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‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Down Under delights from the Outback

Will Watts
Correspondent

Our next dining destination is one of my rare visits to a chain restaurant, in this case, Outback Steakhouse in South Naples. There are some downsides to chain dining, but they do know how to manage things.

For example, we ordered and paid online, a real nice convenience at this time. I also picked it up curbside without leaving my vehicle. Another plus.

Now on to the food. If you’re going Outback, it’s almost obligatory to order a “Bloomin’ Onion” ($7.99) For the uninitiated, it’s a giant “hand-carved” onion deep fried to a golden brown, similar in taste to an onion ring until you dip it in the restaurant’s spicy signature sauce. Then it’s a whole ‘nother experience.

The taste is incredible. And so freakin’ naughty. I tried it, but I didn’t inhale.

That wasn’t the only appetizer on the menu for us. We also ordered the “Sydney ‘Shrooms” ($6.99), battered and fried mushrooms served with a spiced ranch dressing. Personally, I liked this a bit more than the onion.

Both my dining companion and I also partook of the French onion soup ($6.99). One thing you can say about Outback, they know how to handle onions. Topped with melted provolone, this might have been my favorite dish of the night. And that’s saying a lot.

For my main entrée, I had the “Queensland Chicken & Shrimp Pasta.” Yes, it comes with two meats, but I decided to go all shrimp instead. It’s fettuccine noodles tossed in a bold Alfredo sauce and topped with the restaurants delectable wood-fired shrimp. An amazing dish.

You may have noticed I didn’t mention the price. On the website, it comes up $0.00. I thought one of two things, I either wouldn’t get the dish I ordered, or they’d notice the mistake and add the price to the bill. Between ordering and picking up, I totally forgot this little detail. And guess what? I got the dish, and there was no charge for it. So, I guess it’s free. Fortunately, I tipped 20 percent for curbside pickup, so I don’t feel guilty about it. Nor do I feel bad passing along this little tidbit. I will be interested to see how long it takes them to figure it out.

My partner in dine ordered the “Toowoomba Salmon” ($21.99), grilled salmon topped with seasoned and sautéed shrimp tossed with mushrooms in a creamy creole sauce and served with two freshly made sides. We picked the honey butter and brown sugar baked sweet potato and the mixed vegetables. This dish was a solid performer. The salmon was cooked to perfection and the potato was an awesome side.

He also selected the blue cheese pecan chopped side salad ($4.99), featuring chopped style mixed greens with shredded carrots, red cabbage, green onions, cinnamon pecans and Aussie crunch tossed (they look like fried Asian noodles) with a blue cheese vinaigrette and topped with blue cheese crumbles. The dressing was the star of this show.

Dessert was also on tap. Both dishes we selected are new to the menu. I had the triple-layer carrot cake ($7.99) with coconut and pecans topped with a sweet vanilla cream cheese icing. So good!

My dining companion had the butter cake ($6.99) featuring sweet, rich butter cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Not bad. Just not as good as mine.

Sometimes an amazing meal can come from a chain restaurant. And I can remember when a hankering for Outback came with a 30-plus minute drive. So, I’m happy that that’s been rectified.   

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

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If you go

Outback Steakhouse

  • 9975 Triangle Blvd., South Naples
  • 239-732-1351
  • outback.com