Photos by MJ Klein
With all that’s been going on lately, Hui-chen and I decided to go to one of our favorite places, the Outback Steakhouse in Hsinchu, for a relaxing evening of fine dining. For the last few weeks I’ve been saying that I need a vacation. We decided to have a high class meal and enjoy ourselves.
Nothing beats starting off a meal with Moet & Chandon. Hui-chen looks on approvingly.
Outback has a new menu. One thing that we noticed is, many items on the menu are only available at the Taipei branch. Those items are marked with a big red dot. It seems like most of the things that we would have ordered had a big red dot next to them.
Next up was this nice chicken salad – big enough for 2 people.
There are no photos of what we came for – the steak. The reason is, we were disappointed by them. First of all, since Outback changed their menu, the very steak that I came for (the Porterhouse) its no longer available. The next best item is the T-bone, and its now a thin steak, like what I get in Thailand. There was way too much fat and gristle on that cut of meat. Plus, there is one issue that I just cannot abide by, and that is additives! I frequently tell waiters that I want nothing on my steak but “the chef’s fingerprints.” My steak came out overcooked and I had to send it back. The next one came out with some kind of pepper seasoning on it, and it made the steak taste dry and spicy – which I passionately dislike! The manager told us that they put some stuff on the grill to make grill marks, which means she totally missed the point about the seasoning – this was some kind of powered seasoning that someone sprinkled onto the meat to give it “flavor” (this is a frequent solution in Taiwan). Hui-chen and I have dined in both the Hsinchu and Taipei branches on several occasions and this is the first time we have experienced that seasoning additive.
As if that weren’t enough, Bushman is an outdoor cooking expert and I can tell you that the grill temperature was too low. The chef was “afraid” that the inside wouldn’t be cooked enough (so stated by the manager when she brought the steak), so he turned down the grill to prevent the outside from cooking too quickly (as opposed to just frequent turning as one normally would). The result was a “baked” flavor and the entire cut was mushy. I couldn’t finish it.
Hui-chen’s ribeye was moderately good, but it was better than my T-bone (which isn’t saying much). At least it was a thick and juicy cut of meat, as it should have been.
Typical grilled steak in Thailand. Thin and easily dried out if overcooked.
Sorry to have to give a negative review, but our Outback experience last night wasn’t as good as we have come to expect. Please bring back the old menu!
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