“However it is prepared, this root is tasteless and starchy,” said the French philosopher and encyclopedist Denis Diderot in the late 1700s. “One would not include it among agreeable foods, but it does provide plentiful and sufficient healthful nourishment for men who do not require more than sustenance.”
Harsh words for our beloved potato, but historians can now say with overwhelming confidence why Diderot felt that way: he never tasted the wondrous delight—and delightful wonder—that is a bowl of mashed potatoes at Outback Steakhouse.
And that is a 100 percent true statement—assuming of course that you substitute the word “I” for “historians.” No, really. And I can prove it, too.
Did I just say I could prove it? Yeah, see, what I meant to say was that I can… not prove it. But have you ever been to Outback and ordered some of their mashed potatoes? Have you ever dug your fork into that whipped, creamy goodness?
Fluffier than whipped cream, tastier than any French Fries or mere baked potato, the mashed potatoes are like a warm cloud, their white texture broken every so often by specks of potato skin. They also taste soooooooooooo—just a few more o’s—oooooo good.
Three, four of my friends and I have sat around a table there and openly and unabashedly dreamed of eating these potatoes—maybe even with a burger or chicken sandwich on the side. My God, man, such mashed potatoes have never before or since been equaled!
In a way, mashed potatoes are the ultimate so-called comfort food. Mom made them, but more often that not, they had little lumps in them. Not that there was anything bad it that, they were just a little lumpy. The search for pure creamy mashed potatoes is thus one of the great culinary quests of our times.
Makawao Steakhouse makes them creamy. So does Cafe 808 in Kula, as does Koho’s in Kahului. But none equal that Tampa, Florida-based quasi-Aussie chain of restaurants known as Outback Steakhouse.
Makawao Steakhouse, 3612 Baldwin Ave., 572-8711; Cafe 808, 4566 L. Kula Rd., 878-6874; Koho Grill & Bar, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, 877-5588; Outback Steakhouse, 281 Pi’ikea St., Kihei, 879-8400 and 4405 Honoapi’ilani Rd., Kahana, 665-1822. (AP)