Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday Date Night: Back To Longhorn

My taste buds have been sending signals to the brain that there was an incredible craving for a bone-in rib eye steak going on in my mouth. The brain sent back a message that we are getting really tired of paying an arm and leg for a mediocre, or tougher than shoe leather, hunk of meat.

Allow me to mention a couple of prime examples of low quality and high prices: Eddie V's chewy center 22 ounce U.S. Prime (?) for $46. At Malio's I encountered the toughest, most devoid of flavor rib eye I have ever had. Even that fatty edge of the rib eye was tough and dry. I left over half of that $46.57 steak untouched. Then there was the 16 ounce Meyer's Angus bone-in rib eye at Grille One Sixteen for a measly $44 that had so much chewy tendon it became impossible to finish. And, the list goes on.

So, where does one go for a tender and juicy rib eye in the Bay area that doesn't chew a huge hole in the family budget? My bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, suggested Longhorn Steakhouse. We had dined at the 2055 Dale Mabry location a couple of years ago, and if memory serves, we enjoyed the experience. We decided to give them another go.

We arrived at Longhorn around 5:30 and were promptly seated, presented with menus, water, and our drink order taken. We decided on a bottle of very reasonably priced Wild Horse Pinot Noir. Our wine and bread basket arrived within minutes.

Ooops! My bad. That picture with the cute little foil wrapped patties of butter was taken at Malio's.

Here is what we were served at Longhorn:

The bread was warm with a nice crust and there was that generous tub of real creamery butter. Malio's should take note and hang their heads in shame.

Both my bride and I had salads - the garden for her and the Caesar for me. The veg was crisp and fresh in each.

But, enough with the preliminaries. Let's move to the main events.

Loraine, our charming server, told us about the super Longhorn special: 3-Course Steak Dinner with a pick 1 of 7 sides. And the Honey Wheat bread? Unlimited! This special included the salad, a loaded baked potato, and the 7 ounce Flo's Filet that my bride was going to order anyway. And, for dessert, the Peanut Butter Cup Sundae. The total for all of this food came to $19.99.

Was it worth almost twenty dollars? Oh, hell to the yes! That 3 course feast would have set us back close to $70 at any number of high end restaurants in the Bay area. The filet was juicy and tender, and cooked to mouth-watering perfection. The spud was a baked potato lover's dream; it was light and fluffy, and loaded with flavor.

My 18 ounce bone-in Outlaw Rib Eye was, without a doubt, one of the very best steaks I have ever had. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare, slathered with a dollop of melted butter, and was unbelievably tender from start to the bone-gnawing finish. There was no gristle and just a miniscule amount of fat. Oh my gosh, that was heaven on a plate, and it didn't cost $50. How about $23.99!

Loraine brought a whole bottle of ketchup for my crispy fries, not just the tiny tub I got at Grille One Sixteen - another nice touch.

Both of us were very pleased and amazed at the quantity and quality of the food. The price point was proof that the discerning diner doesn't have to pay a freakin' fortune for good food. Just because it is expensive does not guarantee quality. That's a little factoid that appears to be lost on many restauranteurs in and around Tampa. To put it another way, "Don't p--s down my back and tell me it's raining." ~ from The Outlaw Josey Wales

This wasn't a $200 or $300 dinner. Our total came to $92.85. We tacked on 20% for Loraine.

Longhorn Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Longhorn Steakhouse on Foodio54

Another ooops! Almost forgot the scrumptious dessert.

Walking from Longhorn to our car, we may have stumbled upon the resting place of Jimmy Hoffa:

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