Monday, June 10, 2013

Take A "Steakcation" This 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.”

There are words that you can be scared of. Those three little words do it for me everytime.

What's for dinner?

As a stay at home parent of three picky eaters who are eight year old and under, planning dinnertime fare can be daunting. One likes meat, the other likes cheese, and the third only likes hot dogs and chicken nuggets, but even that gets old. The one thing I do love to do when it comes to making our family meals is grilling. In fact, I am not the only one. While I would like to say I am master of my domain, my wife can grill with the best of them.

While taking a family of five out to a restaurant can be like managing a three ring circus, I look forward to eating out with the family when we get the courage to try it and have forgotten what happened the last time we were all out. So when Longhorn Steakhouse asked if I was interested in participating in their "Steakcation" I was more than willing to give them a try. They wanted to give dad a break from the grilling and make me the perfect steak, celebrating dads who are a "Cut Above" the rest for Father's Day. So we packed up the troops and headed out to the restaurant.

LongHorn took care of us and sent me a genuine set of LongHorn Steak Knives and a gift card to cover our meal. My family and I had never been to LongHorn Steakhouse before. Lots of times you aren't sure with three little ones how a meal there will go. So, we planned an afternoon lunch this past weekend at the Exton location.

The restaurant was nicely decorated inside with lots for the kids to look at. We were seated in a large booth that accommodated all of us. We were impressed by how many pages the kid's menu had to keep them busy which is nice because it can be difficult to keep them busy while they waited for their food. The kids ordered their usual stuff, macaroni and cheese with broccoli on the side, a hot dog with fries, and a hamburger with a side of broccoli. My kids LOVE broccoli and it was great to see this as an option on the menu. I was disappointed that the mac n'cheese was straight out of the box Kraft and not some homemade version, especially when you are paying to eat out.

The kids' food and our appetizer came out quickly and our two year old enjoyed eating the breading off the Tonion appetizer even if she didn't care for the actual onion inside. My wife and I had just seen a Longhorn Steakhouse commercial the night before advertising new signature steaks, one being a double bacon wrapped piece of meat smothered with cheese and another that was full of delicious jalapeno flavor. Since we didn't see them on the lunch menu, we asked if this was a figment of our imagination or something real. The server told us that those were the new dinner specials.

Despite my initial downtrodden expression, the server told us that they could offer any of those items for lunch and that they could also sub the cut of meat as well. Faced with a tough decision, I had to go double bacon with cheese filet, it only seemed logical. I opted for the Ceasar salad and fries for my sides. I am a medium-well guy and told our server. She asked if a little pink was OK. I said yes, but that I didn't want it too pink. I was determined for them to deliver on their promise of fresh, never frozen, hand-seasoned and expertly grilled steaks. Longhorn Steakhouse prides themselves in crafting expertly grilled steaks so much that they even have a Grilling Tips Fact Sheet.

The picture on the left portrays the menu item, The Smoky Double Bacon Sirloin. The actual steak,is represented on the right. The steak itself was tender, not tough, and the very same steak knives that they are offering for a Father's Day gift cut through them like butter. The steak itself wasn't cooked medium-well. It was undercooked, in my opinion. My steak was advertised with this wonderful four cheese sauce but I got a measly dollop and not the overflowing cheesy goodness I expected. If it weren't for the bacon I might have given up on this steak.

My wife, who likes hers medium-rare says that hers was borderline raw. In fact, when the waitress asked her if she liked a little pink on the inside I was worried because that is exactly what she had said to me. It appeared as if they only cooked them one way regardless of your preference. She ordered the Rancher's Sirloin. In both cases, we were underwhelmed by the seasoning, it just didn't have the flavor it advertised. My wife's was supposed to come with a sunny side up egg. She looked forward to the runny yolk mixing with the applewood smoked bacon but alas, her egg was overcooked.

The salad was fresh and delicious with shaved parmesan but we were disappointed that the main course's plate did not include a garnish of any kind. While each steak came with two sides, it was all meat and potatoes and nothing else. It could have used something to accompany it to brighten up the plate.

Overall, the kids enjoyed eating out. They LOVED the bread. They loved checking out the bathrooms which we did multiple times and giggled thoroughly at how the bathrooms were marked. While we were waiting to finish our meal, my wife played a game with the kids where they had to find something she described. If you ever are out at a place with lots of personality like LongHorn Steakhouse, I highly suggest this game to keep them busy as they were actively searching the restaurant and not climbing under the table for five minutes to retrieve lost crayons.

While I was disappointed in my steak, I still want to thank LongHorn for giving my family and I the opportunity to be together out at a restaurant and for giving this dad a meal off. I would also like to thank them for the awesome set of steak knives that they sent. If you have a steak lover in your family I suggest you give these knives a whirl. They are available at any LongHorn Steakhouse location for only $29.99. All knives are made of high carbon steel with serrated blade edges for outstanding strength and cutting ability. They would make a great gift for 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 opinions shared on this page are solely those of DadNCharge and was not influenced by the bacon at all.

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