knife!”). The hot honey-oat bread was sweet and airy, which we didn’t really expect.it wasn’t that hard to spread the whipped butter on it, and eating the bread didn’t really fill us up. That’s good, as that’s the steak’s job.

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We went with a margarita as well. In fact, we picked the regular house margarita, which Outback calls the Sauza Gold Coast ‘Rita. It was a bit sweet for our taste, but it wasn’t bad.

But on to the food. We picked the bone-in ribeye steak cooked medium rare. And with it, we also asked for the house salad, along with some loaded baked potatoes and steamed veggies.

We also got the fabled Bloomin’ Onion, and that horseradish sauce was just fantastic. It was savory and spicy, and nicely tart.

With the 24-ounce steak, you might mistake the black stuff on top as char. But that’s actually the spice mixture, which sure tasted great. But somehow, it felt like it was compensating for the quality of the steak itself. We encountered lots of tough sinew, and in some areas, there were perhaps a bit too much salt.

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All in all, it was expensive, and the steak didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Perhaps our expectations were set too high, due to the catchy commercials and those prices. All in all, it was good—but we just wanted something better.

Visiting Longhorn

Longhorn Steakhouse doesn’t have as many locations as Outback, but it’s widely considered as the top of the casual steakhouse segment. The Longhorn brand name evokes images of Texas, but the brand actually originated from Georgia.

It was dark and sleek inside. The overall vibe is like visiting the hunting lodge of some Texan oil baron who owns a ranch. That’s because there are also lots of horse sculptures all over the place.

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The service wasn’t as great compared to Outback’s, at least in our case. We were presented with the bread, but we didn’t get a bread knife. We had to use the steak knife for the bread, but the steak knife just proved too heavy for the bread.

That was emblematic of the entire service here in Longhorn. There wasn’t really any sort of helpful server who attended to our needs.

As for the appetizer, we tried the Wild West Shrimp. That means we got plain popcorn shrimp with jalapeño slices and pickled peppers on top. It was better than we expected, with the shrimp fried to utter perfection.

But what about the steak? What we got was a bit smaller, weighing just 14 ounces. The bone-in ribeye featured some salty white butter. That was nice, though hardly needed. The steak also came with some sinew, but at least it wasn’t as gristly as the Outback steak.

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It as noticeably watery, however. It wasn’t cooked evenly, and there wasn’t enough salt. All in all, it was a disappointment as well.

Final Words

Perhaps we were expecting a bit too much when we came back to these restaurants, after the long pandemic absence. The food wasn’t as good as we had hoped. It wasn’t bad, but perhaps they’ll improve this time.

So, where should you go? We did prefer the Outback experience, as the server attentiveness was very nice. The Longhorn offered great food as well, though the steak was the notable exception. All in all, it was average steak for both places!

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