Canton gets an Outback like no other

TABLE TALK

Eats: dining reviews, Table Talk

December 11, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Canton has gone down under - so to speak. An Outback Steakhouse opened its doors Monday in the Boston Street space where Bibelot bookstore used to reside. But its proprietor, Stephen Donegan, is quick to point out that there are several ways that this is not your typical Outback.

Sure, it's still got that Aussie theme, with boomerangs and the like scattered about. But Donegan says it was important to him and the restaurant chain folks that the space in the old American Can Company retain much of its original architectural integrity and flavor. So, you will still see the exposed ceilings in the old factory. And, instead of the usual blinds on the windows in most of the chain's eateries, this Outback is surrounded by large uncovered windows, so diners can soak in all that Canton ambience.

"The feeling is much more wide open than the typical Outback," Donegan explains, "We want to create a unique Outback and be part of Canton ... fit into the neighborhood and be fun for local people."

Donegan says the Canton establishment seats about 240. It also offers one of the biggest bars of any Outback - a large horseshoe with at least 30 stools, and several booths and tables.

The company line seems to be "Australian casual themed, but an all-American steakhouse" - which is a good description of the menu. Cute Australian names for good ol' USA dishes. The Ayers Rock Strip translates to New York strip ($17.45). Chicken on the Barbie is grilled breast of chicken with barbecue sauce and fresh veggies ($10.79). Jackeroo chops are pork chops with cinnamon apples and garlic mashed potatoes ($13.79). And if you don't know about the Bloomin' Onion - that deep-fried monster onion appetizer ($5.99) - you haven't been paying attention to your TV commercials.

And what would a Canton neighborhood joint be without crab cakes (appetizer $8.99, entree $13.99)? Although even they have an Aussie name, Darling Point Crab Cakes.

One more way Donegan et al. are trying to make this Outback more accessible: $3 valet parking.

The Canton Outback Steakhouse, 410-522-7757, is in the Can Company at 2400 Boston St. Its hours are 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday, 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The bar will stay open as long as there are people in it, up until 2 a.m.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions by fax to Sloane Brown, 410-675-3451, or by e-mail to sloane@livetabletalk.com.

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