My husband & I strolled into The Sunburnt Cow (Ave C & 9th St) on Tuesday night, just to see what was up, and they were having one of their weekly (Sunday, Monday & Tuesday nights) BBQ's. We already had food in the oven at home, so we promised ourselves we'd return at a later date.
The later date was last night and we're THRILLED that we went back!
There are about 10 2-tops in the whole place, plus a 10-seat bar and a rear garden with a retractable roof. The bar menu includes 2 salads ($6-8), 2 cold seafood apps ($8-12), a grilled shrimp app ($12), fish & chips ($10), kangaroo "bangers" & mash ($12), and an enormous burger that you can order as beef ($9), emu ($10) or kangaroo ($12). The burger comes fully loaded, as is Australian custom (apparently), with a fried egg, bacon, cheese, pineapple, roasted beets (they call it "beetroot"), lettuce, tomato & sauteed onion. Not for the weak of heart, small of mouth, or slow of digestion.
We opted for a real table & it only took a few minutes to pick our meal from the full menu. There are 4 appetizers and 4 entrees from which to choose. The apps are $6 - $12 and for a smaller appetite, any would be fine as a meal. The entrees are large enough to satisfy the biggest eater and perfect for 2 to share. Prices range from $15 for roast chook (that'd be chicken to we Americans) to $20 for pecan-crusted 'roo chops.
The Man & I shared the grilled shrimp that came with green apple slices, a small mound of deep green watercress, chunks of sweet ripe mango, whole blackberries, and a slightly-too-sweet passionfruit vinaigrette. The dish could've benefited from a smidge of citrus . . . just a little something to cut the natural sugars of the fruit.
We also split a serving of poppy-crusted tuna, which was the deepest ruby red that you'd expect from the best sushi bar. Served with daikon, raspberries, a hint of cilantro, and a perfectly-executed mango vinaigrette, this was the stand-out appetizer winner.
Our entree was the "F.O.D" (fish of the day) and I shook the chef's hand for serving it. A large slab of salmon filet (10 oz, I believe) was cooked "en papillote" with a stuffing of crab, minced red & green pepper, and a little onion. No breadcrumbs interfered with the flakiness of the stuffing and that, in & of itself, is something of which the chef should be proud. The phyllo was just a sheer, crisp sheath that kept the moisture in and provided a nice consistency counterpoint to the tender fish.
On the plate was also a swirl of bright green scallion-cilantro "jus" and another swirl of red wine reduction. A pile of tomato compote accompanied this dish and I have sworn to the chef that I will never reveal his secret recipe. Needless to say, it's a secret worth keeping . . . We INHALED the tomatoes and adored how their sweet-tartness sidled up so nicely with the salmon. For this sublime entree, we paid $18 . . . a bargain in this city and well worth every penny.
Only Australian wines are served and for every category (Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.) there is a $20 bottle, a $30 bottle, and a $40 bottle. All are also available by the glass (from $5 - 10/serving). The full bar offers a small variety of beers(domestic & imported), as well as specialty cocktails that rely heavily on muddled fruit.
The atmosphere is convivial and the service is attentive, but in a relaxed way. Jeans are perfectly appropriate (even the server is wearing them) and you don't need to put on airs, here. Dim lighting and good food create a fun little dining nook . . . The Cow isn't trying to be "fine dining" or the Next Big Thing - it's just a really good neighborhood joint with a very talented Aussie chef. The music ranges from dj-inspired (and sometimes spun) jazz-techno to classics from the late 70s (Eagles, anyone?).
Our entire bill came to $87, before tip. 2 apps, 1 entree, 2 glasses of wine & 3 beers. On the whole, this was one of the most enjoyable meals we've had in a while and I highly recommend the Cow to all 'hounds.