Cowfish is all about the fusion of sushi and American Southern favorites, and that is evident in the delightful, fun, and much-too-easy-to-eat-too-many-of-them High Class HillBilly Southern Style Barb-B-Q-Shi.
Pairing pork, caramelized onion and BBQ sauce is never a bad idea – however, Chef Ryan takes it a full step-and-a-half further by binding those ingredients with mashed potatoes, rolling the mixture in a sushi rice paper roll and flash-frying it.
It’s served topped with their signature house bacon coleslaw, chives and a nest of thin, fried onions.
Sushi rolls are recognizable, but carry a twist. Cowfish offers classic makimono rolls that are large (entrée size) and that, with the freshness of the fish, are very much new age, despite their classic moniker. Faves include the Spicy Crunchy roll of shrimp tempura, Kani (a Japanese fish cake), spicy mayo and crispy tempura flakes.
So good it was almost impossible to get a dinning companion to share.
If you like your sushi with a bit of heat, the colorful Firecracker Roll which is aptly named as it is as beautiful as it is spicy. It combines shrimp tempura and kani then is coated with tempura flakes and topped with yellowtail, salmon, spicy mayo, masago, tobiko and scallions and a ponzu dipping sauce.
Another specialty roll we particularly liked was Dion’s OMG! Roll. The use of coconut shrimp with kani and English cucumber on the inside, coated in tempura flakes then topped with fresh mango, avocado, spicy honey marmalade and coconut flakes.
The combination left one almost confused: The sweetness made one think dessert, while the spicy honey marmalade made one think breakfast.
Perfect for anytime of the day, or night, the OMG is a wonderful introduction to the world of sushi for first- time imbibers. It offers the traditional flavors of sushi, without the raw fish element.
One misstep among the many items ordered and tried, was the Seared Sesame Tuna Salad, featuring a delightful encrusted seared yellow fin tuna over a bed of the very freshest mixed greens, peppery arugula, microgreens and cucumbers.
The tuna was perfect in cut, flavor and texture; however the salad came without a salad dressing leaving a dish that needed something – having us reach for the ponzu sauce left over from the yellowfin.
For younger eaters, look to the Kids’ Meal bento box, a peanut butter and jelly roll (using a soft tortilla for the wrap), sweet potato fries, mixed vegetables and a rice cereal crisp with Swedish fish.
There are plenty of specialty drinks, like the renowned Buffalos and Bacon, a delish mix of Buffalo Trace bourbon, cherry liqueur, angostura and orange bitters, honey and candied bacon; being a bourbon drinker, I thought this would be my favorite with plenty of warm flavors.
However, on the return trip an unexpected favorite arose in the Ruby Panther – a mix of Deep Eddy Ruby vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice, pink lemonade and the delight of fresh raspberries.
All in all, Cowfish is my favorite new restaurant, leaving me to hope they soon open a restaurant in my town. We need excellent dining, with a twist of fun.
And that is what Cowfish is — excellent dining that is a lot of fun, and then there is Buttercup. The number one reason, after Chef Ryan, to visit Cowfish Burger Sushi Bar, Universal Studios City Walk, Orlando Florida.