Hooray for Bloomin Onions: LA Weekly's restaurant critic Besha Rodell filed a review of Outback Steakhouse, the Australian-themed cheating hotspot and corporate chain restaurant. Surprisingly, Rodell doesn't totally hate everything and awards Outback a "Fair" single star. Though the Australian-born Rodell finds "nothing about Outback Steakhouse... Australian," she still manages to enjoy the parts of the meal she doesn't spend "wriggl[ing] out of [her] skin with 23 years of pent-up disgust."
She says the "basically made-up" "shrimp on the barbie" dish was actually "pretty good: well-seasoned, fat, cooked pretty much perfectly" despite being served with a "salty and slutty and gross" dipping sauce. And even though the steaks "aren't very good," Rodell praises the undeniable value of "a $20 filet that's as big as your head." All in all, her reluctant enjoyment of gut-busting dishes like the Bloomin Onion and the Toowoomba pasta earned the star. Not bad, considering Rodell has the option of goose-egging at her disposal.
Rodell isn't the first critic to weigh in on a chain restaurant, of course. Her predecessor Jonathan Gold filed a review of Olive Garden in 2011, but he didn't enjoy his chain experience nearly as much as Rodell did. Grand Forks Herald critic Marilyn Hagerty's review of her local Olive Garden notoriously went viral, and helped land her a book deal with Anthony Bourdain's Ecco imprint. Former New York Times critic Sam Sifton even reviewed the KFC Double Down when it dropped.