Thursday, March 27, 2008

Worth a Trip Down Under

My co-workers wanted to take my out to happy hour for my birthday. So, in a true Miss Menu fashion, I did a little research to find a fun bar close to my office that had drink specials and good food. Wanting to avoid the normal midtown pubs and touristy bars, but not travel too far for those who commute. I came across a newer bar called The Australian that seemed to fit the bill.

The Australian successfully melds a few different types of venues all into one. It's part sports bar, part pub, part lounge, and part restaurant. It was decorated with Australian-themed items, but not overdone. I had called the day before to ask if there was a way to reserve an area since we'd be a big group. The hostess was really helpful in explaining the different options I could reserve. We ended up with a very large booth in the back that comfortably sat 12. It was seriously the largest booth I've ever seen! I am definitely going to keep this place in mind next time I want to go somewhere that can easily accommodate a big group.

We ordered a few rounds of drinks and also ordered food (I had to, otherwise I couldn't write about it!) A few co-workers ordered regular burgers and said they were over-cooked. But, a few of us decided to share a bunch of appetizers, some more exotic than others. We ordered the seasoned potato wedges that were served with sour cream and a sweet chili sauce...they were delicious, and gone in seconds. Next up was the steak cut chips, which were essentially steak fries. They were unremarkable, but the sauces they came with were very tasty. One was a smoky bbq, and the other was a wild lime aioli.

We also got lamb nachos and kangaroo sate sticks. Clearly this is where my snacking stopped. Aside from the fact that I don't eat red meat, the idea of eating a roo is just wrong. I had texted an Australian friend of mine telling him how my friends were eating roo, and he responded, "that's so wrong...how can you eat our national mascot?!" Apparently it tastes most similar to veal, but I will certainly be taking their word for it. The nachos (minus the lamb) were tasty, covered in a sweet pico de gallo type salsa.

All in all it was a fun birthday happy hour. The drinks kept flowing and the food was very tasty. I was a big fan of how they took staple bar food and kicked it up a notch. It made it feel more authentic Australian and more inventive.

One thing to note (which we found out the hard way!), the specials for both food and drinks are only available in the front bar area, and not in the rear dining area, which is where we were.

The Australian
20 West 38th Street
b/t 5th & 6th Avenue
website
Menu Pages listing

2 comments:

danny said...

happy belated birthday! i might have to go check this place out just to eat the roo... not to go against the grain or anything, but i really wonder what it tastes like...

Miss Menu said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Danny! If you check it out, let me know what you think. I was with people who will try anything at least once, so it'd be good to get a 2nd opinion!