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Outback Steakhouse

Maybe it's the 44 ounces of Foster's talking, but this eerie Midtown Outback totally rules (sorry, no rules, just right). I've been eyeing this branch ever since I started a new job across the street from their take out window. There's something absurd about advertising curbside service ("no rules just right to your car") in a city where no one drives. But then there's something absurd about an Outback Steakhouse on the cusp of the Upper East Side, too.

Nothing pleases me more than the absurd so I was thrilled to finally pay this anomaly a visit. The most glaring difference between this Outback and every other one I've ever been visited, is that there wasn't a wait. In fact, half the tables were empty (though there was a minor male dominated happy hour scene at the bar) I've waited over 60 minutes in Edgewater for the privilege of a seat. This lack of large families with toddlers crowding the entrance was unnerving. Of course the prices are all a couple bucks higher ($8.95 Bloomin' Onion as opposed its $6.96 New Jersey counterpart), but that's the price you pay for NYC class.

To be honest, I'm not fanatical about steaks, meat is meat (well, Peter Luger is pretty convincing). I just like the rigmarole and side dishes. I never know which cut to order and really I don't know how much it matters. I ultimately went with a 9-ounce center cut filet, medium rather than my preferred medium-rare because even ordering medium gives the waiters conniptions. I'm sure it's part of their training, but they insist on explaining what medium means, emphasizing that there will be some pink in the middle like they're trying to scare you up a doneness notch. I don't think they're even allowed to serve anything prepared rare.

So yes, the steak was meaty. And after filling up on onion loaf, a peculiar dressing-heavy blue cheese chopped salad (I only ordered it because I never realized you got a choice besides the standard Caesar) bread and butter and a giant mug of beer, I only had room for half of my filet and chunky mashed potatoes. I don't think I've ever tried dessert at Outback. I'm not even sure what they offer–oh, that's right, The Chocolate Thunder from Down Under, duh. Maybe I'll get really wild and stop in for the disturbingly named hot fudge brownie sundae some night after work.

Outback Steakhouse * 919 Third Ave., New York, NY

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