Just before the New Year was rung in, Universal CityWalk added a much-anticipated new venue to its roster of restaurant offerings. The Cowfish, which was first established in North Carolina, features an innovative menu of sushi rolls, burgers and a unique combination of the two. Although it’s located in the heart of the tourism area, that doesn’t mean locals from across Central Florida can’t enjoy a trip to see what it’s all about. Chances are, those locals will quickly become regulars.
The décor of the three-story restaurant is colorful and eclectic with custom artwork lining the walls. Try your hand at creating your own fish – complete with a top hat, sunglasses and a mustache if you wish – when you walk in the front door. Give it a funny name and you may see it swimming around the “fish tank” screen at the main bar.
Start your meal with a taste of the creamy and flavorful Crab Rangoon Dip with a Parmesan panko crust for a slight crunch, which is served with house-made wonton crisps, a drizzle of sweet chili sauce and chives. A similar take on this popular appetizer is the Blackened Tuna Nachos. This plate of five wonton chips covered with the Crab Rangoon Dip is topped with avocado salsa, tomatoes, blackened yellowfish tuna that is seared rare and microgreens.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the mood for sushi or a burger when you walk in the door at The Cowfish. There are options for all tastes, and, of course, a combination of the two if you just can’t decide. Classic sushi bar options range from selections of sashimi and nigiri to common rolls like the Spicy Tuna and California Rolls. Fusion Specialty Rolls are a bit more complex and adventurous. Dion’s OMG! Roll, with tempura coconut shrimp, kani, and English cucumber is coated in tempura flakes and topped with mango, avocado, spicy honey marmalade and coconut flakes for a sweet and savory combo with a spicy finish.
On the burger side, cheeseburgers reach new extremes with the addition of pulled pork on The Big Squeal, short rib on The Dynamic Duo, and a combination you wouldn’t expect on a burger courtesy of The Cowfish Has Officially Left the Building. A nod to Elvis, this full-pound beef burger is covered in creamy peanut butter, friend bananas and applewood bacon. While these burgers look guilty, you can eat guilt-free knowing that every protein on the menu is antibiotic and hormone free and is certified humanely raised and handled.
Don’t worry about being indecisive at The Cowfish. Known for coining the term “burgushi,” the menu includes options for those wishing to dip into both sides of the menu. Two bento boxes include both a gourmet mini burger, a portion of sushi, sweet potato fries, Thai cucumbers and edamame. The difference between the two is that The Cowfish Bento Box offers a choice of one of the classic rolls like the California, Spicy Tuna, Vegetarian or Philly Roll. Ordering the Fusion Specialty Bento Box includes a choice of a four-piece Fusion Specialty Roll (either Mark’s, Firecracker or The Boss) or three pieces of mixed nigiri (tuna, salmon and shrimp).
Other burgushi options include sushi rolls that are constructed using burger components and sandwich-style offerings that include sushi ingredients. Doug’s Filet Roll is filled with kani, cream cheese and avocado then topped with thin slices of seared filet mignon, spicy mayo, scallions and masago. Consider it surf and turf wrapped in a sushi roll. The What’s Shakin’ Tuna Bacon Sandwich stuffs blackened yellowfish tuna seared rare, applewood bacon, iceberg lettuce, jalapenos, tomato salsa, slaw and spicy mayo inside grilled house-made “buns” made by filling spring rolls wrappers with kani and sushi rice.
Even though you’re sure to be stuffed, dessert is a must at The Cowfish. Hand-spun milkshakes (including spiked versions for adults) are an easily sharable way to get your sweet fix. Flavors run the gamut from a classic Cookies & Cream to an adventurous The P “Double-B” &J Shake. The Yummy Roll, pastry cream and gummy strips rolled with sponge cake and sweet almond wrap, is also an appropriate way to end your sushi spree.
Next time you’re in the mood for a one-of-a-kind meal with a flair for creativity, head to Universal CityWalk and enjoy The Cowfish.