Monday, August 5, 2013

Outback Steakhouse: Everyone Needs to Eat Steak!

One of the simple joys in life is enjoying a good steak. Being served up a steak that is spiced generously all over, seared with a nice char on the outside, and still a blushing pink inside with the perfect baked potato on the side is my idea of an awesome last meal

Whenever I think about a good steak with all the sides and fixins, Outback Steakhouse comes to mind. The laid back atmosphere makes for great casual conversation, catching up with good friends over good food, and swinging back a few brewskies in the process. And that is exactly what happened when I met up with the rest of the foodie fam bam for dinner at Outback's Glorietta branch.

Outback Steakhouse's Glorietta branch recently got a makeover, brightening up the whole of the second floor with softer lights and an open space. That was a good move on their part, the second floor always made me feel so claustrophobic, but I don't smoke and don't want to get hit on by old expats, so staying at the bar in the smoking area is entirely out of the question.

Dinner started off with Outback's complimentary Bushman's Bread. I love their soft rolls, spread with whipped butter and chocolate sauce. Oh yes, chocolate sauce! I think you have to ask very nicely for this as they don't usually serve chocolate sauce on a regular basis.

I paired my rolls with a very hearty French Onion Soup, that was Outback's Soup for the Day. The onion soup was quite rich, creamy, and very peppery. I'd get a spoonful of onions or potatoes every now and again, and mixed in the melted Cheddar and Monterey Jack to add a new layer of flavor to my very heavy starter.

Jericho started his night with a non-alcoholic beverage and had a Cherry Limeade (P169) - sweet cherries and tart limes mixed with a a lemon lime soda. It was refreshing, but drinking out of the paper straws can be such a hassle, as the paper softens up rendering the straw useless after a few minutes. Ang OA niyo, Makati.

I was feeling a bit festive, and had myself a glass of Coco-Berry Smoothie (P169). A frosty blend of creamy coconut and strawberries, it was like summer in a glass! I didn't fare any better with the paper straws and ended up putting it aside and just drinking the thick mixture straight out of the glass.

Salads, I feel (most of the time), are there to make me feel a little bit better for gorging on all that protein and carb come the main course. The salads at Outback beg to differ. They make your tongue want to slap your brain out - they're so good!

Take the Crispy Shrimp Caesar Salad (P499) for instance. Fresh romaine heart is drizzled with a combination of Caesar's dressing and a balsamic vinegar reduction and topped with crispy baby rock shrimp tossed in Asian chili sauce topped with fresh tomatoes and Parmesan. Whew! That's a mouthful. And so was the salad! The shrimp reminded me of a dish at PF Chang's, but I think I appreciate the salad and this price point a bit better.

Another awesome Outback salad is the Ahi Tuna Chopped Salad (P499) - Fresh iceberg spring mix lettuce and cucumbers are tossed in a wasabi vinaigrette with crispy wontons and topped with a sashimi-style, pan-seared tuna. The tuna was encrusted with lots of seasoning and seared just enough for the crust to harden on the outside, acting like delicious armor protecting the delicate ahi meat within.

Everyone seemed to go nuts for the Kookaburra Wings (Half - P279, Full - P459) - there was a lot of hoarding happening a couple of seats down. Haha! Outback's chicken wings are tossed in a savory blend of secret spices, paired with a cool and creamy blue cheese dressing and celery sticks for those still feeling a bit peckish. You can choose whether to have them medium or hot - of course, when given the option, I always want my food at some level of hawt.

The Alice Spring Chicken (P599) is a doozy for the arteries! You think you're doing it proud by ordering flame-grilled chicken breasts, but then it's all for naught as it's topped with sautéed mushrooms, strips of crispy bacon, melted Monterey Jack and Cheddar, finished with a honey mustard sauce and served with Aussie fries. Bam! Diet fail. This was so good, I couldn't stop picking off bits and pieces of the cheesy bacon and polishing off the fries. It was all so good, I almost forgot there was a guilt-free frilled chicken breast hiding under there.

My heart skipped a beat when our server brought out the Grilled Peppercorn Steak (10oz - P1,199). It's thick cut New York Strip steak encrusted with crushed black peppercorns, flame-grilled, and served with your choice of two freshly-made sides.

I love, love, love me my peppercorn steak! The strip steak was served medium and was a blushing pink when cut open. Served with a peppercorn gravy, I sopped everything up with my potatoes, making sure nothing went to waste.

The Herb Crusted Prime Rib (10 oz - P1,449), on the other hand, was a lot more tender than the peppercorn steak. Seasoned with a special herb seasoning and slow roasted, it is hand-carved to order and served with traditional au jus, as well as your choice of freshly made sides. This is only available during dinner as it takes most of the day to marinate.

Although the prime rib was a lot more tender and way juicier than the New York strip, my heart remains with the Grilled Peppercorn Steak. I must've been Indian in a past life with my love affair with pepper and chili. You can also add a glass of Cabernet Sauvingnon, Santa Luz, Chile to pair with either steak for an additional P275.

Dessert at Outback never disappoints, as most of the time it's as decadent as the main course. Cleansing my palette of all the steak I ate that night, I indulged my taste buds in an order of the infamous Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (P329) and it was glorious! The fresh-baked pecan brownie is crowned with rich vanilla ice cream, drizzled with a classic warm chocolate sauce and finished with chocolate shavings and whipped cream.

Eugene got more of the warm chocolate sauce to dip the pecan brownie in - I love how generous he is sharing his chocolate secrets with me. Jericho paired it with Outback's signature Apple Martini (P275) made with Stolichnaya vodka, sour apple schnapps, and their proprietary citrus mix. Make that two.

So when mucking around Manila and wanting to get your steak on, head on over to Outback Steakhouse and try their limited time offer on the Grilled Peppercorn Steak and Herb Crusted Prime Rib. The servings are good for sharing if you can't handle all that meat... and so you can make enough room for that glorious monstrosity Outback calls dessert!

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Images taken by Jericho San Miguel of The Pixel Project Manila

Outback Steakhouse
+63 2 729 8458 to 59
G/F Glorietta 4, Ayala Ave cor Pasay Rd.
Ayala Center, Makati
Monday - Thursday: 11am - 10pm; Friday - Sunday: 11am - 3am