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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

LongHorn Steakhouse Restaurant Review

Yesterday our family went to dinner for my brother-in-law's birthday. He wanted a good steak, so we chose to go out to LongHorn Steakhouse. Because I'm always looking for a way to try and save money, I started browsing the internet for coupons. I found a link on +Coupons.com to get a free appetizer from LongHorn, just for joining their Western Hospitality Club. Usually when I come across these types of deals, I have to wait several hours before getting the welcome email that gives a free appetizer. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the email was immediate, and I had a coupon for a free appetizer (with purchase of regular entrée) and was out the door in just a couple of minutes.

When we got to the restaurant, it was clean, there were tables available, and we were greeted immediately by the host. Since we had a large party we had to wait while they set up a place for us, and the two smallest children with us (both toddlers) began to play in the waiting area. I was pleased that - although they were being slightly rowdy - the servers were pleasant to them when they passed nearby and did not seem annoyed. I'm always happy to find a restaurant that is family-friendly in the truest sense: the people there understand that sometimes a kid is a kid and there isn't much you can do to end their need to wriggle and giggle.

The servers came out and took our drink orders as soon as we were seated. All of the orders were correct, however my husband's water had a strange taste to it and we had to have them replace it. The second one they brought him was fine, and no one else had an incident with it.

We ordered appetizers: the Firecracker Chicken Wraps, their new Spinach Dip, and their new Smokin' Sweet Calamari. The chicken wraps were good, but not something we would order again - they just didn't have as much flavor as we hoped they would. The spinach dip was excellent and one of the cheaper starters on the menu. The calamari was some of the best I've had anywhere, and the dipping sauce was a nice change from the usual cocktail blends at many restaurants. The only problem I did find with the appetizers was a big one: there was a shrimp mixed in with our calamari. My husband is allergic to shrimp and, although he loves calamari, he was unable to eat any after he found the shrimp for fear of allergic reaction. Thankfully, he did not have an episode and we were able to continue the meal.

We ordered meals for the kids, who were unhappy to learn that they were completely out of chicken tenders. Since all of our kids were chicken-eaters, we picked their second choices: grilled cheese, cheeseburger and chicken salad. All of the kids got fries to go with their meals, and at the end of dinner, that was the only thing the two toddlers had eaten. Both children are picky eaters, and I can say for certain that my son didn't eat his cheeseburger since it was a regular-sized one, and he'll usually only eat burgers if they are sliders.

The adult entrées were much better received. My husband and I ordered the Porterhouse for Two, a good deal with sides and salad included for $39.99. Yes, we could have ordered two cheaper steaks and got away with a smaller charge, but we decided that we would rather upgrade to the better cut of steak. It was well worth it. The steak itself was perfectly tender and seasoned, we both agreed it was possibly one of the best we have ever had. The servers brought out a tray and made their signature steak sauce for us at the table. My husband said it had a unique taste and he enjoyed it. I thought it was passable, but I preferred the steak without the sauce since I found it to be excellent on its own.

My brother-in-law ordered the prime rib. He found the meat perfectly cooked, but would have preferred a better seasoned "crust" on the meat. My sister-in-law found a chunk of something burnt in her potato soup, and the taste that had cooked into the soup made her feel sick. The servers apologized and asked if she wanted something else or a different bowl of soup, but she passed on their offer since her stomach was feeling upset. There were no issues or spectacular pronouncements wtih the rest of the meals and it was soon time for the check.

Unfortunately, the check itself became an issue. My sister-in-law was displeased to find that the child's chicken salad she had ordered for her daughter did not come with the side of fries (like the other children's meals did). She had been charged for an adult's portion of ala carte fries and pointed out that the server did not inform her when she placed the order, nor did she see where it was printed on the children's menus.

I also had a problem with my check: My refilling debit card that I use specifically for business had been declined! I handed over my regular debit card to pay the balance and went straight to my phone to look up my balance online. I knew I had more than enough money to pay for the meal my husband and I had shared. As it turns out, I had been charged twice - once for an amount that was more than my check amount, and then again for the bill that had come back with insufficient funds! I pointed out to the server that the only reason there were insufficient funds was due to the fact that I had been charged first for a check that was not mine. Long story short, the manager was called and they finally found that the server had first swiped my card without remembering to take off my "free appetizer" coupon. She then canceled the charge (which still puts a hold for the full amount on my bank card) and tried to swipe the card again the second time with the modified amount. Since I never keep more than I need on the business card, it didn't have quite enough for both charges. Luckily I had the debit card with me, or I may have been unable to pay without using a credit card!

In the end, I told the manager the story of what had happened to us as diners throughout the course of the night. She was very courteous and very apologetic - especially about the mix-up with my card. She offered me a gift certificate in the amount of our meal to come back and try the restaurant again, even if it was not their location. We had an interesting dinner, but she was certainly determined to make things right and was the epitome of good customer service. Having been on her end of the customer service business before, I can say that she handled herself very well and took responsibility for the situation in a way that impressed me.

All in all, I give LongHorn Steakhouse a B rating. I will certainly go back and try it again, but I will wait a few weeks to give things time to improve. There are always bad days for every restaurant, or we may have just been that one meal that seems to go wrong every so often. Either way, I look forward to visiting again to see how things turn out.

Food = B
Kid-Friendly = B+ (the food on the children's menu needs re-inventing)
Service = A-
Cleanliness = A
Pricing = $$


  1. The issue with billing would have driven me nuts since I always feel compelled to keep checking back to make sure I wasn't billed twice. Since I have 2 small kids, I like a wide variety & full & complete kids meals. I think your experience sounded pretty good otherwise- we'll have to give LongHorn a try.

  2. We have eaten there several times. Quite pleased with their food and service. You may have just happened to eat there when all the stars were aligned.

  3. I love Longhorn- every visit has been awesome!

  4. We go to Longhorn Steakhouse often. We have always received great service and the food is great. I usually get their BBQ ribs or steak.

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