Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Sunburnt Cow

The Sunburnt Cow
137 Avenue C near 9th Street

My friends from out of town wanted something for dinner that they couldn’t get in D.C. Having already gone to Katz’s and with plans to hit up Artichoke and Ess-a bagel before they left, we decided to go to Sunburnt Cow, a bar / restaurant on Avenue C that I had read about in a number of articles, serving Australian food and $20 open bar specials. When we first entered, we were led into the bar area, dark and semi-uninviting for a dinner (it is a bar after all). But passing through a lounge area, we were led to a porch-like back room with a few tables surrounded by exposed wood paneling and covered in dark lighting. Not bad.

For $16, Sunburnt Cow offers a choice of any appetizer, entrée and dessert. Sold. I started off with an order of the fried calamari, served atop chopped kiwi and jalapeno. Sure, it was a decent appetizer but the execution was way off. The combination of kiwi and jalapeno works well, but how am I supposed to eat it? There was no way to get everything together in one bite. It would have been nice if they pureed the kiwi and jalapeno into a kind of dipping sauce for the calamari. That’s something I would order. My friend ordered the shrimp cocktail which coated baby shrimp in a mayo-based sauce. Also not a winner.

Fried Calamari with kiwi & jalapeno:

Shrimp Cocktail:

For my entrée, I split an order of Barramundi and an order of the Roo Bangers and Mash. The barramundi fillets were served in a Thai broth with veggies and noodles. More soup than entrée, the barramundi was pretty fishy, though the broth was pleasantly spicy and full of fish sauce which added a nice salty balance. I couldn’t help but pick up the bowl and drink the remaining broth. The ‘roo bangers are made from, you guessed it, kangaroo, served with mashed potatoes. I was looking for a more gamey flavor but it actually tastes pretty similar to rabbit (i.e. like chicken though the meat is more fibrous). In the end though, it doesn’t compare well to bangers and mash from London. My other friend ordered the skirt steak which I think was the real winner of the evening. The sauce complemented a tender medium-rare steak and for $16 with appetizer and dessert is probably the way to go.


Roo Bangers & Mash:


The dessert options included sponge cake cubes covered in chocolate and coconut, a pavlova which consists of meringue and cream mixed with fruit, and a date pudding. Opting for the date pudding, I was rewarded with a warm serving of sweet and flavorful pudding. The pavlova was light and serves those who like a more refreshing end to their meal.

Sticky date pudding:


As our meal came to an end, we were surprised to find that from the empty dining room at 8pm had emerged a waiting list for tables, and while it could just be a function of the fact that the service was fairly slow, I was forgiving, one because there was only one waitress for a good number of tables and two because all employees had an Australian accent. In the end, I was pretty disappointed with the choices that I made, but if I came back and ordered a different appetizer, the steak and the date pudding, it’s probably worth the $16.

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