It was several steps above most chain steaks, but far below what you would get at a decent Manhattan steakhouse.  Then again, it was half the price. ~Rick Lyman

Well, yeah.  That’s the idea.  That seems like a fair-trade off for most folks, some of whom have never been to Manhattan and don’t particularly want to go.  However, after reading just the Outback review I find the condemnations that are pouring in against this review article to be a bit puzzling.  Lyman’s description of the Outback he visited sounds very much like any Outback you might go to around the country, and that is part of the appeal of chain restaurants.  Much as I generally find the proliferation of these chains to be troubling in some ways because of the uniformity and homogenisation they represent, they are very popular because they have more or less uniform standards nationwide and you know what you’re getting every time you walk in.  Plus, the food is usually decent.  In any case, as someone who actually likes the Outback chain (in my youth, it used to be a big deal during our Florida vacations to go to the original St. Petersburg Outback, and it was there that I developed my lifelong obsession with iced tea), I found nothing remotely condescending or anthropological about the review.  Normally, I am as ready as anyone to denounce arrogant New Yorkers for looking down on the rest of the country, but this time I just don’t see it.

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