Alas, NYC Restaurant week is upon us (until March 6th) which means food that’s normally “$$$$” is now accessible to us peasants at $38 for a three course dinner (not including drinks — can’t have it all, dude).
My friend Chelsea and I decided to embark on an Aussie Adventure and take a trip to Burke & Wills on the Upper West Side. The name of the restaurant comes from the folks Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills who led an expedition in the late 1800s and trekked 2,000 miles across Australia. Yay exploration! Speaking of which, let’s get on to exploring the food…
Chelsea and I walked in, past the long slim bar area, passing the kitchen window and a chicken roaster on the way, to the rear of the restaurant where tables and booths circled the room and framed photos filled the walls. If you look up, you’ll find a lovely skylight ceiling. The area where we sat definitely had a more sophisticated vibe than the bar area which appeared to be very laid-back and, well, Australian.
Ok, food time! For starters, I went with the Butternut Squash Soup which featured a chestnut vinaigrette and brioche croutons. It was one of those charades where they bring you the bowl and then pour the soup in front of you…faaaannncyyy. Let me tell you, this dang soup was absolutely DELICIOUS. I wish I could just have a constant IV drip of it. It tasted like Christmas in a way I can’t really explain other than perhaps the chestnuts in it…
Chelsea opted for the Roasted Scallops and, again, they were DELICIOUS. If you’ve ever watched anything on the Food Network/Hell’s Kitchen, you know how hard it is for people to cook scallops correctly. It’s like the food that everybody inevitably screws up. I’ve had many a scallop (thinking they were good) but now I know I’ve only ever eaten ‘screwed up’ scallops, because the bite I had (that Chels so graciously offered) was perfection. A bit crispy on the outside and then tender and fresh and PERFECT in the middle. Go. Run. Get those scallops.
Main course: KANGAROO BURGERS, Y’ALL! There was really no other option. When in
Rome Australia New York (pretending to be in the land down under)…
I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of taste and I’m not even sure how to describe it now that I’ve tried it. Chelsea said it was a bit ‘gamey’ — we both enjoyed it though! It was served with “triple fried chips” which were basically very large, thick fries which came with a spicy dipping sauce. The burger itself was topped with a tomato jam and pickled onions.
For dessert, I asked for the waiter’s recommendation to which he immediately offered the Bomboloni and, with that, I was sold. Served as four little cinnamon sugar donuts with a dulce de leche filling and vanilla ice cream, it was the perfect note to end my Aussie Adventure.
Chelsea went with the more traditional Australian dessert, Pavlova. A passion fruit curd, fresh berries, and whipped cream all stacked between these unique melt-in-your-mouth crispy wafers.
Now that I’ve had a taste of Australia, I’m ready to book a flight! Who’s with me?!
Spread kindness and cheer, xo