Take a deep breath and let the images fill your mind: steakhouse. Family steakhouse.
It's cool. Calm. Scattered tables with booths along a wall.
A simple salad with crisp iceberg, a few tomatoes and cucumber slices, a bit of shredded cheese, and crunchy garlic croutons.
Your steak will arrive just as you've ordered, glimmering with butter glaze. A fluffed potato will rest next to it, large flecks of salt on the skin. Perhaps others in your party will have a grilled chicken breast or steamed salmon.
Other families are seated at tables nearby, and waitresses circulate with pitchers of water and tea, not a wine list in sight.
So --the above is what pops to mind when I think:
Western Sizzler, Quincy's, Ryan's, Ponderosa, Bonanza, Golden Corral
All of which are either defunct or have been corrupted into aisles of buffets on dirty carpeting.
What's in the NoVa area now that would fit the bill? Not interested in $30 steaks, but a more family place; don't want peanut shells on the floor.
Obviously a chain is fine, but for some reason Outback doesn't quite "feel right" -- it's a place trying to be too Aussie-surfer hip and lager.