Parenting Blog

A Very LongHorn Steakhouse Father’s Day

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Dad Central Consulting for LongHorn Steakhouse. I received a gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

The best part of dinner was hearing Good Old War’s “Calling Me Names” on the way out. This is not how it was supposed to be.

The wifey and I have long since made the switch to supporting only locally-owned, independent restaurants but back when we frequented chain joints, LongHorn was my favorite. I still fancy the steak-n-potatoes thing but haven’t been a steak-n-potatoes man since, well, since before I was a man. As an young lad of 8, 10, and 12 (and odd numbered years too) I would always do my part to drive up the bill when out to dinner with my parents, ordering filet mignon (with Bearnaise sauce when available – yum!) The only regret from my steak-y youth is always ordering my expensive cut of beef cooked medium well, thus turning it into a boot sole. I blame that preparation preference on bad parenting. There is nothing other way around it.

Longhorn Steakhouse Logo

When this new opportunity came about, to enjoy a pre-Father’s Day family dinner at LongHorn Steakhouse, dig into a juicy steak, and write about the experience I was like, “heck yeah” there’s a story to tell here. Only, I didn’t expect it to be this story. I went in with an open mind, a loving heart, and an empty stomach. But all did not go well.

The 6oz. Flo’s Filet, the modest, thoroughly “normal” portion of food that originally drew me to LongHorn, was over-seasoned and flat, the flattest filet I’ve ever seen…until I looked at my wife’s. The Mrs. ordered the same, with a couple of skewers of grilled shrimp to boot (one of which was undercooked,) and her filet was thinner still, like a common sirloin. Only thinner. In my mind, and on the plates of my youth, were thick, succulent cuts where the meat itself was the star attraction. Not here. These flat filets were coated in seasoning that distracted (on purpose?) the taste of the steak itself.

Before we were served our steaks, well, not entirely before (more on that in a minute) we did enjoy our $1.49 side salad upgrade to the tasty new Ranch House Cobb served with bacon and avocado, and a delicious smokey tomato ranch dressing. But then, when we were not even half way finished with our salads, out came the entrees and they were shoved in front of us. Literally. My wife’s salad was pushed further down the table, towards the Mouse’s place on the inside of our the booth, with her entree plate! Clank, clank, shove, shove, down it went. Once we picked our jaws up off the table, the wife and I sucked our teeth loudly and shook our heads slowly in disappointment. That is just not done! Ever! At least not at a place that wants to consider itself a finer establishment, one charging $20 for a plate of food. In my book of dining out rules, this is no-no #1: never, ever, ever, ever, ever bring out a new course until the previous has been eaten and the plates/bowls/utensils from it cleared. There is no wiggle room here. None.

Longhorn Steakhouse plates next to plates

My entree put down next to my salad which was still being eaten and enjoyed greatly.

Longhorn Steakhouse Entress and Salads

My wife’s entree as it was being used to shove her salad down the table. The biggest no-no in restaurant service.

The bread, which comes out as often as you’d like, was as good as I remembered, and we ate an awful lot of it. So there was that. Could this have been a bad night for our local Longhorn? Maybe, but we were there early on a Wednesday night and the place was mostly empty. The problems we encountered were more systemic than hectic-inducing and that’s troubling. I trade in restaurant risk by frequenting independent establishments, that is part of the deal when being challenged by a changing menu and by unique, ever-evolving preparations. I am more than comfortable with those risks, but I personally cannot afford a $75 dinner that leaves me disappointed in the service and in the quality of the food itself.

Longhorn Steakhouse Kids Menu Activities

The LongHorn kid’s menu featured a number of fun activities.

The kid’s menu was typical with banal offerings of cheeseburgers and mac-n-cheese (KRAFT no less), but did list steamed broccoli as a side choice. The Mouse got that with her grilled chicken strips and enjoyed the green veggie very much. This is small but commendable as it seems 95% of restaurants, chain or otherwise, refuse to provide families with a cooked veggie option on the kid’s menu. The activities booklet for the kiddos was enough to provide a fair amount of entertainment to a young child during a 1-hour mealtime.

I understand many folks, including a number of my readers and online comrades, dig themselves the Longhorn Steak, and despite our rough time of it, I really can see why. But I think we will be returning to our world now and not venturing back to the land of chain restaurants for a long, long time, not even making exceptions for those places we DID fancy ‘back in the day.’ And I will be spending Father’s Day over top my new Weber Grill, cooking out for friends and family during an oddly schedule play date (I truly forgot about Father’s Day when I invited folks over!)

Maybe you’ll consider heading to LongHorn Steakhouse for Father’s Day (a $25 gift card will score a bonus fiver for yourself!) or picking up a set of their snazzy, very heavy and well-made steak knives as a gift. If you do go, try that Ranch House Cobb salad and if your entrees come out while you’ve still got lettuce and avocados on your fork, throw up a stop sign and send them back to the kitchen.

Oh, And eat another loaf of that delicious bread for me!

Longhorn Steakhouse Steak Knives GIft Set

Consult the Longhorn Steakhouse Grilling Tips before firing up grill this summer.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Dad Central Consulting for LongHorn Steakhouse. I received a gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

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