Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar - totally crazy but amazing!

This past weekend Nick and I headed to North Carolina to visit my younger brother - it had been way too long since I had been down there! Charlotte is a nice city, and with the addition of the EpiCentre there is a ton to do right downtown, which, in my opinion, was lacking a bit previously.

For a nice intro to the weekend my brother took us down to the South Park area of Charlotte.  Because my brother knows me well - I love burgers and I love sushi - when it came time to decide what to do for dinner on Friday night, The Cowfish seemed like the most natural choice.

Like their menu says - they do burgers, sushi and drinks. When you walk in you are struck with the large, bright Japanese stylized prints on the wall (think more Andy Warhol than landscapes.)  Another fun element was the the oversize bento box above a section of the bar.

The Bento Box
The drink menu was huge, with beers from all over (including Fat tire, which you don't see much on the East Coast), but Nick and I went with the good ol' $5 PBR tallboys!

I know more than a few people would appreciate the sriracha sauce at the table along with the other condiments.  There was something for all types of food - burgers AND sushi.

After having a little edamame while waiting at the bar, we settled on down with the menu. Our first choice were what I like to call the "big a** onion rings" and what the menu likes to more-politely call their panko and coconut battered onion rings, which came with both sweet & sour and Cowfish sauces.

I basically do not want to have my onion rings without coconut from now on.  It added a great sweet flavor to the dish and really put a fun twist on a pretty standard dish.  Also, as my nickname implied, these things were enormous.  Each order must be made from more than a few onions.

Our other appetizer was the blackened ahi tuna nachos, which were unlike any other nachos I have had.

The seared tuna was on a nice, crispy wonton chip with loads of avocado.  The tastes and the combination of textures all went together so well.  The tuna was perfectly cooked and seasoned, and the little squeeze of lime made the whole dish come together.  This was not what you expect when you order nachos, but totally a welcomed surprise.

With the appetizers being so great, we were looking forward to the main course.  We ordered three different types of sushi, the first being The King’s Roll, which was made with fresh tuna, kani, jalapeno, cream cheese and scallion, coated with panko and then flash fried. Each piece is topped with seasoned crab salad, masago, sriracha and cream sauce, and served with ponzu dipping sauce.  The second roll was the eeZ Eel Layer Roll with kani, scallions and avocado, topped with eel and baked with a sweet and spicy sauce.
King's Roll in the front, eez Eel in the back
Both of these were fantastic.  The eel tasted really fresh.  The King's roll was unlike any sushi roll I have had before, which always makes a dining experience more fun.  There were a lot of components on that roll, all of which could have competed with the other.  Instead they all came together to make for a great tasting sushi roll.

Something I thought was really innovative on their menu was the build your own sushi roll area.  I have not seen such a section before and thought it would be a lot of fun to play around with.  But that would have to wait for a different visit, because we had a date with the "burgushi" section right above that.  Burgushi is either a sushi roll with meat inside (filet or ground) or sandwiches with slices of fish tucked in there.  Both sounded completely crazy, but I wanted to try them all!

We decided to orderthe Taste Explosion Roll, which had seasoned natural Angus ground beef, applewood bacon, fresh jalapenos and spicy cream sauce inside of a sushi roll coated with tempura flakes. Each piece is topped with marinated Roma tomato and pepper jack cheese, then baked to perfection and drizzled with cashew cilantro pesto to finish.

The Taste Explosion!
This was such a fun dish - completely unexpected from start to finish.  You eat it like you would a normal sushi roll and then as you bite in there is a blast of the ground meat on the inside that takes the whole dish somewhere new - it was such a great element!  You could actually taste each component of the dish, which can be tough when combing so many things together.

My brother promised us that their milkshakes were not to be missed, so for dessert we split two of them - one banana and one vanilla cake one.  Both were a great way to top of a fantastic meal.

All in all, the next time I go to Charlotte I will absolutely be making a stop at the Cowfish.  I would recommend it to any one heading down to that area in a heartbeat - it's such a fun location with great food.  Better yet, I would suggest they come open a Boston location so I can go even more frequently.  Who knew my two favorites would come together so well!

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. I agree! They have to open one of these in Boston! I looked at the pics first and then read, was pretty disappointed when I saw this place was in NC! :)

  2. I was just going to say....can they please open one of these in Boston?! Unbelievable food from the huge o rings to that crazy maki roll with ground meat. wow. Also - I love Fat Tire Ale!!


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