Strewth! It’s about time we checked out Outback Steakhouse, the “American restaurant with the Australian Theme” as it was described to us. (Indeed, one Aussie once told us there cannot be an “Alice Springs Chicken” because “there are no chickens in Alice Springs, mate!”). But blimey, it is a very popular franchise to own for some. For Sonny Buttler, the fast-talkin’ Brooklynite who opened the place in 1997, it’s been humming right along in its Calle Real strip mall, watching neighboring stores and restaurants come and go, rise and fall.
Outback has survived. So we wanted to try something from the cocktail menu, which lists eight martinis, seven margaritas, four sangrias, two mojitos and a wallaby in a pear tree. (Okay, maybe not that last one.)
The most popular is the New South Wales Red Sangria, which is more a wine cocktail than the sangria most commonly known (red wine, fruit). In fact, it has a lot of ingredients: Cabernet Sauvignon, brandy, fruit juice, mango syrup, and sangria mix.
Despite that, the wine flavor is still there, and the sweet juices take off some of the tannin mouthfeel. It’s sweet berry wine, and boy does it go down quickly. Cheers to our two bartenders Emily Nelson and Jennifer Gribnau, for slinging the drinks so fast.
We also tried a Sydney Cosmo, which uses Skyy Citrus, Cointreau, mango syrup, cranberry, and lime. Mangoes, incidentally, are grown in Australia, and they’re all over this cocktail menu. But we’re going to choose the sangria for our Drink of the Week because we would like to make a big jug of it, and now you can too.
NEW SOUTH WALES RED SANGRIA
3 1/4 oz. Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon
1 1/2 oz. Korbel Brandy
1/2 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. Monin Sangria Mix
3/4 oz. orange juice
3/4 oz. Monin mango syrup
Combine all in a wine glass with ice and garnish with orange, apple, and lime slices
5690 Calle Real, Goleta 964-0599 www.outback.com