It is not every day that a well-known, reputable chain restaurant moves from one side of town to the next and unveils a whole new look. Yet, it happened right here in Vero Beach and yours truly was able to get a front row seat for their VIP night Sunday, March 12th along with my two favorite guys, Michael (my husband) and Charlie (my son).
Soft openings are always a great way to get staff, front of the house and back, to use all their newly developed skills and showcase what they learned during countless training hours. From what I could tell, the training program at Outback has gotten it down to a science because it really did run really well despite the heavy rain and packed house of hungry guests. Our seating was set for 5:15 and we were sat just minutes after arriving. A cool new text program alerted us our table was ready; gone are the days of the buzzing pager. Upon sitting, the trainer, Amber Lynn, explained that the meal would require us each to order of different sections of the menu so all kitchen staff had a chance to work on their area of expertise. Additionally, an appetizer was included along with two drinks from the bar for those of age. Best part, all of this was complimentary; what a bonus!
My family and I started off our order with simple cocktails, a Shirley temple and the kookaburra-wings. The Castaway Cocktail was really refreshing filled with Absolut® Mandrin Vodka, Cruzan® Passion Fruit Rum, Malibu® Coconut Rum, blood orange sour and a splash of pineapple juice; terrific! Though the wings came to the table before our drinks, it was clear the bar staff was backed up. We didn’t mind because it arrived mere moments later and our entire first course was spot on.
Our next course was even better the first. My husband and I each ordered the wedge salad thanks to the suggestion of our excellent waiter Zack. This salad was loaded with crisp bacon, fresh chunks of tomato, sweet red onion and Outback’s famous blue cheese dressing with extra cheese crumbles for good measure; it was crisp and incredibly enjoyable. In fact, we noticed tables around us intrigued by the presentation and they too ordered this sensational salad. Our son ordered the loaded baked potato soup and what a delight it was. Most 10 year olds are pretty picky, mine falls into that category most times and yet he had no troubles finishing his soup; dunking his slice of bread with each bite. Home run!
Before our entrees arrived, our server came back and got our second drink order. This time I opted for the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay knowing it would pair well with the bourbon bacon salmon I ordered. My husband stuck with the Castaway Cocktail and it paired nicely with the Bloomin’ Burger, salty and succulent with American cheese and grilled bun. Our son’s rack of ribs and fries were cooked perfectly and with the exception of three ribs all was consumed. Even with the other two great dinners on the table, I have to say that my salmon was the best. Flaky, well seasoned and just the right size at 7oz. it was a great choice with my wine. Our only small critique was that the macaroni and cheese was not saucy as we had hoped, it would not prevent us from going back and taking advantage of the awesome weekly specials Outback offers. In fact, I am confident that small recommendation will be taken seriously and next time it will be off the charts. More importantly, the service and new location are great!
What is even more exciting is that the new Outback is a Indian River Chamber member and as an ambassador for the chamber with White Glove Moving & Storage, it makes me happy to know that even big name restaurants and stores see the value in being friendly with the locals. My colleagues, friends and family all wish Outback much success in their new spot and we look forward to having many good events and meals there for years to come; cheers!