The challenge for any chain restaurant is to be better than local mom ‘n’ pop joints, or superior to nearby “brand” competitors. Good news for the locals in Blacksburg and Christiansburg- their Outback delivers both quality food and service.
Outback customers are greeted at the door and seated in a prompt fashion. The interior has dim lighting, nice wood furnishings, and a central bar area. Servers are some of the best for any chain (this also applies for other Outbacks). Outback is family friendly, and well kept. Prices are medium high, expect to pay around $60+ for a family of four (including an appetizer, split entree, two kids’ meals, dessert, and drinks).
If you’ve never had a Bloomin’ Onion ($7), now is the time! A massive sweet onion is cut in a pattern resembling an open flower, battered (peppery and delicious), and crisped up in a deep fryer. Another fried app worth savoring is the Loaded Fries, coming to the table smothered in bacon, melted cheeses, and a sidecar of a cool Ranch-style sauce. Other starters include Wings (skip them- chicken is breaded and not the best flavor), Spinach Artichoke Dip (hot, thick), and Seared Ahi Tuna (beautiful fish slices and delicate, zippy taste).
Steak sizes range from 6 oz. to past 20 oz (prices start around $10 and go up according to size, cut). There are other dishes, but this writer always goes red. Steak is prepared to exact specs the eater desires. The Rosemary Lamb (try them medium) is another savory choice for those who don’t hunger for chicken, pasta, pork chops, or ribs.
A sampled feature item was the Steak and Seafood Mixed Grill. Steak was spot on medium, with a portion of grilled shrimp and scallops, which were seared and yummy. Worth noting is the faboo Mango Salsa, which had an entirely too small amount on the plate. One customer found their dish, “Hearts of Gold Mahi,” greasy and unappetizing, and warned this gastronut to avoid it.
Side dishes are decent, with cooked veggies being served up in a variety of styles. Salads are crisp, with fresh greens and grape tomatoes. Get a salad with the house spicy Ranch dressing. The Loaded Potato did come FULLY loaded with cheese, bacon, green onion, sour cream, and butter heaped over a baked potato rolled in crunchy Kosher salt.
Outback serves mixed drinks and a selection of brews, and the brand spanking new seasonal offering “Alpine Spring” on tap. This beer contained gentle floral notes (22 oz. serving is $5.75). The signature “slushy for adults” is aptly labeled “Wallaby Be Darned.” Think peach. And icebergs. A tasty treat indeed, and perfect with grilled seafood.
Outback scores bonus points for their website. Eaters can see the entire menu, including a downloadable menu with local prices. Harried diners in a rush can tap the call ahead seating, or curbside takeout. Outback supplies their entire menu, excluding alcohol, to go.
295 Pepper’s Ferry Rd. NE
Christiansburg, VA 24073