28 (Wed) September 2011
at Outback Steakhouse
-Yangjae, Seocho, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with KHJ, PHY
I knew it. I knew it. I knew it would be bad. When I first saw the television advertisement for this limited-time offer, a spot featuring shmuck/smug actor Jo Insoo reassuring a gaggle of giggling girls that “It’s really very good,” portending with confidence that it most certainly would not be, I was reminded of that Friends episode where Rachel accidentally adds ground beef to an English trifle (Joey: “What’s not to like? Custard – good! Jam – good! Meat – good!”). Then again, thinking about an unexpectedly fantastic experience that I once had at a humble chop house in Napa Valley with a tri-tip steak smothered in blue cheese, I wondered if perhaps Outback Steakhouse Korea had discovered a secret property of blueberries to synergize with cheese and beef to create a revelatory flavor combination.
But no, it was worse than I’d imagined. The blueberry sauce didn’t even taste like blueberries, more like artificial blueberry syrup. A handful of whole blueberries was sprinkled on the platter, very likely the sweetened and partially dehydrated ones found in the frozen aisle at Costco. The gorgonzola also came in two forms, both as unadulterated cheese and as a sweetened whipped butter. All blech individually and together.
We went to Outback Steakhouse to take advantage of their year-long promotion offering everything on the menu at 50% every last Wednesday of the month. Having reserved a table well in advance, we were seated immediately, but I counted at least 50 would-be customers waiting for their turn to indulge in discounted mediocrity. The dish is normally priced at 35,800 won, but it was worth a shot at 17,900 won, if only for something to rant about.
Most of the dinner conversation revolved around how cynical and stubborn I am, or appear to be, about food. In a soon-to-be published anthology entitled Pathological Altruism, writer David Brin notes: “A relentless addiction to indignation may be one of the chief drivers of obstinate dogmatism.” Although the book provides perspectives on, among other things, the need for certain physicians to insist on a course of treatment in the name of the patient’s best interests, even when the patient doesn’t want it, I should appropriate the title as a subtitle for GMTD.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)